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Erdogan rejects claims US-backed Kurds have retreated

Ankara on Thursday announced that it had cleared dozens of villages of 'terrorists' after claiming the key border town of Jarabulus without much resistance on the first day of the offensive on August 24. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Ankara, Turkey Sep 02, 2016, 07.09 AM (IST)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed claims that a US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia has retreated east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria following Turkish strikes against the group.

"Right now, people say they have gone to the east but we say no, they haven't crossed," he said during a speech in Ankara.

A US defence official had told AFP on Monday that "all" Kurdish forces had moved east of the Euphrates.

Erdogan said that Ankara would be aware if the militia had retreated.

Turkey had warned that it would continue bombarding the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Ankara sees as a terror organisation linked to separatist rebels, unless they moved east.

Ankara's operation against the YPG is to prevent the militia joiningup with a Kurdish-held area to the west of the Euphrates.

"No one can expect us to permit a terror corridor to be created. We will not allow it," the president added, referring to a desire by Syrian Kurdish groups to unite the three "cantons" already in place in northern Syria.

Ankara on Thursday announced that it had cleared dozens of villages of "terrorists" after claiming the key border town of Jarabulus without much resistance on the first day of the offensive on August 24.

During the operation, dubbed "Euphrates Shield", Turkey has also carried out strikes against the YPG.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

 
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