UPDATE WITH NEW REMARKS; CHANGES DECK, LEDE
By Burak Bir
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Monday that Turkey does not have designs on any country's territory referring to a possible operation in northern Syria.
"As part of Syria's territorial integrity, the safe zone plan has two purposes, to secure our borders by eliminating terror elements and to ensure the safe return of refugees," Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.
Turkey is strong and determined, he added.
"Turkey supports Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity. It has no interest in occupation or changing demographics. The PKK/YPG did that in northeast Syria. Time to correct it. Turkey fights against a terrorist organization that has also killed and oppressed the Kurds," Kalin said.
Also speaking about the fight against Daesh, he said Turkey would not allow the terror group to return in any shape or form.
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter early Monday that Turkey's fight against terrorism continues both within and outside the country's borders.
The main element of this struggle is the strategy of eradicating terror completely at its source and Turkey's fight would continue until peace is fully established, he added.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.