Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday that Ankara continues to prepare for a military operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria that will start “at the right time for Ankara.”
“The Turkish armed forces will start to clear the areas east to the Euphrates River of terrorists at the right time for Ankara, as they had done before in others regions of Syria,” Akar said while inspecting Turkish troops stationed at the Syrian border, as cited by the Anadolu news agency.
According to the minister, plans for the operation has already been completed, but necessary preparations continue.
He added that Turkey’s only target in Syria was ‘terrorists’ since Ankara had no problems with ethnic Kurds, he added.
Earlier in December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey was ready to launch a military operation against Kurdish fighters on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River as well as in Syria’s Manbij, located near the Turkish border if the United States did not remove the militia from there.
After a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump on December 14, Erdogan said that the start of the operation would be postponed. After this same phone call, Trump announced that US troops would be withdrawn from Syria.