Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

Turkey Wants to 'Cleanse' Strip of Territory on Syrian Border

Turkey has demanded that the YPG cross the Euphrates river into a Kurdish-controlled canton in Syria's northeast

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in the border town of Jarablus, photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas
By Reuters Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
12 months ago

Turkey wants to clear Islamic State from a 90-km (56-mile) stretch of territory on the Syrian side of its border, an official said on Wednesday, a week after it launched an incursion that has strained ties with the United States.

Operation “Euphrates Shield”, in which Turkish troops and tanks entered Syria in support of rebels for the first time, began on Aug. 24 with the swift capture of Jarablus, a town a few km (miles) inside Syria that was held by the militant group.

Turkish-backed rebels patrolled the town on motorbikes on Wednesday as children played in dusty alleys.

The bulk of Turkish-backed forces have since moved further south into territory held by militias loyal to the Kurdish-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition supported by Washington in its bid to defeat the jihadists.

Turkish clashes with SDF loyalists have alarmed the United States, which has described the Turkish action as “unacceptable” because it hindered the battle against Islamic State.

But Turkey, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, says that, while it remains intent on clearing Islamist militants from its border region, it also wants to prevent Kurdish militias from seizing territory in their wake.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the goal was to drive Islamic State from a 90-km strip of land along the border with Turkey, which has been buffeted by a spate of bombings, blamed on the group, that have killed scores.

“Starting from Jarablus, the cleansing of this region is our priority,” Kalin told a news briefing. “We have already cleansed 400 square km successfully.”

Turkey has long said it wants a “buffer zone” in the area, although it has not used the term during this incursion. As well as driving out the ultra-hardline Islamists, it also wants to prevent Kurdish forces taking territory that will let them join up cantons they control in northeast and northwest Syria.

Turkey frets that seizing such a broad swathe of territory could embolden Kurdish PKK insurgents on Turkish soil.

THUD OF EXPLOSIONS

U.S. officials on Tuesday welcomed what appeared to be a pause in fighting between Turkish forces and rival militias, after days when the border area reverberated with Turkish warplanes roaring into Syria and artillery pounded Syrian sites, saying it was hitting Kurdish fighters.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters on Wednesday there had been calm in northern Syria in the past 24 hours.

“We continue to work very closely with our coalition partner and ally Turkey in trying to address their concerns about this situation,” spokesman Peter Cook said. “Likewise we continue to work with our partners in Syria to try and keep the focus where it should be,” he added.

A member of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is pictured in the border town of Jarablus, Syria, August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A member of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is pictured in the border town of Jarablus, Syria, August 31, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas

On Wednesday only the occasional thud of explosions in the distance was audible along the Turkish frontier.

Ankara has denied statements from Kurdish fighters in Syria that a temporary truce had been agreed, saying it would not make any pact with the Kurdish YPG militia, a powerful force in the SDF coalition, as it considers it a terrorist body.

“The Turkish Republic is a sovereign state, a legitimate state. It cannot be equated with a terrorist organization,” EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik told state-run Anadolu news agency, adding this meant there could be no “agreement between the two.”

Turkey has demanded that the YPG cross the Euphrates river into a Kurdish-controlled canton in Syria’s northeast. U.S. officials have threatened to withdraw backing for the YPG if it did not meet that demand, but have said that the Kurdish group has mostly done so.

Turkey’s EU affairs minister said some Kurdish fighters were still on the western side and called that “unacceptable.”

Eager to avoid more clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters, the Pentagon said the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State was establishing communications channels to better coordinate in a “crowded battlespace” in Syria.

As well as battling Islamic State in Syria, Turkey has been rounding up suspected militants at home. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the authorities had arrested 865 people since the start of 2016, more than half of them foreigners, preventing them crossing through Turkey’s long border with Syria and Iraq.

DAVID DOLAN

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
World

In Chaotic Meeting, Charlottesville Vote ...

7 hours ago
World

Pentagon chief, in Baghdad, Says Militan ...

8 hours ago
Sports

Beckham, Marshall Being Listed as Day to ...

8 hours ago
World

Romania: Protest Slams Decree on Jobs fo ...

8 hours ago
Most Popular

Odebrecht Made Payments to Former Pemex ...

By The News
Mexico

Dozens Killed in Airstrikes on Syrian Ci ...

By The Associated Press
World

No Pants Subway Ride

By Administrador
Mexico

Deported Mexican Man Seeks Help from Jud ...

By The Associated Press
Mexico

World Economic Forum Says Capitalism Nee ...

By The Associated Press
Business