Erdogan says Turkey ready for new targets outside borders

ISTANBUL, April 2 (Xinhua) — Turkish troops are in preparation for moving against new targets outside the country’s borders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

The statement came one day after the president visited Turkish soldiers at an outpost in Turkey’s Hatay province bordering Syria.

“You can hear about new targets any time soon,” said Erdogan at an opening ceremony in Istanbul.

The Turkish leader had threatened to expand military operations against other Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria and northern Iraq after Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels took over the Afrin district in northwestern Syria last month following a two-month campaign.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch against Afrin on Jan. 20 in a move to clear its border region of Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is seen by Ankara as a terror group.

Terrorists could run away to Afrin and Sinjar in northern Iraq, but they could not hide from Turkish forces, said Erdogan.

He said Ankara had advised the Iraqi government to act against the militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Sinjar.

“If you can deal with them, deal with them, or we will come to Sinjar and we will do it,” he added.

Ankara regards the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which has been fighting against the Turkish state for more than three decades.

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