Turkey's president said late Tuesday that despite pressure to halt its anti-terror operation in northern Syria, Turkey is not worried about sanctions as the government is determined to eliminate the terror corridor near its borders.
Speaking on his way home from a Turkic Council summit in Baku, Azerbaijan, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touched on a range of subjects such as Turkey's ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Syria, the YPG/PKK terror group's mortar attacks on Turkish border provinces, and upcoming meetings with U.S. officials.
00:34 dk 16 Ekim 2019 AA Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring Operation
Orthodox Jews stage a demonstration to show their support for Turkish Peace Spring Operation in front of UN Headquarters in New York on October 15, 2019. Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity. Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
"They pressure us to halt the operation and announce sanctions," he said, referring to Western countries.
"Our goal is clear. We’re not worried about any sanctions," Erdoğan asserted, adding the YPG/PKK is losing ground as Operation Peace Spring continues to gain ground.
He stressed that the U.S. urged Turkey to declare a cease-fire so it could act as a mediator between the conflicting parties, but he rejected the offer, as Turkey would not "sit down at a table with terrorist groups."
Erdoğan went on to say that U.S. mediation between Turkey and the YPG/PKK terror group would make no sense in terms of foreign policy or the laws of war.
Stressing that Turkey will press its operation until the area is cleared of terror elements, he said the territory would be given back to its true owners -- Syrians -- once the operation concludes.
Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKK
Four people have been remanded in custody after trying to kidnap two children to recruit them for the PKK terror group, police said on Wednesday.The four suspects were caught on Friday following a technical and physical surveillance, said a police statement, adding that they were remanded into custody after being referred to a local court.Video: Operation Peace Spring in northern SyriaA large number of digital materials and documents related to the terror group were seized at the addresses raided to arrest the suspects.The children were delivered to their families, police said.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.PKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror groupWest holds onto lies it crafted about YPG
Turkey's anti-terror operation rightful: Experts
Pakistani security and political experts said Turkey's counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria would ensure durable regional peace and security."Turkey's operation to secure its borders is justified. Like any other sovereign country, Ankara is within its right to secure its people and borders," Ikram Sehgal, a Karachi-based defense and security analyst, told Anadolu Agency."No sovereign country can allow terrorists to operate on its borders, and pose a permanent threat to its security," he said.Video: Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring OperationTurkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.Turkey has said the PKK terrorist group and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKIn its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.Terming the refugee influx into Turkey and subsequently to Europe due to terrorists' presence in broad swathes of northern Syria, Sehgal said that a successful operation in the region would pave the way for safe and early repatriation of over 1.5 million refugees to their homes."It [elimination of terrorists] will ultimately benefit the whole region, including Syria, Turkey and Europe," he added.US has to work with Turkey on their terms, says expertHailing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's assurance that the territorial sovereignty of Syria will be fully respected, Sehgal said he hoped that the Operation Peace Spring would be culminated as soon as possible achieving the desired results.Retired Brig. Said Nazir Mohammad, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, voiced a similar view."Turkey is facing the brunt of refugees as the EU is not accepting them," Nazir noted adding that Ankara has been facing a threat from PKK, that's why it wants to create a safe zone along with its border to ensure the safe return of refugees.YPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in SyriaThe safe zone near Turkey border, he said, was actually created by the UN, but was being challenged by Daesh, Syrian Army, al-Qaeda affiliates and a moderate Kurd opposition."Since YPG is a terrorist outfit and being supported by the U.S and Israel, Turkey is worried of the Balkanization of Syria with a Kurd state to be carved out along eastern and southeastern borders," he said suggesting that Pakistan should operate in a gray area of diplomacy and for a peaceful settlement with an aim to respect the territorial integrity of all states."The Turkish operation blatantly exposes U.S. hypocrisy where it was allied with the YPG," said Arhama Siddiqa, a research fellow covering the Middle East at Islamabad-based Institute of Strategic Studies.PKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror groupShe added that the Turkish Operation Peace Spring exposed the ''faultiness between President [Donald] Trump and Pentagon where they keep contradicting each other.''"We saw this in the Qatar-Gulf crisis as well," she said.Syed Fakhar Kakakhel, another Islamabad-based political analyst, said: ''It is obvious that Turkey is the one, which is close to the war theater and the most affected by terror attacks.''"Turkey knows much better than the rest of the world how to deal with Syrian crisis," Kakakhel told Anadolu Agency adding that Pakistan itself has faced the brunt of Afghan war for decades.In that perspective, he said, Ankara had every right to move for its own and the region’s security and stability.'Turkey's Syria operation is clearing away terrorists'EU not planning economic sanctions on Turkey: Berlin
"We’re on day seven of Operation Peace Spring. It’s continuing successfully as planned. We secured Ayn al-Arab on day four and Tal Abyad on day five by purging terrorists. Today, we reached 32 kilometers in. We have control over the M4 highway," he said.
