Erdogan said the imminent military operation is to “purge terror” from near its borders.
The Department of Defense issued a statement on Wednesday clarifying that the local security forces being trained in Syria are not a border force at all.
Turkish warplanes and artillery have hit 153 PYD/PKK and Daesh targets in Syria’s Afrin, so far, the Turkish General Staff said earlier on Sunday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that Turkey would start operations against the enclave of Afrin within days. “That is not what we’re doing”, he said.
He said Erdogan had threatened incursions inside Syria “once a week, every week” for the past year since the Euphrates Shield incursion Turkey launched in August 2016, which ended the following spring. The eight-month operation officially ended in March 2017.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also vowed to crush the new border force and drive USA troops from Syria, while Russian Federation charged that the plan showed the United States intends to partition Syria by allowing Kurdish forces to consolidate their hold on the approximately 25 percent of Syrian territory they now control after liberating it from IS. “Ankara now feels increasingly cornered”.
Syria warned Thursday that its air defense will shoot down any Turkish jets that carry out attacks within Syria, as tensions soar over apparent preparations by the Turkish military to invade a northern Syrian Kurdish enclave.
“We call on the global community.to take responsibility towards more than a million people living in Afrin”, the PYD said. Similar declarations have been made by more than one U.S. military source. The Turkish operation is aimed at driving a US-allied Kurdish militia from the region. It said however that the alliance did not have a presence on the ground in Syria and that the matter was an issue for the US -led anti-IS coalition, which includes dozens of countries. Turkey reacted angrily to the announcement. The Turkish artillery returned fire, the governor said. They will be followed by Turkish ground forces. The force is expected to be deployed along the borders of the SDF-held areas and Iraq and Turkey.
It’s a separate offensive from the Turkish-led military operation in a Kurdish-run enclave in neighboring Aleppo province.
Ghasemi called on Turkey to end this offensive operation immediately.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu backed the government statements, saying “The Turkish Republic is determined and capable of destroying all threats against its sovereignty”, on his Twitter account on the same day. “Otherwise, it could turn into a nightmare”, he says. But he thinks Moscow’s approval could have very serious consequences as well.
But he also underlined that if Moscow didn’t give a green light, it would mean that Turkey wants to take the initiative, without waiting for consent from Russian Federation, which would then be a show of determination and strength from Ankara to Moscow.
Cavusoglu said Turkey wasn’t satisfied with the USA explanations, while adding that it has no interest in colliding with the US over the operation.