Türkiye to prevent terror corridor along Syrian border: Security Council
Türkiye’s top security board has reiterated the country’s determination to take all possible measures to secure the borders and citizens from terrorists amid preparations for a new ground operation into northern Syria as the top soldier has vowed to prevent the establishment of a terror corridor along the Syrian border.
“We did not allow and will not allow the establishment of a terror corridor. The Turkish Armed Forces did whatever necessary and will do the same when the right time comes wherever and whenever,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement on Dec. 2 in Çanakkale.
His remarks came a day after the National Security Council (MGK) convened under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and with the participation of senior ministers as well as military brass and intelligence heads.
The participants made a comprehensive assessment of the internal and external security threats and the ongoing fight against terror organizations, namely the PKK/YPG and FETÖ. The meeting came as the Turkish military’s aerial Claw-Sword Operation against the PKK/YPG targets continues in northern Iraq and northern Syria, in reaction to the deadly Istanbul attack by terrorists.
A communiqué released after the MGK meeting underlined that the sole objective of these operations, which are being carried out in line with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, is terrorists. The MGK underlined that all necessary measures will be taken to secure the borders, cities and citizens of Türkiye by not tolerating the presence of terrorists along its borders.
The MGK was also briefed about the ongoing operations on Türkiye’s southern borders amid preparations for a cross-border ground operation into northern Syria. Erdoğan, in an earlier statement, stressed that the military’s targets will be Tal Rifat, Manbij and Ain al-Arab, where the area is controlled by the YPG.
Akar also made a new call on our NATO allies to stop their cooperation with the terrorists under the pretext of the continued fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria. “Cut your ties with the terrorists. Your only counterpart is the Republic of Türkiye,” he stated. He also stated that some 491 terrorists have been neutralized in Türkiye’s Claw-Sword Operation.
Ankara urges allies to fight terror
In the meantime, Türkiye’s diplomatic efforts are also continuing to get support from the allied countries in its fight against terrorism. Recently, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar exchanged a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said that Washington expressed its strong opposition to a new operation by the Turkish army.
Speaking to reporters late on Dec. 1, Akar informed that the U.S. asked Türkiye “to reconsider” its plans to launch a new offensive. “We have conveyed our sensitivities, opinions and thoughts. We asked them to keep the promises they gave us. We have underlined that they should understand us and the situation,” Akar said.
Türkiye and the U.S. made a deal in October 2019 stipulating the latter to push the YPG 30 kilometers away from the Turkish borders. That did not happen until now, Ankara says.
Reacting to Washington’s opposition against Ankara’s efforts to clear its borders from terrorists although its citizens and schools have recently been targeted by the YPG, Akar described the U.S. stance as “unacceptable.”
“Utmost attention is paid to prevent any damages on civilians, historical, religious and cultural entities, and environment and coalition forces. Our sole target is terrorists. No ethnic, religious and sectarian group is our target. Turks and Kurds are brothers,” he added.
The minister also recalled that the U.S. and other allied countries were urged not to support the PKK/YPG, not to let terrorists use their uniforms, flags and symbols, and to keep terrorists away from the areas where they are situated.