Turkey to send troops into Syria very soon: Erdogan

ISTANBUL: Turkey should not be tested further and is ready to send ground troops into northern Syria “very soon,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
While diplomacy was a priority as Ankara works with Washington to establish a “safe zone” in northern Syria, Erdogan said Turkey was fully prepared to act, if forced.
“We expect our ground troops to enter the region very soon,” Erdogan said of the area east of the Euphrates river, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Turkey and the United States agreed this month to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria, but few details have been provided about it.
Ankara has been pushing to control an area about 40 kilometres deep in northern Syria and remove US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces there.
“I hope no one will no longer try to test Turkey’s determination to clear its border with Syria of terrorists,” Erdogan said in the eastern province of Mus.
Armed drones and helicopters were already monitoring the region, Erdogan said a day before he is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the main military backer of the Syrian government.
The two spoke by phone last week after an attack on a Turkish military convoy in north-western Syria, with Erdogan telling Putin that Syria’s attacks in Idlib were a serious threat to national security. — dpa