Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of what he called terrorists, state-owned Anadolu agency reported on Monday.
Cavusoglu was quoted as saying that United States and Russia had not done what was required under agreements that halted a Turkish offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeastern Syria last month.
The deals stipulated that the YPG would be removed from a swathe of land bordering Turkey in northeastern Syria.
Cavusoglu called on Washington and Moscow on Monday to do what is necessary under the deals.
“If we do not obtain a result, we will do what is necessary, just as we launched the operation after trying with the US,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying, referring to work with Washington to remove the YPG from the area before Turkey launched its cross-border incursion on October 9.
Ankara views the YPG, the main component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that helped the United States defeat ISIS, as a terrorist group with links to Kurdish militants on Turkish soil.
Turkey’s latest offensive was widely condemned by Ankara’s Western allies, who said the assault could hinder the fight against ISIS in Syria. Turkey has dismissed the concerns, saying it will continue to combat ISIS.
Despite amicable relations between the presidents of the two countries, the US Congress has passed a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Ankara, a NATO ally, over the offensive.
The Republican chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said last week he did not want lawmakers to pass legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey for now. He cited a need to lessen friction during talks over Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400s missile defense system, another point of disagreement between the allies.