‘US actions on the ground don't live up to its pledges’

‘US actions on the ground don't live up to its pledges’

From now, Turkey will not only look at US' words but also their actions on the ground, says Turkish Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag

By Mumin Altas and Ahmet Sertan Usul

ANKARA (AA) - Washington’s actions in Syria are not in line with their promises to Ankara, Turkey’s deputy premier and government spokesman said Sunday.

Speaking to Turkish broadcaster Kanal 7, Bekir Bozdag said: “The U.S. administration's promises to Turkey didn't match their actions in the field.”

“Every act [of the U.S. in Syria] contradicts their promises,” he added, referring to the U.S. promise to halt arming PYD/PKK terrorists in Syria.

“From now on, Turkey will not only look at their words but at their actions too,” he said.

Bozdag also reiterated the aims of Turkey’s current operation in Afrin, Syria, saying: “The goal of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria is to eliminate the terrorist groups there and make the area safe and secure. The operation is being carried out with respect for the state of Syria its territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political unity, and will continue in this vein.”

Following the Afrin operation, the northern Syrian city of Manbij as well as areas captured by the PYD/PKK terrorist group east of the Euphrates river will be cleared, he added.

He underlined that Ankara will not tolerate the presence of a terror group that threatens the security of Turkey’s borders and its citizens there and attacks security forces.

“Turkey won't allow anything leading to the establishment of a PKK terrorist state or PKK terrorist army in the region,” he added.

He reiterated Ankara’s call for the U.S. to end its support for PYD/PKK terrorists in Syria.

-Mixed signals

To date the U.S. has supported the PYD/PKK as an ally in its fight against Daesh, ignoring its status as the Syrian branch of the PKK, a terrorist group that has taken some 40,000 lives in Turkey in 30 years of attacks.

Responding belatedly to Turkish objections, the U.S. has pledged in recent months to end its support for the PYD/PKK, while also sending mixed signals about a new border army and failing to take back arms it gave the terror group to fight Daesh.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.

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