Erdogan publicly announces Turkey invasion east of the Euphrates


Since previous year, Turkey and United States have been trying to find a solution to Turkish concerns over the presence of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria.

"We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab [in northern Syria], and now we're going to enter east of the Euphrates", Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an inauguration ceremony in Bursa, referring to other successful Turkish counter-terrorist campaigns in Syria since 2016, Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch.

But Ankara sees it as an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has fought a bloody insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.

Turkey wants to control - in coordination with the USA - a 19-25 mile-deep zone within Syria, east of the Euphrates River, and wants no Syrian Kurdish forces there.

Washington has supported the YPG as the main fighting force against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Ankara accuses Washington of stalling progress on setting up the safe zone and has urged Washington to cut off its relations with the YPG.

"We stand as one front with all our ethnic and religious components and will resist with all possible means in defense of security and stability", Abed Hamed al-Mihbash, the head of the council said in a statement. "We resume our military operations against terrorist organizations", the military in Damascus said.

Al-Qaeda heir Hamza bin Laden killed: U.S. media
But branches and associated jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere have underscored its continuing potency. The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, provided no further details, including when Hamza died or where.

The council added that Ankara "is trying to deceive the public" and to get the USA and other parties to "participate in the crimes that Turkey is committing against humanity".

"We can only be patient for so long".

Syrian rebel commanders said on Monday they are ready to join Turkish troops in an offensive to seize back largely Arab-populated towns and villages in northeast Syria held by Kurdish-led-forces.

These differences mean an agreement is unlikely to be reached today, raising the possibility that Ankara will establish a buffer zone unilaterally.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Friday said there was still no agreement on the "safe zone" as Ankara expected the USA to bring new proposals.

Overnight, three Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters were killed during clashes with the YPG, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.