The president said a total of 611 terrorists had been neutralized so far, with 556 of them killed, while the Turkish army has had four martyrs and the Syrian National Army (SNA) 32.
He stressed that the U.S., Russia, the European Union, and NATO were briefed on Turkey's actions and goals for the operation, adding that its success went beyond foreign countries' expectations as it secured a significant portion of northern Syria within a week.
US has to work with Turkey on their terms, says expert
The United States has to work with Turkey on their terms in northern Syria, a senior Hudson Institute fellow said Tuesday.Speaking at a panel, Michael Doran said Washington, by allying with the PKK terror organization, set itself on a collusion course with Ankara, calling it "unwise.""Everyone knows we [the U.S.] are leaving sooner or later. Turkey is gonna be there forever. We have to work through them largely on their terms," said Doran.Video: Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria"We can have our humanitarian concerns, we can force them aggressively, we can have differences of opinions but it has to be within a Turkish framework rather than some framework we made up as a result of different positions we ended up and as a result of temporary tactical decision we made," he added.His remarks came as Turkey is in seventh day of its peace operation in northeastern Syria. Following Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, the U.S. sanctioned Ankara's two of Ankara’s ministries and three ministers on Monday.Doran said the U.S. played a major role in the deterioration of relations with Ankara, adding that "Getting out of it means we need to reestablish good ties with Ankara."Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: ExpertsTurkey has repeatedly told the U.S. that its support for the PYD-YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, is paving the way for the group to build a terror state in northeastern Syria."We rebranded the PKK as the SDF, and brought in Arab and Ezidis. But the power center of that organization always was the PKK. We should recognize that we lied to ourselves."[The] Obama administration packaged this as something other than PKK," he added.Doran also said the U.S. is ditching a major ally, that sits between Europe and Asia, and where U.S. has basis and intelligence platforms and called Turkey an ally the U.S. work in Bosnia and Afghanistan."We are gonna ditch that state [Turkey] for a splinter group, extremist terrorist organization. That does not even represent even Kurds. PKK is not Kurds," he added, referring to the PKK.US has to work with Turkey on their terms, says expertYPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in Syria"We elevated a little splinter extremist organization of a minority and put it on the same level as our ally and began mediating back and forth and representing to Turkey the position of the PKK," he said.He said the PKK/YPG rejected any power sharing in their area and hate even the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq. "These guys the YPG, they would rather be in bed with [Bashar] al-Assad and the Iranians than with Kurds of Iraq."Doran accused the terror group of aligning itself with the Russians and Iranians, soon after the Washington's withdrawal in the region."We borrowed a Russian and Iranian proxy, and it was strategically stupid," he added.PKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror group'Turkey's Syria operation is clearing away terrorists'Turkey on Oct. 9, launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.EU not planning economic sanctions on Turkey: BerlinWest holds onto lies it crafted about YPG
YPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in Syria
Six civilians were killed and 15 injured by terrorist YPG/PKK artillery fire and heat seeking missiles in residential areas in northern Syria, once occupied by Daesh terrorists -- now cleared by Turkey's anti-terror Operation Euphrates Shield.Terrorists targeted the Gandura neighborhood of the Jarabulus district, held by Syrian armed opposition.Six civilians were killed in the attack, with 13 injured.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: ExpertsThe YPG/PKK terrorists also attacked Azaz district, firing four artillery shells which wounded two additional civilians.On Monday, the terror organization injured three children in a separate attack on Jarabulus, located in the Operation Euphrates Shield zone.Operation Euphrates Shield and its successors, Operation Olive Branch in 2018 and Operation Peace Spring -- launched on Oct. 9 -- all aim to eliminate terrorist elements near Turkey’s borders, including Daesh and the YPG/PKK.US has to work with Turkey on their terms, says expertYPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in Syria
"Our goal is clear: cleaning our borders of any terror elements and ensuring the safe return of the refugees…The operation will continue until the goals are achieved," he added.
