Erdogan says Turkey to apply action plan in Syria unless control of safe zone within weeks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-01 01:10:00|Editor: yan
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ISTANBUL, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Saturday to launch the country's own plan of action if Turkish soldiers cannot take control of a planned safe zone in northeastern Syria "within a few weeks."

"We do not have much time and patience about the safe zone to be established along all of our borders in the east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said at a graduation ceremony of the National Defense University in Istanbul.

"If our troops do not control this area within a few weeks, we will have no choice but launch our own operational plan," he stressed, adding Turkey will not consent to a solution that excludes the presence of Turkish troops.

Erdogan also noted that the developments indicate a "significant" gap between Turkey and the United States on the proposed safe zone.

On Aug. 7, Turkey and the U.S. agreed to jointly establish a safe zone in the area held by the Kurdish militia in northeastern Syria amid Ankara's threat of a cross-border military operation against the Washington-backed Kurdish militants, and a joint operation center for the safe zone was launched a week ago.

Erdogan has vowed no tolerance of U.S. delay in carrying out the safe-zone plan, as a previous roadmap on the removal of the Kurdish militia from the northern Syrian town of Manbij has failed to make headway.

The division on the Syrian Kurdish militia has frayed relations between Ankara and Washington, two NATO allies, as Turkey sees the Kurdish fighters as terrorists, while the U.S. treats them as allies and has supplied weapons to them.