MAJOR: Erdogan announces new Turkish operation in Syria

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BURSA – Turkey will launch a new operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, adding that interested powers had already been informed of their plans.

“Now we enter the [area] east of the Euphrates as we enter Afrin, Jarablus, Al-Bab [cities in Syria]. We share this [information] with Russia and the United States,” Erdogan announced during a speech in the city of Bursa in northwest Turkey.

The Turkish leader gave no details on when and how this operation will be performed.

The territory east of the Euphrates is currently controlled by self-defense forces led mainly by Kurdish militants, a recurring target of the Turkish government. For years, Turkey has launched operations against Kurdish militants both in its own territory and in regions of Syria and Iraq.

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The Turkish president stressed that with the purchase of Russian air defense systems, his country “is not preparing for a war”, but rather “guarantees peace and national security.”

Erdogan stated that the agreement with Russia on S-400 air defense systems is “the most important” in the history of his country.

Thus, the president stressed that with the purchase of these systems Ankara “is not preparing for a war”, but thus aims “to ensure peace and national security.”

“Our Armed Forces will have full control. The [agreement on] the S-400 is currently the best agreement in our history. This is an association process and a big step towards joint production,” said the Turkish leader.

The deliveries of S-400 systems to Turkey started last Friday, seven aircraft have transported the first parts of these air defense systems to the air base Murted.

The US has repeatedly warned Turkey that it will not be able to participate in the F-35 fighter development and acquisition program if it purchases S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia.

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