Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to escalate Ankara’s ongoing military campaign against a Kurdish-allied military group in northeast Syria on Wednesday as the United States aired concern about its impact on the civilians and the US-led coalition’s battle against the Islamic State (IS).
Addressing members of his Justice and Development Party in the Turkish parliament, Erdogan said, “With air operations, with our artillery units and if required with our land forces,” Turkey will show “members of the terrorist organization that we are ready to destroy them at any moment at any place.”
Erdogan also warned the United States over its continued alliance with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, the Pentagon’s top partner in the fight against IS and the target of Turkey’s assault. “Nobody should doubt that sooner or later, we will respond to those who stand by the terrorists during our struggle [against them]," Erdogan said.
Turkey insists that the SDF is no different from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Kurdish group that is waging an armed insurgency against the Turkish state and is designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department and the European Union.