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Turkey will march on no matter what anyone says: Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will not back down from its offensive against Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria irrespective of “what anyone says.”

Erdogan made the remarks during a speech at a business conference in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku on Monday.

He said the military operation would continue until “ultimate victory” was achieved.

“We are determined to continue the operation until the end, without paying attention to threats. We will absolutely finish the job we started. Our battle will continue until ultimate victory is achieved.”

Erdogan also blasted the European Union and the Arab League for their criticism of Turkey's operation and called for international funds for Ankara's “safe zone” plans in northeastern Syria.

Turkish military forces and militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), who enjoy Ankara’s patronage, launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria on October 9 in a declared attempt to eliminate Kurdish militants from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from border areas.

The YPG constitutes the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been involved in armed separatism in Turkey since 1984.

Washington has long been providing the YPG and SDF militants with arms, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in Syria. Many observers, however, see the support as part of plans by the United States to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.

Ankara denies Daesh prison break

Also on Monday, Turkey rejected reports that its military operation in northeastern Syria had allowed Daesh prisoners to break out of detention camps, accusing Kurdish militants of deliberately evacuating the Takfiri terrorists from a prison.

“There is only one Daesh prison in our (operation) region and we have seen it was emptied by the YPG,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, without naming the prison.

“There are pictures and films of it.”

Erdogan had earlier censured "disinformation" reports that Turkey's offensive had allowed Daesh terrorists to escape. “This is actually disinformation aimed at provoking America or the West,” he was quoted by the Hurriyet daily.

Kurdish authorities said Sunday that 800 family members of Daesh terrorists held in a camp in the town of Ain Issa in northeastern Syria had fled due to Turkish strikes.

Kurds accused of freeing Daesh inmates

Moreover, a senior Turkish government official accused Kurdish militants of deliberately releasing Daesh inmates held at a prison in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad.

“Turkish forces raided a prison in Tal Abyad earlier today, expecting to take custody of Daesh terrorists held there,” the official, whose name was not named, said. “Before they got there, (Kurdish) PKK/YPG terrorists set free the Daesh militants in an attempt to fuel chaos in the area.”

The official claimed that no doors had been broken in the prison.

UN: 160,000 civilians displaced

In a related development on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that the Turkish offensive has so far displaced at least 160,000 civilians, calling for an "immediate de-escalation."

Guterres said he was "gravely concerned over the military developments in northeast Syria," and urged "all parties to resolve their concerns through peaceful means."

Stressing that "civilians not taking part in hostilities must be protected at all times," the UN chief called for "sustained, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to civilians in need" to allow the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to carry out aid work.

Guterres also expressed "serious concern" that the Turkish aggression could lead to the "unintended release of individuals" associated with Daesh.

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