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“Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we determine our own path, but we set our own limits,” Turkish Vice President said.
Turkey announced Tuesday it will carry out its military plans in the north of Syria without paying much attention to the United States menaces, apparently referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the country goes too far.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said his country would combat Syrian Kurdish fighters across the border with Syria, to establish an area where Turkey would be able to resettle Syrian refugees.
“Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we determine our own path, but we set our own limits,” Oktay added.
At least two convoys of buses with commandos made their way to the border Tuesday, according to state-run Anadolu Agency, as Turkey has been strengthening its military presence on its side of the border, in preparation for an attack.
In Damascus, Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad reacted to Trump’s announcement calling on Syrian Kurds to join the government’s side now their U.S. allies abandoned them.
“The homeland welcomes all its sons, and Damascus will solve all Syrian problems in a positive way, away from violence,” Mekdad told newspaper Al-Watan.
Concerning an eventual Turkish incursion in the country, Mekdad said “the Syrian government will defend all Syrian territory and will not accept any occupation of any land or iota of the Syrian soil.”
The U.S. started Monday pulling troops back from the northeast Syria border, opening the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces longtime allied to Washington, in a move Trump hailed as a bid to quit “endless wars” in the Middle East.
The U.S. decision enraged the Kurds who risk losing the autonomy they earned from Damascus during the civil war that started in 2011, and seeing Turkey seize parts of the territory they are concentrated in.
“We will not hesitate for a moment in defending our people,” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement, pledging to fight back Turkey in the case of an assault, and raising the possibility of a new war in the Arab country.
On Tuesday, the SDF asked for Trump to come to see the “advancements” they made in northeastern Syria, with the U.S. support.
“We have more work to do to keep the Islamic State group from coming back; make our accomplishments permanent. If U.S. leaves, all will be erased,” the SDF tweeted.