Vows to 'Cleanse' 90-km Strip Along the Border
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik today ruled out any situation in which the government agreed to a truce with the Syrian Kurdish YPG, insisting that Turkey is a “sovereign state” and that it was impossible for them to enter into any agreement with a terrorist organization, which it considers the YPG.
Kurdish officials claimed a deal had been reached with Turkey yesterday, and that a ceasefire was in place in northern Syria. Turkey denied the deal at the time, while Syrian rebels allied with Turkey claimed it was a coincidental pause, and that attacks on the Kurds would resume soon.
Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, though initially targeting the ISIS-held city of Jarabulus, was done primarily to expel Kurdish forces from the west of the Euphrates River. ISIS is expected to be targeted over the course of the fighting as well.
Turkish officials have indicated that the goal of their invasion is to “cleanse” a 90-km strip of territory in northern Syria, along their border. The border itself in this strip is primarily controlled by ISIS, but areas further south, controlled by the Kurds, are also clearly being targeted.
In that regard, the 90-km strip comment isn’t particularly helpful, as it doesn’t clarify how far south that strip extends. Turkish officials are already claiming 400 square kms have been taken, and this is just the immediate surroundings of Jarabulus. Indications are that the forces are headed quite far south, into Manbij and al-Bab.
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