On Sunday, media reported, citing an anonymous US defense official, that all Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members, outlawed in Turkey, had moved east of the river.
“No, they [YPG] have not retreated [from areas bordering Turkey]. We base this on our own data. We do not believe the US claims that the terrorists have moved to the east of Euphrates,” Erdogan said at a press conference at the Ankara airport ahead of his departure to China to take part in the Group of Twenty (G20) summit.
On August 24, Ankara announced that Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, had begun a military operation dubbed Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian town of Jarablus and surrounding area of the Daesh jihadist group, outlawed in Russia. Syrian Kurds and Damascus have accused Ankara of violating the territorial integrity of the country.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Syrian Kurdish militia would become a target for Turkish forces carrying out a military operation in northern Syria unless they move east of the Euphrates.