Turkey Announces New Military Offensive in Northern Syria
Story Code : 995847
“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-km deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting, according to AP.
“The main target of these operations will be areas which are centers of attacks to our country and safe zones,” he added, as cited by Reuters. Operations will begin once Turkey’s military, intelligence and security forces complete their preparations, Erdogan said without elaborating further.
Ankara has sent troops into Syria thrice already, starting with ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ in 2016. The most recent incursion, 2019’s ‘Operation Peace Spring,’ was met with US sanctions and a war of words between Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron. Turkey currently controls portions of Syria’s Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah governorates, in addition to supporting militants in Idlib.
Last month, Turkey also sent troops into Iraq, targeting Kurdish militias in the northern regions of Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan in what it called Operation Claw-Lock. Baghdad condemned the operation as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, but has been unable to do anything about it.
Turkey has accused the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK], which Ankara has designated as a terrorist organization. Since 2015, the US has used YPG as the basis of Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], a proxy militia it armed and supplies to fight against Daesh [Arabic for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorists – and denies the liberated territory to the government in Damascus, which Washington seeks to overthrow.
Backed by as many as 2,000 US troops, the SDF currently holds the northeastern portion of Syria, including most of its oil wells and arable land.