Turkey ready to take unilateral action to realize Syria “safe zone”

Turkey does not think its efforts with the United States to form a “safe zone” in northeast Syria will yield the results it wants and is ready to take action itself, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Ankara and Washington have agreed to establish a zone on the Syrian border that Turkey says should stretch 30 km into Syria and be cleared of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which it considers a terrorist organization.

Turkey has accused the United States, which supports the YPG-led force which defeated Islamic State fighters in Syria, of moving too slowly to set up the zone. The two countries are also at odds over how far it should extend into Syria and who should control it.

Turkey says it wants to settle up to 2 million Syrian refugees in the zone, and has repeatedly warned of unilateral military action if it is not satisfied with progress.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey had no choice but to act alone given the lack of progress made with the United States, in his most direct indication yet of a military incursion.

Speaking to broadcaster A Haber on Thursday, Cavusoglu said Turkey had not seen sincerity from the United States.

“We think this ongoing process with the United States will not take us to the point we desire. The information coming from the field proves this,” he was quoted as saying by A Haber.

“We must take steps to clear the terrorist organizations from our vicinity and return refugees there,” he said.