Erdoğan said the Turkish Armed Forces takes great care not to harm civilians, unlike the anti-Daesh coalition and the YPG/PKK's operations in Mosul, Iraq as well as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in Syria, where thousands of civilians were killed.
"Unfortunately, the Western countries always ignored [civilian losses] and never talked about these. Now they’re trying to pressure us. Our operation is and has been against terror groups," he said.
PKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror group
While the EU continues to oppose Turkey's anti-terrorism efforts in northern Syria, the bloc's institutions and member countries continue harboring members of the PKK, despite it being on the EU terror list.Most-wanted PKK terrorists are frequent participants in events of the European Parliament.According to the Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2019 by EU police agency Europol, the PKK has been forcefully collecting funds from Kurdish businesses in Europe, while partaking in drug and human trafficking activities across the continent.US VP, top diplomat to visit Turkey for talksSchools suspended in north Syria amid PKK/YPG shellingIn 2015, Europol recognized the existence of PKK training camps in Belgium, as well as the foothills of the Alps in Switzerland in 2017.PKK-linked associations, foundations and media groups in France were found to easily be able to disseminate the terrorist organization's propaganda.The report found that many groups with ties to the PKK were also present in Belgium, where it said the terrorists' so-called Europe leaders resided.According to the German government, hundreds have left the country to join the ranks of either the PKK or YPG, with the total being 204 in 2017.US trained SDF for possible Turkish operation: reportTurkey not worried over sanctions, says ErdoğanPKK terrorists in the U.K. were found to operate as an organized criminal group, committing such crimes as drug and human trafficking.Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration are known to openly support the PKK.The PKK/PYD has an representative office in Greece and the Lavrion refugee camp southeastern Greece continues to be under PKK control.The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Austria are also among the countries where the PKK is able to conduct activities with no serious repercussions.Europe's tolerance, and at times support, towards the PKK is harshly criticized by Turkey, which accuses Europe of ignoring its security concerns.Suicide car bombing in Afghanistan kills two soldiersAnkara accuses Europe of being insincere in counter-terrorism, due to its criticism of Turkey's fight against the PKK.Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist groups there, to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.Turkey neutralizes 637 YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria
'Turkey's Syria operation is clearing away terrorists'
Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria continues to accomplish its goal of clearing the region of terrorists, said a senior Turkish official on Tuesday."Operation Peace Spring continues in line with its purpose. I think the operation will be completed in a short time in accordance with its objectives," said Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, after meeting with Russian Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko."Turkey defends Syria's territorial integrity and is making efforts for it," he added.Schools suspended in north Syria amid PKK/YPG shellingUS trained SDF for possible Turkish operation: reportAsked by Russian journalists if U.S. sanctions would deter the operation, Sentop said they would not."This operation has a purpose and will continue in line with this aim. We have been taking our actions and considering these possibilities. Sanctions will [only] strengthen our country," said Sentop.Matviyenko, for her part, said that Russia supports Turkey's fight against terrorism."Nobody can say that Turkey is not fighting terrorism,” she said.“Those who come from thousands of kilometers away cannot know the dynamics of the region," she added.She also criticized a French proposal at the current 141st Assembly of Inter-parliamentary Union in Belgrade to demand an end to the operation.Sentop is also attending the assembly.Suicide car bombing in Afghanistan kills two soldiersTurkey neutralizes 637 YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria
While Turkey takes great care to protect civilians, the YPG/PKK terror group pursues a completely opposite policy as it has targeted southern Turkish provinces with some 700 mortar rounds that killed 18 civilians, including an infant, according to Erdoğan.
