Turkey to continue Syria bombardment: Turkish President
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Wednesday that Turkish forces will push ahead with the bombardment of positions of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, as Kurds continue to make advances there.
“They (the West) tell us to stop shelling” the Kurdish fighters in Syria, Erdogan said in a televised speech in the capital, Ankara.
“Forgive me, but there is no question of us doing such a thing. Whoever fires shells on Turkey will get not just a tit-for-tat response but an even greater one,” Erdogan stated.
The Turkish president said Ankara would not allow a new Qandil to be created on southern Turkish border, in a reference to the mountain in northern Iraq, which has been the stronghold of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants for years.
Over the past few days, Turkey has been shelling the positions of fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria.
Ankara regards the YPG and PYD as allies of the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
The YPG, which is nearly in control of Syria’s entire northern border with Turkey, has been fighting against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The Turkish government is angered by the rapid advance of Syrian Kurdish fighters, who are taking advantage of Russian air cover in the region to capture territory near the Turkish border.
Erdogan said Ankara would “not allow… the provocative” steps taken by them in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.
Turkey believes the Syrian Kurds are seeking to create an autonomous region in northern Syria that stretches from the Iraqi border to the Mediterranean.
“We will not hesitate to take the necessary steps against all terror organizations in Syria,” said Erdogan.
He also called on the United States which backs the PYD and YPG to end its support, saying, “Are you our friend or the friend of the PYD?… We know that we need friends. But if you don’t see us as friends then please say it loud and clear.”
Turkey has been among the major supporters of the Takfiri terror groups fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.