Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated Monday that Ankara will not allow Kurdish separatists to set up base in a planned “safe zone” in northern Syria.
Last week, following US President Donald Trump’s decision on December 19 to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria, Erdogan said he and Trump had discussed Turkey setting up a 20-mile-deep safe zone inside Syria along the length of their border.
Erdogan said Turkey would work with anyone willing to provide it with logistics support for the zone, but that it would take action in Syria if promises were not kept.
“We are not talking of a safe zone (as protection) against Turkey, but rather one against terrorists.”
On Sunday, Erdogan told Trump that Turkey was ready to take over security in Syria’s Manbij, where two US soldiers and two American civilian staff died last week in an attack claimed by ISIS.
Turkey has welcomed Trump’s decision to pull out US forces as it makes preparations for an offensive in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey says is linked to the PKK.
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat.