As US withdraws from northeast Syria, Turkey says will not allow IS to return – World

Turkey will not allow the Islamic State (EI) militant group to return, a presidential spokesman said on Monday, amid fears that his threat of offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria could reinforce the militants.

"Turkey will also continue to fight Daesh (IS) and will not allow it to return in any way," Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

US forces have withdrawn from positions along the border between Turkey and Syria after the White House said Sunday it would not hamper a Turkish operation against Kurdish militants in Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the Kurds said the US withdrawal threatened to create a security vacuum that "reverses the successful effort to defeat ISIS."

Ankara says his planned "safe zone" in northern Syria could allow the return of up to two million Syrian refugees.

The safe zone "will serve two purposes: to secure Turkey's borders by eliminating terrorist elements and allowing refugees to return to their homes," Kalin said.

He said Turkey "had no interest in occupation or demographic change."

There are more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, the highest number in the world, which has become a growing source of tension in the country.


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