Erdogan vows to rid Turkey, Syria of Kurdish militants

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Sunday to rid Turkey of the "pest" that is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and threatened the armed group's Syrian branch with the same fate.

In an online message to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, Erdogan said the Turkish military would continue its offensive against the PKK, with whom it has fought a long-running conflict in Turkey's south-east, and against its allied People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The YPG has been a key ally of the United States in its fight against the Islamic State extremist militia in Syria.

The Turkish army backed by affiliated rebels marched into Syria on August 24 and retook the Syrian border town of Jarabulus from Islamic State.

It then turned its focus to the YPG in a bid to prevent the group from advancing westward to form a Kurdish entity with the PKK that would span most of Turkey's southern border.

Speaking of Turkey's anti-Islamic State offensive, Erdogan said: "It is our responsibility to this nation to bring the organization known as Daesh to an end in Syria, as well as ensuring that they can no longer carry out attacks in our country."

The Islamic State group has been blamed for a number of suicide attacks in Turkey, including blasts targeting Kurdish gatherings.

Last update: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 15:08

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