News ID: 167800
Published: 0639 GMT August 29, 2016

Turkey warns of more strikes if Syrian Kurds don't retreat

Turkey warns of more strikes if Syrian Kurds don't retreat

Turkey on Monday said it would continue targeting a Syrian Kurdish militia in Syria if it failed to fulfill promises to retreat east of the Euphrates River, accusing the group of ethnic cleansing.

"The YPG (People's Protection Units) first of all... needs to cross east of the Euphrates as soon as possible. So long as they don't, they will be a target," said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"In the places where it has moved, the YPG forces everyone out – including Kurds – who do not think like it does and carries out ethnic cleansing," he added.

Ankara said it had killed 25 Kurdish "terrorists" on Sunday as it pressed on with a two-pronged operation inside Syria against the Daesh terror group and the YPG, AFP wrote.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said at least 40 civilians were killed in Turkish shelling and airstrikes, claims that were strongly rejected by Ankara.

"Allegations that... civilians were shot at or targeted do not reflect the truth," the office of the prime minister said, adding the army was taking "all necessary measures to prevent any harm to the civilian population".

Cavusoglu said the ethnic composition of the area around the city of Manbij west of the Euphrates – captured by the YPG from Daesh earlier this month – was largely Arab.

He also hailed the success of the lightning operation by Turkish-backed militants, who on Wednesday captured the town of Jarablus from Daesh.

Meanwhile, the United States criticized clashes between Turkish forces and some armed groups in northern Syria as "unacceptable" and called on all actors in the fighting to stand down and focus on the fight against Daesh.

"We want to make clear that we find these clashes – in areas where ISIL (Daesh) is not located – unacceptable and a source of deep concern," Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter Daesh, said on his official Twitter account, citing a Defense Department statement.

 

   
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