Free Syrian Army can help fight Daesh: Defense minister

Contrary to what the United States thinks, the Free Syrian Army is a factor in the fight against Daesh, and Turkey will never let the terrorist PKK/PYD carve out territory in Syria, said Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. claimed that there is no actor besides the PYD in the fight against Daesh, but we saw in Operation Euphrates Shield that the Free Syrian Army can also defend its land and rid the region of Daesh when it gets the necessary support," Isik said in the southern province of Kilis, visiting Turkish troops stationed near the Syrian border.

"We say to the U.S., to our allies, at every opportunity that Turkey will never let the PYD change the demographic makeup of Syria," he added. "The U.S. needs to be careful and aware in that sense. We will never let the PKK/PYD build a territorial area here [Syria]."

Five years of civil war in Syria have killed hundreds of thousands of victims and left the country in ruins.

To date, Turkish-backed opposition groups have rid nearly 900 square kilometers in Syria of Daesh and PKK/PYD elements, or one-fifth of the desired safe zone.

Source: Anadolu Agency