Turkey’s Erdogan vows to impose secure zones east of Euphrates in Syria

President Tayyip Erdogan has in the past warned of new military operations against the YPG along the Syrian border and if necessary into northern Iraq. (Reuters)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Turkey’s Erdogan vows to impose secure zones east of Euphrates in Syria

  • Earlier this year, Turkey carried out a military operation to seize control of Syria’s Afrin region from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • The YPG also controls the Syrian region east of the Euphrates
ISTANBUL: Turkey will take action east of the Euphrates river in Syria and impose secure zones as it has done in the northwest of the country, President Tayyip Erdogan said in comments broadcast on Turkish media on Monday.
Earlier this year, Turkey carried out a military operation to seize control of Syria’s Afrin region from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The YPG also controls the Syrian region east of the Euphrates.
“God willing, in the period ahead we will increase the number of secure zones in Syria, encompassing the east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan said in a speech during a visit to New York.
Before the Afrin operation, Turkey also carried out a cross-border operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield,” which targeted both the YPG and Daesh fighters east of Afrin.
After the completion of Euphrates Shield in early 2017, Turkey set up local systems of governance in the swathe of land under its control and protected by Turkish forces. It has done the same in Afrin.
Erdogan has in the past warned of new military operations against the YPG along the Syrian border and if necessary into northern Iraq.
Expanding Turkey’s military campaign into the much larger Kurdish-held territory east of the Euphrates would risk confronting troops of NATO ally the US, that are deployed alongside a YPG-dominated force there.
The YPG has been Washington’s main ally against Daesh in Syria, infuriating Ankara which sees the Kurdish force as an extension of a militant group waging a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey.
Erdogan’s comments come a week after he and Russia’s Vladimir Putin announced a deal under which Russian and Turkish troops will enforce a demilitarized zone in northwest Syria’s Idlib region.


Rocket fired into Baghdad's Green Zone, no casualties

Updated 1 min 35 sec ago
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Rocket fired into Baghdad's Green Zone, no casualties

  • A blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night
  • Rocket was fired into Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone

BAGHDAD: A rocket was fired into Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, but caused no casualties, the Iraqi military said on Sunday.

A blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night, Reuters witnesses said and two Baghdad-based diplomatic sources also said they heard the blast.

"A Katyusha rocket fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any losses, details to come later," the military said in a brief statement.

The Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is an inexpensive type of rocket artillery that can deliver explosives to a target quicker than conventional artillery, but is less accurate.

The US embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Erbil evacuated non-emergency staff this week.

“We don’t think that the target was the Embassy as the range of the rocket and the place from were it was lunched is far away,” a security source told Arab News.

President Donald Trump's administration has said it sent additional forces to the region to counter what it called credible threats from Iran against US interests, including from militias it supports in Iraq.

Iran and the US have both said they do not want war as tensions between the two nations increase.