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Top diplomat: Turkey plans to enter Syria’s areas east of Euphrates as soon as possible

December 25, 2018, 10:57 UTC+3 ANKARA

Turkish presidential spokesman said earlier that Ankara "will coordinate its actions east of the Euphrates River with Russia"

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

© Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Pool Photo via AP

ANKARA, December 25. /TASS/. Ankara plans to enter Syria’s areas east of the Euphrates River as soon as possible, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

"If Turkey says that it will enter Syria, it will be so. We will coordinate the troop withdrawal with the United States. We plan to enter areas east of the Euphrates River as soon as possible," he said, as cited by the TRT TV channel.

According to Cavusoglu, Turkey "is working to make sure there is no vacuum after the United States pulls out of Syria, which terrorist groups will be eager to fill."

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said earlier that Ankara "will coordinate its actions east of the Euphrates River with Russia."

On December 12, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to launch an operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) on the east bank of the Euphrates, that Ankara believes to be branches of the Kurdistan Workers' Party. Turkey already carried out two military operations in Syria dubbed Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield. As a result, a buffer zone was created between the border towns of Jarabulus and Azaz, while Turkey seized the Kurdish-populated Afrin region.

Erdogan said at a press conference following the G20 summit in Argentina that Ankara would soon clear areas east of the Euphrates River of terrorist units.

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