“We will continue the operation from the air and will take tough action against the terrorists from land at the most convenient time for us,” Erdogan told MPs from his AKP party on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Russia called on Turkey to refrain from a comprehensive ground offensive in Syria.
“We hope that our arguments will be heard in Ankara and that other ways of solving the problem will be found,” said Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentiev in Kazakhstan. He had met there for another round of Syria talks with Turkish and Iranian delegations.
Turkey is more determined than ever to secure its southern border with a security corridor, Erdogan said. The territorial integrity of Syria is taken into account, as is that of Iraq. Turkey is also taking action against Kurdish militias there.
According to its own statements, the Turkish army has attacked 471 targets since the start of the most recent military offensive in Iraq and Syria. A total of “254 terrorists were neutralized,” said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Wednesday. “The operation will continue with air strikes and land-based guns,” Akar said. He gave no information on possible civilian casualties. His statements could not be independently verified.
Since the night of Sunday, Turkey has been carrying out airstrikes in northern Iraq and northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently mentioned the possibility of a ground offensive against Kurdish positions.
The Turkish government linked its airstrikes to an attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal shopping street more than a week ago. She sees the YPG and the PKK as masterminds of the attack, but both had rejected it. The investigation is still ongoing, the exact circumstances of the crime are unclear.
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