Turkey will launch a brand new operation towards US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria “within the subsequent few days”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.
The transfer, which he mentioned would deal with territory to the east of the Euphrates river, dangers confrontation with the US.
America’s help for the Kurdish YPG forces has strained relations with Turkey, which considers the YPG to be a part of a terrorist group.
Turkey has launched two offensives towards the Kurds in Syria since 2016.
The Kurdish Folks’s Safety Models (YPG) at the moment controls massive swathes of the north-east of Syria on Turkey’s southern border.
- Why the battle for northern Syria issues
- Who’re the Kurds?
What did President Erdogan say?
“We are going to begin the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a number of days,” Mr Erdogan mentioned on a televised speech on Wednesday, referring to territory held by the YPG.
He didn’t specify which areas could be focused, however it will be the primary time Turkish troops have moved east of the river.
“Our goal isn’t US troopers,” he added.
Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Employees’ Get together (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for 3 a long time.
Mr Erdogan desires to forestall the Kurds from consolidating their maintain on Syrian territory and forming an autonomous area on the border.
What is the context?
US troopers have been working carefully with Kurdish forces who type a part of an alliance – the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – within the battle towards the Islamic State (IS) group. Turkey has lengthy criticised this US coverage.
Tensions between the 2 sides have risen in current weeks. Turkey says it’s annoyed over what it sees as delays to a deal agreed with the US to clear a flashpoint metropolis within the north of Kurdish fighters.
The deal over Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates river, was agreed in February in a bid stabilise the area.
And on Tuesday, the Pentagon introduced it had erected remark posts within the northern border area aimed toward stopping clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters.
Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has known as on the US to scrap the transfer and finish its co-operation with the YPG.
In late October, Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria, forcing the SDF to briefly droop its operations towards IS.
- Why is there a conflict in Syria?
What has Turkey already accomplished in Syria?
Turkey has launched two main offensives lately in northern Syria. Each came about west of the Euphrates river.
The primary – dubbed Euphrates Protect – started in the summertime of 2016 and was an eight-month operation focusing on IS and Kurdish forces that led to March 2017.
Earlier this yr they launched a second army operation – Olive Department – towards Kurdish militia in Afrin province. It lasted two months and the town was finally cleared of the Kurds.
Nevertheless Turkish forces have till now prevented direct confrontation with Kurdish fighters and their US backers positioned on the east of the Euphrates river.
- How historic Afrin turned a prize price a conflict
- Actuality Examine: Turkey claims on Afrin assaults