ERDOGAN VOWS TO EXPAND TURKISH MILITARY OPS IN SYRIA DESPITE US WARNINGS

Defying warnings from Washington, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has that Turkish troops would expand cross-border military operations from Syria's Afrin to Manbij.

"They (the US) tell us don't come to Manbij, but we will come to Manbij to hand over the land to its original Arabic owners," Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling Justice and Development Party's parliamentary group here Tuesday.

Erdogan blasted the US for its military presence in Manbij with fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara sees as a terrorist group affiliated with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast.

Erdogan also criticized US President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, for lying when pledging to pull the US troops out of Manbij, which is 100 kilometres east of Afrin.

"They said they will not stay in Manbij ... why don't you just go?" he asked.

Erdogan added that Turkey would launch an international initiative against the US for arming the PYD and PKK.

Turkish troops launched "Operation Olive Branch" on Jan 20 in a bid to remove the YPG militia from Syria's northwestern region of Afrin.

The US, which has co-operated with the YPG in fighting the terrorist group Islamic State (Daesh) in the past years, has urged Ankara to limit its military operations in Syria, while warning about the risk of a possible conflict with the US troops based in Manbij if Turkish troops move on to capture the city.

Source: NAM News Network