Thursday, May 25, 2023

Turkey to Continue "Military Operations" in Northern Syria, Iraq - Defense Minister

Turkey does not intend to stop its military operations in northern Syria and Iraq until the problem of terrorism is completely solved there, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday.

In early May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara was waiting for the "right time" to continue its operations in the areas.

"Operations in northern Iraq and Syria will not be ceased. This fight will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized," Akar was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency.

He added that the Turkish armed forces kept eliminating terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq, and, eventually, all of them would either die or surrender.

"They have no choice but to surrender to justice," Akar said.

Since 2016, the Turkish armed forces have been conducting air and ground operations in northern Iraq and Syria against militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization due to its desire to establish a Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. The presence of the Turkish military in the Zlikan camp northeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul is a matter of dispute between Baghdad and Ankara. Damascus also deems the presence of Turkish forces on the Syrian border illegal and has repeatedly urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.

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