Spokesperson Kalın: Turkish ground op into Syria anytime - M5 Dergi
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Spokesperson Kalın: Turkish ground op into Syria anytime

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A land operation into Syria may happen tomorrow, next week, anytime, İbrahim Kalın, spokesperson of the Turkish Presidency has said.

In an interview with a Turkish TV station Kalın said, “This operation can be conducted anytime.”

Highlighting that there is a serious preparation process on this, Kalın stated, “This is a preparation for neutralization of selected targets.”

Turkish military began massive air operations against the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, YPG, in northern Syria following a bomb attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on Nov. 13, killing six people and, injuring 81.

On Nov. 23, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled that the air strikes are only the beginning and a land operation will be launched on towns on the west of the Euphrates river.

“Due to the 2019 agreement, these [YPG units] should be some 30 kilometers away from the [Turkish] border,” Kalın said and went to say: “When this [deal] was disobeyed, we intervened and held all operations within this.”

Saying that Türkiye is in talks with the U.S. and Russia, Kalın added: “They confirm our position, too.” According to Kalın, Türkiye repeated its message [in these talks about YPG], saying, “Stay at some 30 kilometers from the border. Do not try to penetrate into Turkish soil. If you do so, we will immediately respond.”

Local reports indicated that the U.S. and Russia intervened in the situation by “contacting local YPG forces to withdraw and obey the “30-kilometers” deal.

On Nov. 28, the Associated Press reported that the chief of Russian forces in Syria, Lt. Gen. Alexander Chaiko, met with Mazloum Abdi from the “YPG-led” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and warned him about the Turkish ground operation.

A day later, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder highlighted that the U.S. forces in northern Syria have reduced the number of joint patrols with the SDF.

“We have reduced the number of patrols because… we do these partnering with the SDF, and so they have reduced the number of patrols that they’re doing,” he said.

Noting that a Turkish ground operation would “severely jeopardize” gains made in the war against ISIL, Ryder stated, “We remain concerned about a potential Turkish ground operation in Syria, and again would urge restraint.

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