Erdoğan slams NATO for lack of support in Syria
“Hey NATO, where are you?” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a public rally in the southern province of Mersin, accusing the military alliance of “double standards.”
Erdoğan said NATO member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested but did not receive support in return.
The country considers the YPG a terror organization, but its NATO ally, the United States, backs the fighters to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Erdoğan urged NATO to come to Turkey’s aid, saying its borders are “under threat right now.”
‘850 square km now under control in Afrin’
Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces have so far seized control of 850 square kilometers during the operation in Afrin, Erdoğan said.
“Up to now 850 square kilometers have been taken under our control. The target is to bring 2,000 square kilometers under our control,” he said.
“Our concern isn’t the land, our concern is clearing terrorists from there. Wherever there are terrorists, we’ll be there,” he added, referring to the YPG.
Erdoğan said Turkey will help Afrin to rebuild and repair, including its electricity, water, education, and healthcare systems, “just like it did in Jarablus, Al-rai, Azaz and Al-Bab,” after clearing these Syrian cities of ISIL militants during Turkey’s previous Euphrates Shield Operation.
The Euphrates Shield Operation began in August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, clearing towns on the Turkish border of both YPG and ISIL militants.
“Then we will also clear Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tal Abyad, Resulayn and Kamisli of terrorists,” Erdoğan said, naming other Syria cities near Turkey’s borders.