Turkey to launch offensive in Kurdish-controlled area in northern Syria
Turkey will carry out a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, its third offensive to dislodge Kurdish militia fighters close to its border, Reuters reports.
Turkey had in the past warned of carrying out military operations east of the river, but put them on hold after agreeing with the United States to create a safe zone inside Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey that would be cleared of the Kurdish YPG militia.
But Ankara has accused Washington of stalling progress on setting up the safe zone and has demanded it sever its relations with the YPG. The group was Washington’s main ally on the ground in Syria during the battle against Islamic State, but Turkey sees it as a terrorist organization.
Erdogan said both Russia and the United States have been told of the planned operation, but did not say when it would begin. It would mark the third Turkish incursion into Syria in as many years.