On claims that the operation was against the Kurdish population and targeted civilians, and would undermine the fight against Daesh terrorists and pave the way for destabilization, Erdoğan called these baseless arguments meant to protect YPG/PKK terrorists.
"Our goal is clear: it is to make terrorists leave the 32-km-long territory, and have the line from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border secured by us."
West holds onto lies it crafted about YPG
The claim that the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) remains the most effective force in the fight against Daesh and that any intervention to harm this Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK would necessarily disrupt the fight against Daesh -- a claim perpetually put forward by those who are opposed to Turkey's Operation Peace Spring -- is simply disinformation.The military intervention in the east of the Euphrates, whose preparations had long been underway, finally began last week, after consecutive statements from Turkish officials that an operation was impending. The start of the operation was immediately followed by a chorus of countries headed by the U.S. making statements against Ankara's move. As we can clearly see, what underlies all these opposing statements are theses propagated in recent years in various influential international platforms in order to praise and highlight the "importance" of the YPG.When we analyze the criticisms leveled at the operation, we find that they are generally based on two particular claims. The first one is that the YPG is the most effective force in the fight against Daesh and that this fight will be hampered inasmuch as the YPG is harmed. In order to legitimize the presence of the YPG in the area, the Western public opinion, especially the U.S. media, have created the kind of narrative about the fight against Daesh that strengthens their own theses about this struggle, whereas the truth of the matter is that there were almost no other actors apart from Turkey that supported the Syrian opposition forces in the bloody battle they fought against Daesh in the last quarter of 2013 and the first half of 2014, although even the Turkish support then was limited. Syrian opposition forces cleared the countryside of Idlib and Latakia of all Daesh elements without air support. In the regions to the east of the Euphrates, however, and especially in Raqqa, Daesh defeated the opposition forces with the support of the Assad regime. Targeting opposition positions and not hitting the Daesh militants dug in nearby was a strategy of the Assad regime that was continuously witnessed for years until the fall of Aleppo. This is to explain that what the Syrian opposition was deprived of was not only air support: thanks to the Assad regime, which continuously targeted them while turning a blind eye to the Daesh militants, the latter were able to roam the land freely as if supported by an air force.The Assad regime's plot to establish the opposition forces as their archenemy and then crushing them to open up greater swathes of territory for Daesh were vital moves for laying down the foundations of a choice to be forced upon the Western public opinion in the coming years: "me or Daesh". And when the YPG and its sponsors began to utilize this handy, legitimizing feature of the Daesh presence, the demographic changes already underway in Syria picked up even more speed, because the YPG had a very significant "weapon" that the regime did not: the U.S. Air Force.Video: Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring Operation‘Legitimizing’ function of DaeshThe U.S. provided tremendous support to the YPG in the form of both weaponry and ammunition as well as military training, whereas it had previously not supported the Syrian opposition against Daesh in the Aleppo countryside. A natural outcome of this American behavior was the formation of a PKK corridor as a result of Syrian opposition forces losing territory to Daesh and this very territory ending up in YPG hands thanks to intense U.S. air support. The U.S. nourished and nurtured an organization -- the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK -- even though this went against the sociological reality on the ground, while also peddling, through its enormous media power, the illusion that this PKK offshoot was the only force that could fight Daesh. But soon after that, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, both of which demonstrated the capabilities of the Syrian opposition against Daesh when provided with the necessary support while also revealing how ineffectual the YPG actually was in the absence of U.S. air support.The other thesis comprising the basis of the claims about Turkey's military intervention is Turkey's alleged pursuit of "demographic engineering" in the region. The theses aiming to legitimize the YPG universally "market" it as the representative of the Kurds, and in the international media this organization is often referred to as "the Kurds" in a very generalizing way. In addition, it was claimed that a military intervention into the YPG-controlled areas would result in a demographic tragedy. This, however, is contrary to the realities on the ground, too.Manbij, Tel Abyad, Raqqa, Al-Hasaka and Deir ez-Zor, which are currently under YPG control, are predominantly Arab regions. And a number of other major districts with smaller populations such as Rasulayn, Amuda, Qamishli and Ayn al-Arab have predominantly Kurdish populations. However, with the exception of Ayn al-Arab, the other districts have historically given very low levels of political support to the YPG. The YPG has been engaging in demographic engineering through brutal means to become the only force to be reckoned with in this region although it is extremely difficult for the YPG to keep this territory under control for long due to its ethnic composition and ideology. