Turkey: No need to initiate another operation in Syria

Turkish defense ministry says it was informed by US that Kurdish withdrawal from Syria safe zone is complete.

Ben Ariel ,

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter

The United States told Turkey on Tuesday night that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the “safe zone” Ankara demands in northern Syria was complete, the Turkish defense ministry said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The statement added there was no need to initiate another operation outside the current area of operation at this stage.

US President Donald Trump commented on the announcement on Twitter and wrote, “Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East. Further reports to come later!”

Under a truce brokered by US Vice President Mike Pence, Turkey had agreed to a 5-day ceasefire in northern Syria, which expired on Tuesday.

The Kurds began leaving the Turkish-besieged town of Ras al-Ain in northern Syria on Sunday, in what appeared to be the start of a wider withdrawal under the ceasefire deal.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had continued to threaten the Kurds despite the ceasefire. Last Friday, he warned that his country would restart its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria on Tuesday evening if they did not withdraw from the "safe zone".

On Saturday, Erdogan warned that if there is no solution to the Kurdish crisis "Turkey will find a solution for itself" and threatened to “smash the heads of the Kurdish terrorists."

The Kurds have been a key ally to Washington in the US-backed fight against Islamic State (ISIS) group jihadists in Syria, but Turkey views them as "terrorists" linked to Kurdish militants on its own soil.