ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will have nothing left to do in the Syrian town of Manbij once “terrorist organisations” leave the area, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, hours after the Syrian army said it had entered the town.
Turkey has threatened an assault on Manbij to drive out the Kurdish YPG militia, which it regards as a terrorist group. Erdogan signalled on Friday that Turkey was not in a hurry to carry out the operation.
“In the current situation, we are still supporting the integrity of Syrian soil. These areas belong to Syria. Once the terrorist organisations leave the area, we will have nothing left to do there,” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Earlier on Friday, the Syrian army said it had entered Manbij for the first time in years, after the YPG urged Damascus to protect the town from the threat of Turkish attacks.
“It’s not just about Manbij, we are aiming to wipe out all terrorist organisations in the region. Our main target is that the YPG takes the necessary lesson here,” Erdogan said.
Editing by Gareth Jones and Dominic Evans