The Turkish president told reporters that Ankara was committed to eliminating a Syrian Kurdish militia from northern Syria.
“As I always say, we will suddenly land on them one night. And we must,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on his plane after his visit to Azerbaijan on Saturday, according to the daily Hurriyat newspaper and other media. said in.
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Without giving a specific timeline, Erdogan said Turkey would launch a cross-border operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which it believes to be a terrorist group linked to an outlawed Kurdish group that has worked against Turkey since 1984. led the rebellion. Thousands have died in that clash with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK.
However, the YPG remains the backbone of US-led forces in the fight against the ISIS group. US support for the group has angered Ankara and remains a major issue in their relationship.
Turkey considers the PKK and YPG to be the same.
The YPG and its allied political party have controlled much of northeastern Syria since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces withdrew in 2012.
“All coalition forces led with the US have provided critical amounts of weapons, vehicles, equipment, ammunition to these terrorist groups and they continue to do so. America has given them thousands of trucks.
He warned that Turkey would not need anyone’s permission to fight terrorism.
“What will we do if America is not doing its duty in tackling terrorism? We will take care of ourselves,” he announced.
Acknowledging Turkey’s security concerns, US State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed concern about Turkey’s plans, saying a new offensive could undermine regional stability and put US forces at risk.
Ankara has launched four cross-border operations in Syria since 2016 and controls some areas in the north with the goal of warding off the YPG and establishing a 30-kilometre (19 mi) deep safe zone where Erdogan was “voluntarily” taken by Syrians. Refugees expected to return.
In 2019, an incursion into northeastern Syria against the YPG drew widespread international condemnation, prompting Finland, Sweden and others to restrict arms sales to Turkey. Now Turkey is blocking the two Nordic countries’ historic bid to join NATO because of their arms embargo and their alleged support for Kurdish groups.
Turkey has intensified military operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, where they are based. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union.
“The situation is even more applicable to Syria and much more important than what we are conducting in northern Iraq against the PKK and the descendants of the PKK,” Erdogan said.
Read more: US condemns, warns Turkey against planning military operation in Syria