Jan 10, 2019 18:06 UTC
  • Turkey will start offensive in Syria if US troop pullout stalled: Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country will launch an offensive against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, in case the United States delays the planned withdrawal of its troops from the war-torn Arab country.

"If the (pullout) is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish-language NTV television news network on Thursday in an exclusive interview.

The top Turkish diplomat then underlined that the Ankara government would go ahead with its incursion plan.

“We are determined on the field and at the table ... We will decide on its timing and we will not receive permission from anyone,” Cavusoglu said.

He also said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's announcement that the Turkish military was preparing for an offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces came well before his US counterpart Donald Trump’s decision to bring home American troops from Syria.

Cavusoglu said Ankara would fight the YPG whether or not US soldiers pulled out of Syria.

Trump said last month that he was bringing home the American troops deployed in Syria -- some 2,000 -- alleging they had succeeded in their mission to defeat the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.