ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkey is not going to limit its military operation to the Syrian Afrin region, and is ready to fight in Iraq, if necessary, in its effort to destroy terrorism, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.
“We will be in Syria until we destroy terrorism… and then will hand these territories to their true owners. The calls to limit our operation to Afrin have no influence on us. Wherever the terrorist threat comes from — Sinjar, Qandil, Manbij, east of Euphrates — we will fight and destroy it,” Cavusoglu said while aired by the NTV broadcaster.
The statement was made after on January 21, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a resolution on the situation in northwestern Syria, calling on Turkey “to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties.”
Despite Washington’s calls and assertions that the US had been providing “mission-specific” weapons to the Syrian Democratic Forces for use in Raqqa, Syria and not “providing anything to any other groups in the area”, Turkey launched the military operation on January 20, dubbed Olive Branch, in Syrian Kurdish-populated city of Afrin.
However, Ankara stressed that its military advance in the region wasn’t aimed against the country’s sovereignty. As Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim explained the goal of the offensive, Turkey seeks to ensure the security of its borders and “is targeting only terrorists”.
In his previous statements on the issue, Cavusoglu assured that Ankara was informing Russia and other states about the progress of the operation, including US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.