Erdogan: Turkish Invasion of Syria Will End When ‘People Are Free’ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Erdogan: Turkish Invasion of Syria Will End When ‘People Are Free’

Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reverted to a years-old explanation for his military’s invasion of Syria on Tuesday, insisting that Turkish forces will be in the country “until the people are free.”

Throughout the past four years of Turkish military activity in Syria, Erdogan has gone back and forth between claiming that Turkish troops are in the country to fight terrorism and asserting that they are there to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad. Erdogan has also repeatedly called Assad a “terrorist,” making unclear if his insistence on fighting terrorism is limited to opposition to groups like the U.S.-allied Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, or to the complete overthrow of the current Syrian government.

Turkish forces in Syria have traditionally fought alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Sunni coalition against Assad, and its allies, which include several militias with ties to the jihadist organization al-Qaeda. Erdogan has faced multiple accusations for years of also supporting the Islamic State jihadist group, which the YPG joined forces with the United States to destroy in its “capital,” Raqqa.