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports have documented the unlawfulness of the YPG actions in the Arab territories that it seized and the demographic changes these actions have led to. Likewise, there are plenty of testimonies and visual materials proving that, in Amuda and Qamishli, two of the first regions in Syria to rise against the regime in 2011, the armed groups that intervened in the anti-regime demonstrations were also affiliated with the YPG. The oppressive policies of the YPG, which does not tolerate a single opposing voice in the Kurdish population, have led so many thousands of Syrian Kurds to leave their hometowns and made it impossible for any alternatives to the YPG to emerge in the region.The process unfolding before us shows that the weeks and months ahead will see many more manipulation attempts and black propaganda campaigns launched by the Western supporters of the YPG as to why they support the YPG and why they should punish Ankara. For this reason, we must keep our focus on the untold aspects of the fictional story that "the YPG is the only option in the fight against Daesh and the only representative of the Kurds" -- a story constantly peddled to the international public opinion -- and on every detail of this story purposely kept from the public.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: Experts
‘Civil-military ties complex in Muslim world’
Lack of transparency, frail democratic systems and frequent military interventions in the governance systems, are some of the issues plaguing most of the countries in the Muslim world, said scholars, who had converged in Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.Organized by the Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), some 20 scholars who debated civil-military relations across the globe, stressed upon the need to understand the essence of political systems and local realities in the Middle East and the North Africa.“Militaries are at the center of the decision making,” said Rachid Tlemcani, professor at the University of Algiers in Algeria.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: ExpertsHe said militaries in the region have a strong relationship with external players, in terms of buying arms and then to seek support to fight people, when they hit streets.“It is now time to develop a new approach. We cannot understand situation in our societies with [western] traditional approaches and concepts of political science. The new theory should reflect the complexity of the local realities,” he emphasized.He stressed that governments in Muslim countries need to evolve a system to take everybody on board in the decision-making process, rather than vesting powers in a single entity or a small group. He recommended to introduce democracy and decision-making process at the levels of village and towns, to organize people to take decisions on their day to day issues.'Turkey's Syria operation is clearing away terrorists'EU not planning economic sanctions on Turkey: BerlinUrging militaries to focus on external threat and protect borders, rather than interfering in politics, Tlemcani said the region will remain dependent on foreign partners for development and protection of national security, if military does not return to barracks.Case of PakistanDebating the case of Pakistan, scholars said both military and politicians in the country have used one another to further their interests. “From Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Nawaz Sharif, most of the prime ministers used the shoulders of military to come to power, but once they consolidated power, they began confrontation rather evolving and strengthening systems,“ said scholars.Ejaz Hussain, who teaches at Iqra University in Pakistan, said the military became a principal actor in 1960s in his country. He said before that civil bureaucracy had become a powerful force. Maintaining that Pakistan had a “defective democracy”, he said the country’s systems have not evolved since its inception in 1947.US trained SDF for possible Turkish operation: reportTurkey neutralizes 637 YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria“There is very little discussion on civil-military relations in Pakistan. The actors in Pakistani politics, in particular, the civil bureaucracy and the politicians, rely on and invoke the instrumentality of democracy. They use democracy as a tool to manipulate in terms of electoral weightage to enter parliament and then they never use democratic means and use power to promote their political or commercial interests,” he said.The scholar said that Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah had imagined a country with strong political foundations. “He did not like military and civil bureaucracy to intervene in political system,” said Hussain.“Threat from India has been invoked by both civilian and military leadership, which historically is fact of life. But has been used by stake holders to put impediments towards democratization or otherwise,” he said.Supporting his argument, he said the most powerful political leader Bhutto was curtailing the role of army during his tenure in 1970s. But at the same time imposed an authoritarian rule to control political elements in Balochistan. “Bhutto used all authoritarian means to stay in power,” he said.Video: Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria
Foreign leaders' positions
On EU countries' responses to the operation, Erdoğan said, "Except for Hungary, negative reactions have come from other EU countries. … They always surprise us. What they’re saying is unclear."
