Türkiye-backed Syrian opposition forces are preparing for a ground operation against PKK’s Syrian branch YPG in northern Syria.
As part of Operation Claw-Sword, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) continues to strike terrorist targets in northern Syria and Iraq with air and ground fire support elements.
Many points in northern Syria, especially Hassakeh, Qamishli, Tal Tamir and Tal Rifaat, came under fire. While the TSK continues its operation in the region, the Syrian National Army (SNA) is waiting for an operation order.
While the preparations for the new operation in northern Syria continue, the preparations of the SNA, which acted with the TSK in the previous operations, have been completed. While the soldiers of the SNA are watching the terrorists day and night on the Tal Rifaat and Manbij front lines, they are waiting for news from Türkiye about the operation.
If Manbij and Tal Rifaat are cleared of PKK/YPG terrorist groups, the regions occupied by the terrorist organization six years ago will be cleared of terrorism. Safe areas created in northern Syria will expand. The PKK/YPG terrorist organization will be wiped out from the west of the Euphrates.
Türkiye is more determined than ever to secure its Syrian border from attacks by PKK-linked YPG terrorists, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday, insisting that a ground operation would start “at the most convenient time.”
Türkiye’s air operation in northern Iraq and Syria to clear the regions of terrorists is “just the beginning,” Erdoğan said, adding that the country will launch a ground operation in Syria “when convenient.”
“Our operations with planes, cannons, and drones are only the beginning. Our determination to secure all our southern border … with a safe zone is stronger today than ever before,” Erdoğan said.
“While we press ahead with air raids uninterrupted, we will crack down on terrorists also by land at the most convenient time for us,” he said.
The president specified northern Syria’s YPG-controlled Tal Rifaat, Manbij, and Ain al-Arab (Kobani) regions as possible targets to clear of terrorists.
“We have formed part of this corridor (and) will take care of it starting with places such as Tal Rifaat, Manbij, and Ain al-Arab, which are the sources of trouble,” he underlined.
The PKK/YPG mostly carries out terrorist attacks in Manbij, Ain al-Arab, and the Tal Rifaat district of Aleppo. The terrorist group uses those areas as bases for its attacks.
Early Sunday, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing, the YPG, which have illegal hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil. The country’s air operation followed a PKK/YPG terrorist attack on Nov. 13 on Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Street that killed six people and left 81 injured.
After the air operation was launched, President Erdoğan also signaled a ground operation to northern Iraq and northern Syria to eliminate the terror threat, saying: “This is not limited to just an air operation.”
The Turkish leader has threatened a new military operation into northern Syria since May and upped those threats in the wake of this month’s attack. Erdoğan has repeatedly called for a 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) “safe zone” to protect Türkiye against cross-border attacks from Syrian territory.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Türkiye, and the European Union, and Washington’s support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara. The PKK/YPG has controlled much of northeastern Syria after the forces of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad withdrew in 2012. The U.S. primarily partnered with PKK/YPG terrorists in northeastern Syria in its fight against the Daesh terrorist group. On the other hand, Türkiye strongly opposed the PKK/YPG’s presence in northern Syria.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the PKK/YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns. Underlining that one cannot support one terrorist group to defeat another, Türkiye conducted its counterterrorism operations throughout, removing a significant number of terrorists from the region.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).