ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday that his country has decided to postpone “for some time” its cross-border operation against Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River.
“Last week, we took the decision to launch an operation into the east of the Euphrates River and made it public,” Erdogan said at an event in Istanbul.
“However, the telephone call with (U.S. President) Trump, the contact of our diplomacy and security units and the statements of the U.S. have all led us to wait for a while,” he added.
The Turkish leader threatened last week a new campaign “within days” against the Kurdish militia in Syria, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and spoke of the operation impending “at any time” on Monday.
Following the phone conversation with Erdogan, Trump announced on Wednesday his decision to pull the U.S. troops out of Syria.
“During our phone conversation, Trump asked whether we would clean the region of the Daesh (IS),” Erdogan said.
“We did it before, and we will do it again as long as you give us the necessary logistic support,” said the Turkish leader.
Erdogan said Turkey would follow a style of operation to eradicate both the Kurdish forces, mainly the YPG, and the IS elements in Syria in the upcoming months.
Ankara and Washington have long been at odds over the issue of the YPG in Syria, as the United States considers the group an ally in its fight against the IS, while Turkey sees it as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.