19:57 GMT11 August 2020
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    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that the aims of the Turkish Euphrates Shield mission in northern Syria are clearing the region" from the Daesh and "preventing the Syrian Kurds’ self-defense forces to build a corridor" between their self-controlled territories.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkey has warned Damascus of its "Euphrates Shield" military campaign in northern Syria through Russian channels, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday.

    "All stakeholders have been informed about the start of the ‘Euphrates Shield’ operations, including Damascus, which was informed by Russia, we are confident," Kurtulmus said at a briefing in Ankara.

    Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield mission with US-led coalition backing last Wednesday, August 24, with the stated aim of clearing the border town of Jabulus from Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) jihadists. Damascus and Syrian Kurds accuse Ankara of violating Syrian sovereignty with the campaign involving 200 troops and mechanized units, as well as 150 special forces, and 13 F-16 fighters.

    "We are not going to become a regular force in Syria. Turkey is not an occupier: we are not entering a war and are not becoming part of the military conflict. But if the threat to our security remains in the region, we will not stand idly by," Kurtulmus said.

    The deputy prime minister reiterated Ankara’s aim of "clearing the region" from the Daesh and "preventing the Syrian Kurds’ self-defense forces to build a corridor" between their self-controlled territories.

    "If that happens – Syria will be divided," Kurtulmus warned.


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