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Ankara continues its strikes in Syria, "determined" to secure its border

"Our determination to protect all our southern borders (.

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Ankara continues its strikes in Syria, "determined" to secure its border

"Our determination to protect all our southern borders (...) by a security zone is stronger today than ever," said the head of state.

Ankara launched Operation Sword Claw on Sunday, increasing air raids and artillery fire against positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG).

The Turkish government accuses these two movements - which have denied - of having sponsored the attack which killed six people and injured 81 on November 13 in Istanbul.

"Turkey has the means to go after and punish the terrorists involved in attacks against (it) inside and outside its borders", hammered Mr. Erdogan before the group his party AKP at the 'Assembly.

Until then, he warned, "we will continue our air operations without interruption and we will enter the territory of the terrorists when we see fit".

The Head of State specified his priority objectives, citing the Syrian localities of "Tal Rifat, Manbij, Ayn al-Arab [Kobané in Kurdish, editor's note]", in order to secure Turkey's southern border by establishing a zone of 30 km wide security.

The emblematic city of Kobané, a Kurdish stronghold of the YPG taken over in 2015 from the jihadists of the Islamic State group with Western support, was already targeted by Turkish artillery on Tuesday evening.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an independent NGO based in London, and Kurdish officials reported ongoing drone strikes on Wednesday on numerous points in the province of Hassaké (northern Syria), including a gas refinery and an oil pumping station.

- "punitive strikes" -

Turkish artillery also strikes around the Jerkin prison in Qamichli, which holds jihadist detainees from the Islamic State (IS) group, according to the two sources.

According to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the "punitive" strikes carried out by the Turkish air force and artillery have so far targeted "471 targets and 254 terrorists (have been) neutralized".

"The only target of the Turkish armed forces are the terrorists and the structures belonging to these terrorists", he assured. "We have no problem with any ethnic or religious group, or with our Kurdish or Arab brothers," insisted Mr. Akar.

Ankara, which has been threatening since May to attack the positions of the PKK and the YPG, has insistently reaffirmed since Monday its intention to continue its operations by land.

In addition, the Head of State reiterated Wednesday his accusations against the countries which gave them their support, designating without citing the United States.

"These powers which guaranteed us that there would be no threat from these regions under their control have not been able to keep their word", he denounced.

"Therefore, we have the right to manage our own affairs" in Syria, he concluded.

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