Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said during his phone talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Ankara will continue its military operation in northeastern Syria until the threats posed by the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, banned in Russia) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are fully eliminated, the Turkish president’s office said in a statement.
The office of the UK prime minister said on Saturday that during the talks Johnson called on Erdogan to stop the operation in Syria and expressed readiness to support peace negotiations between the countries.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a telephone conversation with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The president told Johnson about the goals of Operation Peace Spring and said that it would continue until the terrorist threat posed by the PKK — Syrian Kurds’ self-defense forces — and the IS in northern Syria is completely eliminated, allowing voluntary and safe return of Syrian refugees,” the statement read.
On Wednesday, Erdogan announced the launch of a military operation in northern Syria against the IS and the PKK, which Ankara designates as terrorists. The air component of the operation has begun the same day in the Ras al-Ain town of Al Hasakah province, while the land operations have been launched shortly after.
The Turkish offensive in northern Syria is part of Ankara’s long-standing goal to clear its border area of both Kurdish militia and IS terrorists, and create a so-called safe zone along the cleared line. The military operation has already resulted in civilian deaths on both sides of the border. Damascus views the operation as a violation of Syria’s territorial integrity. The offensive was also condemned by the Western countries.