Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is seen in Diyarbakir, September 4, 2016. (AFP)
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says Turkey will never allow the formation of an "artificial state" of Kurdish militants near its border in northern Syria.
Yildirim said on Sunday that Ankara would not ever permit the US-backed militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to establish a "synthetic state" close to its border.
"We will never allow the formation of an artificial state in the north of Syria," Yildirim said in a speech in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, adding, "We are there with Euphrates Shield, we are there to protect our border, to provide for our citizens safety of life and property, and to ensure Syria's integrity."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently told a press briefing on the sidelines of the G20 gathering of world leaders in China that his country would never permit the establishment of a “terror corridor” in northern Syria.
“Nobody should expect that we’ll agree to the establishment of a terror corridor along our southern border in northern Syria,” Erdogan said on September 1.
Erdogan also dismissed claims by the United States that Kurdish militants had retreated to the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, saying, “Right now, people say they have gone to the east but we say no, they haven’t crossed.”
The Turkish president was reacting to comments by a US military official who said on August 29 that Kurdish forces had “all” moved east of the Euphrates, more than a week after Ankara launched an incursion into northern Syria.
Top Turkish officials have stressed that the offensive in Syria will continue until the YPG and its affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) withdraw.
The Turkish military is supporting a ground offensive by hundreds of pro-Ankara militants in Syria, who managed to enter the Syrian border town of Jarablus in a lightening advance after meeting little resistance from the Takfiri Daesh terrorists there.
The so-called Operation Euphrates Shield, which began on August 24, involves the Turkish air force and special ground forces. Ankara says the incursion is aimed at Daesh terrorists and Kurdish militants.
This picture taken on September 4, 2016, at Elbeyli, in the southern region of Kilis, shows a Turkish tank coming from Syria during clashes between the Turkish army and militants. (AFP)
Meanwhile, YPG forces say they have already withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates River in line with demands by Ankara and Washington.
A spokesman for the YPG recently criticized Turkey, saying its claims of fighting the group west of the Euphrates River are a pretext to widen its occupation of the Syrian territory.
The Syrian government has also strongly denounced Turkey’s incursion as a violation of its sovereignty.
Analysts say Turkey is using the fight against Daesh as a cover for its real mission, which is purging Syrian border areas of Kurdish militants.
Ankara regards the YPG and PYD as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.