Germany has a coalition government, Erdoğan pointed out, so Chancellor Angela Merkel is passing the buck on responding to the operation.
Pushing back at France’s failure to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state, Erdoğan said: "French President Emmanuel Macron asked me [during a phone call], 'What do you say to the Turkish Cypriot president's remarks on the operation?’ I answered: 'How long have you known the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus]?'"
US VP, top diplomat to visit Turkey for talks
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will soon depart for Turkey to hold talks with top officials regarding Ankara’s ongoing Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.Pence will be accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he departs Wednesday, Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House.A U.S. delegation will leave Tuesday ahead of the departure of the senior officials, according to the presidentTurkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: ExpertsThe vice president's office released a statement adding Pence will be further accompanied by National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, and Trump's special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition James Jeffrey.The talks will begin Thursday, the office said, and Pence is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a bilateral meeting."The Administration is resolved to maintain security in the region, the safety of civilians, and the continued detention of ISIS fighters," the office said, using another name for the Daesh terrorist organization.YPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in SyriaPKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror group
Schools suspended in north Syria amid PKK/YPG shelling
Education was suspended for two days in the northern Syrian town of Jarabulus, held by the Syrian armed opposition, due to attacks from the PKK/YPG terrorist group.Terrorists targeted the Gandura neighborhood of Jarabulus district on Tuesday. Six civilians were killed in the attack, with 13 injured.Operation Euphrates Shield and its successors, Operation Olive Branch in 2018 and Operation Peace Spring -- launched on Oct. 9 -- all aim to eliminate terrorist elements near Turkey’s borders, including Daesh and the YPG/PKK.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.Video: Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring Operation
Mentioning his recent phone calls with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump, Erdoğan said:
"Yesterday, I told Trump, 'Sometimes you get very angry at the media. You’re under their influence and pressure. Don't mind it, you’re a strong leader. This doesn’t suit strong leaders'."
Erdoğan added: "I will hold talks with [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani. When everyone across the world had forsaken Iran, I stood by them. The U.S. was again against them. … I will remind Rouhani about this."
US trained SDF for possible Turkish operation: report
U.S. forces trained the SDF, a rebranded version of the YPG terror group, for a possible operation by Turkish forces in northeastern Syria, Foreign Policy magazine reported Tuesday.Citing a U.S. Army officer who worked with the group, the magazine said the SDF was taught sophisticated battlefield tactics, including how to build a network of tunnels beneath key towns in northeast Syria as a contingency against a Turkish military campaign.The officer told Foreign Policy that the group started to work on tunnels after Turkey seized Afrin, Syria in 2018.Video: Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring OperationThe officer also said U.S. troops conducted several rehearsals with the SDF on how to coordinate in case of a Turkish operation as well as training to build a "defense in depth," a military strategy that seeks to cause a delay to an attacking force.A former U.S. Army officer who also worked with the SDF confirmed the "group built tunnels as a contingency" against Turkey, said the report.It added that the tunnels and other defenses were likely set up as part of preparations for an eventual U.S. withdrawal.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKYPG/PKK terror attacks kill six civilians in SyriaTurkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.PKK continues to be Europe's favorite terror groupIn its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch -- to eradicate threats from Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: Experts
Turkey neutralizes 637 YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria
As Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria continues with great success, the number of "neutralized" YPG/PKK terrorists has climbed to 637, according to the country's National Defense Ministry.The announcement came via the ministry's official Twitter account.Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.Turkey has said the PKK and the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threats to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.Turkey remands four trying to recruit children for PKKTurkey's anti-terror operation rightful: Experts
Manbij and Syrian regime
Erdoğan said the Bashar al-Assad regime's entrance into the Manbij province was not really negative for him, as the territory actually falls under Syrian sovereignty.
