Recep Tayyip Erdogan coordinating the start of the operation in northeastern Syria – – / Turkish President / dpa
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened on Thursday to “open the doors” for Syrian refugees in his country to go to Europe, lashing out at the EU for his criticism of the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria.
“Hey, European Union! You can't label our operation as an invasion,” Erdogan defended in Ankara. “Then we will open the doors and send the 3.6 million Syrian refugees” to Europe, he warned, underlining that the operation of the Turkish Army only seeks to “eliminate terrorism.”
The Turkish president has also lashed out against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United States, arguing that the offensive seeks to end terrorism on the borders of Turkey. Thus, he has denounced that Saudi Arabia is killing civilians in Yemen and has referred to the Egyptian president, Abdelfatá al Sisi, as “murderer”.
Erdogan announced on Wednesday the start of the 'Peace Spring' operation in northeastern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish militias and Islamic State in this area bordering Turkey. The offensive began with aerial and artillery bombardments, and then went on to a ground operation.
As he said on Thursday, Turkish forces have “neutralized” a total of 109 “terrorists.” “We will destroy what is left of them,” said the president, who has called on Kurdish fighters to lay down their weapons.
For its part, 'Manantial de Paz' has reported on its Twitter that the Turkish Army and the Syrian rebels that support it have already managed to free two towns west of Tal Abyad –Al Yabsa and Tal Fandar– “from the terrorists “. In addition, he has indicated that “five terrorists were neutralized in Qamishli.”
The Turkish Ministry of Defense has ensured that “during the planning and execution” of the operation “only shelters, positions, weapons and vehicles belonging to terrorist organizations” YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militias that Ankara links with the PKK, are being attacked, and Islamic States.
“The operation was carried out successfully both on land and in the air at night. The designated objectives have been taken. The operation continues as planned,” he said.