Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns that Ankara could strike the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside Syria. He accused Syria of giving Kurdish rebels a free hand in its north.
"Right now, the Assad regime is stuck in Damascus and also in the Latakia region. He gave the five northern provinces to the Kurds and their terrorist organization," said during a TV interview.
"They are now trying to create a situation consistent with their interests by displaying portraits of the leader of the separatist terrorist organization," he said, referring to the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), fighting against Ankara since 1984.
Asked about the possibility of Turkey conducting hot pursuit against insurgents across the Syrian border following possible acts by the latter in Turkish territory, Erdogan replied: "That's not even a matter of discussion, it is a given. That is the objective, that is what must be done.
"Besides this is part of changes to our rules of engagement by the Turkish army" towards Syria, he added. Turkey said it had changed the rules after the shooting down on June 22 of one of its fighter planes by Syrian air defense units.
"This is what we have done and continue to do in Iraq. If we launch from time to time air strikes against terrorist posts it's within our defense needs," he said.
Erdogan said Ankara saw the opening of the PKK branch office in Syria, near the Turkish border as an act "directed against" Turkey. "There will be a response from us to this attitude," he said.
Meanwhile, AFP news on Wednesday according to Turkey-based Kurdish commander that Free Syrian army fighters are ready to fight against separatists of the Kurdish Labor Party on Syrian territory in exchange for arms from Turkey.
Also on Wednesday the Hurriyet daily news reported that Turkish forces killed at least 15 PKK members in a clash near the border with Iraq.
In a related development, Turkey's army has moved another five anti-aircraft missile batteries to its border with Syria, the Hurriyet daily reported.
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