But he added that the area must be rid of YPG/PKK terrorists and the local population is mostly made up of Arabs, and some of the Arab tribes urged Turkey to "save them."
One Turkish soldier lost his life in Manbij following regime attacks, he said, and the Turkish army responded with heavy artillery fire that "made the regime pay."
dk 16 Ekim 2019 AA Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria
Turkish Army soldiers fire howitzers to terrorist positions in northern Syria's Tal Abyad district as Operation Peace Spring against the PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists continues.
Ayn al-Arab and Turkish operation
Erdoğan accused the U.S.’ Obama administration of not being sincere in its policy in Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani.
After 2014 Turkey welcomed some 300,000 irregular Kurdish migrants who fled their homes due to Daesh terrorism but Western media outlets never mentioned this and painted Turkey as murderers of the Kurdish people, he stressed.
He added that Trump urged Turkey "not to hit" Ayn al-Arab and Turkey only engaged in a containment operation in the territory but it could intervene if developments take a different turn.
He stressed that Ankara did not want to target Kurdish people or civilians but sought to secure Ayn al-Arab, adding the anti-terror operation would help promote a political solution process in Syria.
Asked whether Ayn al-Arab was included in the safe zone plans, he responded: "Of course. Because it has a strategic importance due to its past. They [terrorist YPG/PKK] hit us from there."
Sanctions on military equipment
"Turkey is now a self-sufficient country," he said, adding the country is currently able to meet 70% of its needs through its own defense industry.
Citing how Turkey purchased Russia's S-400 missile system after the U.S. refused to sell it its Patriot system, he said: "There is no more desperation...You can buy anything from anywhere."
Erdoğan went on to slam the European countries that suspended arms exports to Turkey after Turkey launched its anti-terror op last week, saying that it already has other options.
YPG/PKK's release of Daesh prisoners
The Turkish leader said he discussed the fate of Daesh prisoners held by the YPG/PKK over the phone with Trump and said Turkey could take responsibility for them, but the YPG/PKK immediately released Daesh prisoners.
He added that Turkey could assume responsibility for Daesh terrorists imprisoned across northern Syria and might send foreign fighters back to their home countries.
"The terror group [YPG/PKK] that worked together with the U.S. until now is trying to reach an agreement with the [Syrian] regime. Western countries that call this terror group an ally should consider this," said Erdoğan.
Before Oct. 6, the U.S. had allied with the YPG/PKK to fight Daesh, against Turkish objections that using one terrorist group to fight another made no sense.
"Who is your true ally?" Erdoğan asked Western countries. "Is it the YPG/PKK or Daesh? Now we can ask about Daesh as well," he said, as Western countries turned a blind eye to the YPG/PKK's release of Daesh terrorists.
Erdoğan stressed that the Turkish army battled Daesh terrorists and over 3,000 of them were killed in the 2016 northern offensive in the Syrian town of al-Bab alone.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey's fight against terrorism in Syria is based on the 1998 Adana Agreement and that all NATO members should stand with Turkey in line with Article 5 of the NATO treaty, under which attacking one NATO member amounts to attacking them all.
The Adana Agreement allows Turkish forces to conduct military operations in Syria.
Most of Turkish opposition supports operation
The Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and IYI Party (IP) -- all opposition parties with seats in parliament -- support the anti-terror operation against the YPG/PKK, said Erdoğan.
He added that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar briefed all these parties on recent developments in the operation and thanked them for their solidarity.
Erdoğan also said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and a delegation are set to visit Turkey to discuss the latest developments in the operation.
"I hope tomorrow's talks bode well for us," he said, adding that Turkey is also in close touch with Russian officials.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.