TEHRAN, Nov. 30 (Press Shia Agency) – Criticizing Pentagon policy in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Turkey will enter Afrin without hesitation if a threat comes from the bordering Syrian province.
Afrin is regarded as one of the major strongholds of the PKK’s — designated as terrorist group by Turkey, EU and the US — Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“If Turkey is threatened from Afrin or any other area, we will enter that area without any hesitation and rid it of terrorists,” Cavusoglu said.
He noted that a possible operation would be conducted in a manner similar to the Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24, 2016, to drive ISIL away from Turkey’s border when the terrorist group was threatening southern border provinces of Kilis, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa.
“As President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said, one night we may suddenly enter,” the foreign minister said.
Referring to countinuation of arm supply to Syrian armed Kurdish groups by Pentagon, Cavusoglu said, “US President Trump told our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] on the phone that ‘from now on no arms will be given to YPG’,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, using an alternative acronym for the PKK/PYD.
He added, “We do not interfere in the US’s internal affairs but if the Pentagon is not listening to its own president, then it ultimately concerns us because the weapons given them are a threat to us.”
Last May, Trump announced that the US would start supplying weapons to the PKK/PYD, despite Turkey’s protests, as the anti-Daesh coalition prepared to seize Raqqah.
In a telephone conversation with Erdogan last Friday, the US leader promised to halt arms supplies to the PKK/PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged a terror campaign against Turkey since 1984.
However, the Pentagon later said the US was merely “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners”.