Turkish FM says US, Russia have responsibility for attack on Turkish forces in Syria

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday that both the US and Russia bear a responsibility for a recent attack on Turkish forces in Syria and reiterated Turkey’s determination to conduct a cross-border operation in the neighboring country, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The interior ministry announced on Sunday that two Turkish special operations police officers were killed and two others wounded in a rocket attack carried out by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

The ministry said the YPG militants targeted an armored vehicle carrying police officers near the town of Azaz.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said the US and Russia had not kept their promises to ensure that the YPG withdraws from the Syrian border area.

“In the latest attacks … both Russia and the US have a responsibility since they didn’t keep their promises,” Çavuşoğlu said. “Since they are not keeping their promises, we will do what is necessary for our security,” he said, echoing remarks from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan said following a Cabinet meeting on Monday that the attack in northern Syria was “the last straw” and that Turkey was determined to eliminate threats originating from northern Syria.

“We have no patience left with some areas that are a source of terrorist attacks aimed at our country from Syria,” Erdoğan said.

“We are determined to eliminate the threats emanating from Syria,” he said in televised comments. “We will take the necessary steps in Syria as soon as possible.”

Turkey now controls swathes of territory in northern Syria along with allied Syrian rebels after carrying out three separate cross-border offensives in the region against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the YPG. Ankara has been infuriated by the US support for the YPG and demands that its NATO ally stop backing the group.

In separate agreements with Moscow and Washington in 2019, Turkey halted its offensive in northeast Syria in exchange for the withdrawal of YPG militants 30 kilometers south of its border but has since repeatedly complained of violations and accused both countries of not keeping their promises.

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