Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to allow any ISIL militants to escape northern Syria, in an editorial published Tuesday, following fears from Western nations over its offensive in the region.
“We will ensure that no ISIS fighters leave northeastern Syria,” Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal, using another acronym referring to ISIL.
But he added that Western countries were hypocritical to worry that Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants risked a mass escape of militants.
“The same countries that lecture Turkey on the virtues of combating ISIS today, failed to stem the influx of foreign terrorist fighters in 2014 and 2015,” Erdogan wrote.
The United States slapped sanctions on Turkey Monday as it demanded an end to the military operation, accusing its NATO partner of putting civilians at risk and allowing the release of extremists.
Kurdish authorities say the Turkish assault makes it difficult to maintain security at their detention centers.
They say 800 ISIL family members escaped a camp at Ain Issa on Sunday, and five militants broke out of another prison on Friday.
Turkey accuses Kurdish forces of deliberately setting free detainees “to fuel chaos in the area”.
Ankara has vowed to take control of all detention centers in its operational area.
“We are prepared to cooperate with source countries and international organizations on the rehabilitation of foreign terrorist fighters’ spouses and children,” Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal editorial.