Turkey: Offensive on YPG to continue if withdrawal deadline not metEdit
Turkey has threatened to move forward with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in north Syria if the group’s withdrawal from territory along the Turkish border is not completed by a ceasefire deadline of Tuesday evening.
“If, at the end of the 150 hours, the YPG have not retreated from the border area … Turkey will wipe out the terrorists there,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.
Some two weeks after Turkey launched an internationally criticized military offensive against the YPG in north-east Syria, Ankara reached a deal with Moscow on October 22 to jointly control the area, located along the Turkish border.
The deal stipulates that the YPG forces have 150 hours, or until Tuesday at 6 pm (1600 GMT), to leave.
The YPG were the main force fighting Islamic State extremists in Syria, backed by Western air power and special forces, but Ankara considers the Kurdish militia to be a terrorist organization linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Turkey’s offensive into north-east Syria began after US President Donald Trump ordered the abrupt withdrawal of US troops who had protected the Kurds in the area.