Turkey to delay operation east of Euphrates, Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks come after US decision to withdraw troops from Syria

Turkey to delay operation east of Euphrates, Syria

Ankara will delay a possible counter-terrorism operation east of the Euphrates River, Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"The phone call we made with [U.S. President Donald] Trump, as well as the contacts of our diplomatic and security units, and the statements made by the American side led us to wait for a while [for an operation east of the Euphrates River].

"Of course this is not an open ended waiting process," Erdogan said at an award ceremony in Istanbul.

Erdogan's remarks came after Trump on Wednesday ordered U.S. forces to withdraw from Syria, saying Daesh had been defeated.

The president reiterated that Turkey has "no eyes" on Syria's territory, adding: "But, our position against terrorist attacks targeting us from Syria is clear."

A mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 -- Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.