Turkey's Erdogan says to expand military operation in eastern Syria

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Speaking to parliamentary group of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the president said if the United States does not take action in east of the Euphrates River or the implementation is delayed, Turkey will take all necessary steps at the highest level against Kurdish militants in that area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 16, 2018. Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Turkey could take necessary operation against Kurdish militants' presence east of the Euphrates River in Syria. (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)

Earlier this year, Turkey carried out Operation Olive Branch to seize control of Syria's Afrin region from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The YPG also controls the Syrian region east of the Euphrates.

Erdogan's words came one day before the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Turkey, amid an ongoing investigation of the Khashoggi case in Istanbul.

Erdogan said that Turkey would take measures in the area "not only for the peace of our country but also for the people living in this region."

ANKARA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Turkey could take necessary operation against Kurdish militants' presence east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

Erdogan referred to an agreement with the U.S. that was brokered between the two foreign ministers on June 4, which stipulates the removal of People's Protection Units (YPG) militants from Manbij in a 90-day timeline.