The Turkish leader said his country’s forces are on standby to move further east of Euphrates River in northern Syria, calling prospects of establishing a joint US-Turkey safe zone “a fairytale.”
Ankara believes that “land and air patrols with US were a fairytale; we carried out preparations for the safe zone [in Syria] and gave necessary orders,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Saturday by local media.
Troops are ready to move in on short notice, he noted.
We will carry out this operation both on land and air as soon as today or tomorrow.
“We gave all warnings to our interlocutors regarding the east of Euphrates and we have acted with sufficient patience,” the President added.
Turkey has been waging a low-intensity campaign against Kurdish insurgency on its own soil for four decades. Back in 2016, Turkish forces intervened into Syrian civil war, targeting the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the northern part of the country. They had made steadfast advances but stopped short of crossing Euphrates River.
Responding to Erdogan’s warning on Saturday, the Kurdish militias threatened “to turn any unprovoked [Turkish] attack into an all-out war,” Reuters reported.