3,000 Daesh terrorists killed, terror-free zone to be created in Syria, Erdoğan says

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey will continue to take an active role in the global fight against terror and has killed over 3,000 Daesh terrorists in its operations conducted in northern Syria.

Speaking at International Peace Institute conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, Erdoğan said that Turkey will continue to welcome civilians fleeing conflict in the region and aims to create a terror-free zone of at least 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometers inside Syria.

“We plan to create a terror-free safe zone within 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometers inside Syria, the same way we have transferred 2,000 square kilometer area into a safe and secure region free of terrorists” Erdoğan said, adding that the Turkey-backed opposition fighters were working in this regard.

The terror-free zone will need to be a no-fly zone and a professionally trained and equipped national army will also be needed to be deployed to ensure the terror-free zone functions properly, Erdoğan said.

He noted that he had previously mentioned the idea of a terror-free zone to former U.S. President Barack Obama and has now also told President Donald Trump about it.

The president noted that the people of the region share a common destiny and what is happening today in Syria could happen to everyone.

He continued by saying that Turkey was forced to take action as it shares the longest border with Syria and received primary threats.

“With Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey was able to push back a part of Daesh and PYD terrorists and now we aim to clear al-Bab” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey will then head east and plans to create the terror-free zone if the coalition forces agree to take joint steps together. This will enable Arabs and Turkmens of the region displaced by conflict to return to their homes, Erdoğan said.

Once again, the president highlighted that Daesh has nothing to do with Islam and criticized those who try to associate all Muslims with the terrorist organization.

“Nobody should associate terrorism or radicalism with Islam as it does not permit radicalism” Erdoğan said.

The president also talked about Turkey’s contribution to the refugee crisis, saying that the country has spent over 25 billion dollars for around three million refugees, whereas the European Union has failed to fulfill its pledge and give three billion euros.

“They only gave 725 million dollars till now” Erdoğan said.