Ankara is ready to carry out another military operation in Syria if necessary, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the TGRT TV channel on Monday.
"We are determined to carry out an operation east of the Euphrates River if efforts to set up a security zone in Syria fail and we continue to face various threats," TASS quoted him as saying.
At the same time, Cavusoglu was hopeful that progress in the establishment of a security zone in northern Syria would be achieved during talks with a US delegation that had arrived to Turkey. The delegation is led by US Special Representative on Syria James Jeffrey.
The Turkish top diplomat also pointed out that Washington "still hasn’t taken certain steps under a roadmap on Syria’s Manbij."
In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following talks with his US counterpart Donald Trump that a security zone was to be created in northern Syria. According to Erdogan, Ankara was ready to ensure security on the ground, while the US would be responsible for the airspace. Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said later that if a buffer zone was set up, Turkey would have control of it.
Discussions about setting up a buffer zone in Syria began back in 2013. At the time, the possibility of declaring a no fly zone was under consideration, as well as plans to set up a security zone where refugees could take shelter. Ankara keeps bringing the matter up but each time these plans fail to get implemented for various reasons.