Defying US, Turkey says doesn’t need ‘permission’ to launch new offensive in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defied a warning from the United States about launching a new offensive into northern Syria.

Erdogan said on Monday Turkey will not wait for Washington’s “permission” to launch a new military operation inside the Arab country. “One cannot fight terrorism while waiting for the permission of whoever,” Erdogan told a group of journalists.

“What will we do if the United States does not do its part in the fight against terrorism? We will get by on our own.”

The president said Turkey would soon launch a new military operation into the area to create a 30-kilometer “security zone” along the border. The Turkish president did not provide further details, but said the operation would begin after Turkey’s military, intelligence and security forces completed preparations. He has also urged NATO member states to support his country’s efforts to establish a safe zone on the border with Syria.

On Tuesday, the United States warned Turkey against launching a new operation, saying the uneasy NATO ally would be putting US troops at risk.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country’s territorial integrity. The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, claiming that it is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019, after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed hundreds of civilians since it started.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ground offensive by Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants in the northern part of the Arab country.

Both the United States and Turkey have played a major role in supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.

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