President Erdogan: Turkey’s operation in Syria does not hinder the fight against ISIS

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a trilateral summit with his Russian and Iranian counterparts, emphasized that his country’s military campaign against Kurdish militias in Syria, “does not hinder the fight against the Islamic State.” He said, “Our struggle against PYD and YPG in Syria does not hinder the fight against Daesh, on the contrary it completes this fight. Any understanding that does not accept that Daesh, PYD and YPG serve for the same purpose cannot contribute to viable peace and stability in Syria,” the Turkish leader stressed. President Erdogan further emphasized his country’s position, in which the territorial integrity of Syria depends on distancing from terror organizations, saying, “Maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity depends on preserving equal distance from all terrorist organizations. It’s very important that all terrorist organizations, that are posing threat not only to Syria and Turkey but to all neighboring countries and even the whole region, are excluded without exceptions,” The Turkish President said in a joint press conference with his Iranian and Russian counterparts.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on his part, took the opportunity to accuse the United States, and its regional allies – Israel and Saudi Arabia – of using Islamist groups across the Middle East to try and topple various regimes, while stressed that with the help of what he termed “friendly countries,” those regimes have prevailed. Rouhani said, “Some big powers, particularly the United States, wanted terrorist organizations such as Daesh and Al Nusra to remain in our region as their tool so they can benefit from this, but big countries like Syria and Iraq destroyed this conspiracy with the help of friendly countries,” the Iranian leader asserted. In response to the statement by President Rouhani, a senior U.S. official told TV7 that “it would be absurd to respond to conspiracies and allegations by a regime that is committed to a long-list of terror groups across the Middle East and is internationally identified as the main destabilizing factor across the region,” the American official said.