Operation in Idlib continues without any problem, Erdoğan says


Addressing ruling-AK Party members in Turkish province of Afyonkarahisar on Sunday, President Erdoğan says that military operation in Syria's Idlib is continuing without any problem.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that "Turkey will not allow 'terror cantons' to be established at its border with Syria."

Speaking at the 26nd Consultation and Assessment meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in central Afyonkarahisar province, Erdoğan emphasized that developments in Syria and Iraq are directly related to Turkey's national security.

"The process, which began yesterday and was implemented this morning, is continuing without any problem.", Erdoğan said in his speech.

On Saturday, Turkish military deployed fully-equipped commando units along its border with Syria after the president hinted at further steps to secure Idlib.

"The efforts there [in Idlib] are continuing smoothly with our support for the Free Syrian Army."

The action in Idlib comes after guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey, and Iran -- agreed to establish de-escalation zones in Syria during a meeting in Kazakh capital Astana on May 4.

After intensive negotiations between Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition, and the guarantor of the regime, Russia, the deal came to the implementation phase.

"We will not allow Turkey to be cornered by threats from Syria and Iraq", he added.

"There is a strong struggle for the establishment of a new terror state at our border, and we will not remain silent to this," Erdoğan said amid an ongoing operation by the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in northeastern Syrian province of Idlib targeting terrorist groups.

Turkish media outlets reported that one of the targets of the operation is to encircle the Afrin area, which is controlled by PKK's Syrian offshoot Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Millions of people escaped from the barrel bombs in Aleppo to find refuge in Idlib. There are millions of people in Idlib, and we will protect Idlib," Erdoğan said.

The President also said that Turkey will cooperate with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) within Idlib, and with Russia outside the bounds of Idlib.

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