Erdoğan says will clear terrorists from Syria border if Sochi deal fails
Turkey will clear the YPG/PKK terrorists from its border area with northeast Syria if Russia does not fulfill its obligations under a bilateral accord clinched this week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
"If the terrorists are not cleared at the end of the 150 hours, we will take control and clean it ourselves," he said on Oct. 26.
Speaking at a meeting of football officials in Istanbul, Erdoğan once again stressed the deadline set this week for YPG/PKK terrorists to pull back from northern Syria.
"They said 'We cleared the YPG' but they did not. They sent us a statement at the end of 120 hours that they cleaned the area but they could not," Erdoğan said, accusing the U.S. of not fulfilling its commitments.
The 120 hours refer to the time span during which Turkey and the United State agreed on Oct. 17 to pause “Operation Peace Spring” to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone.
"Turkey has the power to crush the terrorist organization," he added.
Erdoğan also urged the world's countries to respect Turkey's security concerns and support its safe-zone project to ensure the voluntary return of Syrian refugees.
Under the Turkish-Russian deal, the YPG has 150 hours, started at noon on Oct. 23, to withdraw from almost the entire northeastern border of Syria, from the Euphrates river to the Iraqi border.
Russia and the Syrian regime’s forces would move in to ensure that the YPG pulls back 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) from the border. The 150-hour timespan expires on Oct. 29.
After the schedule for the withdrawal concludes, joint Turkish-Russian patrols would begin along a 10-kilometer-(roughly 6 miles) wide strip of the border.
The only exception for the joint patrol will be the Qamishli town at the far-eastern end of the border.
Russian military police carried out their first patrol in northern Syria on Oct. 23 under a deal between Ankara and Moscow that requires PKK/YPG terrorists to withdraw from a planned safe zone.
On Oct. 25, Russia has sent hundreds of additional troops to Syria to help patrol the country’s Turkey-Syria border after a deal between Moscow and Ankara, the Russian Defense Ministry had said.
The ministry said that about 300 military police have arrived in Syria to patrol the northeastern areas along the border with Turkey and oversee the pullout of the YPG/PKK terrorist organization.
Military cargo planes also airlifted armored vehicles for the mission, the ministry's statement said.
The military police, who arrived from the Russian region of Chechnya, will work to ensure the safety of the population and help the YPG withdraw to a line 30 kilometers from the border, Moscow said.
Troops from Chechnya, known for their fierce warrior spirit, have regularly been sent to Syria on rotation bases in recent years.
The Russian military does not release the total number of its contingent in Syria, and it did not say on Oct. 25 how many troops will be involved in the patrol mission on the Turkish border.