By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey is determined to clear out terrorists east of the Euphrates River, protect its own survival and establish a safe zone to ensure security, peace and stability in Syria, its Foreign Ministry said Monday.
“In this way, a serious threat to the territorial integrity and unity of Syria will be eliminated and a strong ground will be established in order to prevent the recurrence of the terrorist Daesh and similar problems in the future,” spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been facing mounting pressure in Washington after the White House announced late Sunday that the U.S. would pull back its forces in Syria ahead of a "long-planned" Turkish operation.
The Trump administration has ruled out any U.S. support for the mission, and in the face of significant pushback, the president vowed "if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey."
Turkey has long called for the U.S. to partner with it in the fight against Daesh, a terrorist group Ankara has worked to root out, arresting and deporting its members within Turkey.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home to western Syria.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization.