Turkey cannot afford to delay safe zone establishment in Syria: Erdogan

Turkey has no time to waste to set up a safe zone across the Turkey-Syria borders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

“We told those who kept delaying Turkey’s proposals to eliminate the terrorist organization and make Syrian territory safe for refugees that this game is up,” Erdogan spoke at the opening ceremony of the new legislative year of the Turkish parliament.

“We tried every method to resolve the problem next to our border in cooperation with our allies. We were more than patient and always expressed our determination,” Erdogan said.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve our goals in this way, particularly in the east of the Euphrates River. Turkey does not have a single day to waste in this matter,” he said.

He vowed to take unilateral military steps to set up a safe zone in the region.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and create a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home.

The deal also envisages the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters to the southern part of the region.

However, the retreat of the YPG has not started yet, frustrating Ankara on the safe zone talks with the U.S. which sees the Kurdish fighters as a partner in fighting terrorists in Syria.