Turkey to ‘retaliate severely & widen safe zone if necessary’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that despite Russian conformation of a complete Kurdish withdrawal from the so-called safe zone along northern Syria, continued attacks against Turkish forces indicate that the Russian-Turkish arrangement has failed.

Addressing a gathering of his ruling AK party, President Erdogan emphasized that “At the end of the agreed period, unfortunately, the attacks by the terrorists continue against our soldiers in the region as well as the Syrian National Army. We comb through the area inch by inch, annihilate terrorists, destroy fortifications and collect the remaining ammunition and other equipment. Let me speak clearly and warn our counterparts – we will retaliate severely and we will widen our safe zone if necessary.”

Despite previously-given assurances that Ankara’s military operation against the Kurdish militias in its safe-zone will be limited, the Turkish head of state revealed that every last terrorist will be removed regardless of his location. He said “This is a long-term struggle. Sometimes we are asked what will happen to the terrorists outside the 30 km strip. Whatever happened to the others will happen to them. All of them will be cleared until the last terrorist.”

It is important to explained that Turkey views the YPG militia – the most powerful component of the Syrian Democratic Forces – as a terrorist organization because of its links to the communist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, commonly known by its acronym, PKK, an internationally recognized terror group that has battled Turkey for many decades.