KONFRONTASI-Turkey will launch its own operation to establish a “safe zone” in Syria if talks with the United States fail to give Turkish troops control of the area within a few weeks, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for the region in northeastern Syria where the U.S.-backed force led by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia have been fighting Islamic State.
Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group because it says it has links to Kurdish militants in Turkey.
Turkey and the United States have set up a joint operation center for the planned zone along the border with Turkey but have disagreed over the size of the zone or the command structure of the forces to operate there.
“If our soldiers do not control the region within a few weeks, we will put our own operation plan into effect,” he said.
He did not specify what the operation plan would entail, but he has previously warned that Turkey would mount a cross-border offensive on its own to clear the YPG militia from its border if necessary.[mr/reuters]