Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed Turkey would not allow the creation of a Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria, saying there was no question of Turkish forces stopping their bombardment of Syrian Kurdish fighters.
"We will not allow a new Qandil on our southern border" with Syria, Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara, referring to the mountain in northern Iraq which for years has been stronghold of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.
"They (the West) tell use to stop shelling" the Kurdish fighters in Syria, Erdogan said after Turkey hit their positions for four days in a row. "Forgive me, but there is no question of us doing such a thing."
The comments echoed statements made three days earlier by the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu when speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Davutoglu said that the move by the Kurdish fighters to establish a stronghold in northern Syria was aimed at uprooting "hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians" from the border region and "creating a new humanitarian crisis" that would affect both Turkey and the European Union.
"This is aimed not just at Turkey but also the European Union," he said, warning of a "new wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees."
AFP contributed to this report.