No cease-fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces in Syria, Turkish EU Minister

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ANKARA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) — Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik on Wednesday denied reports of a cease-fire between Ankara and Kurdish groups in Syria, local media reported.

Celik was referring to reports that Turkey had reached a cease-fire agreement with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“The Republic of Turkey is an independent, lawful state,” Celik said. “It cannot be evaluated as if they (Turkey and PKK/PYD) were equal and there was an agreement between them.”

Celik said the PYD’s activities in northern Syria benefit terrorists rather than the Kurdish people.

YPG, a part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, has been a partner in the U.S.-led campaign against the IS in Syria.

Celik said some PYD fighters have not moved to the east side of Euphrates, as demanded by Turkey.

This is unacceptable, he said.

Also on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara will press on with its offensive in northern Syria until “all threats” are removed and the country’s national security is guaranteed.

Ankara has frequently voiced its concern over the YPG’s activities along the Turkish border and has been adment on preventing the emergence of any kind of de facto Kurdish state in northern Syria.

The Turkish government says the PYD has close connections with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), a group designated as terrorist by the United States, the European Union, and Turkey.

 

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