Updated in: 16 January 2021 - 16:51
Turkish President:
TEHRAN (defapress)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that an operation in Syria's Afrin has de-facto started on the field, as Ankara has been threatening to launch an operation after the US announced its decision to start training a border protection force composed of Kurdish fighters.
News ID: 68183
Publish Date: 20January 2018 - 16:41

Operation in Syria's Afrin De-Facto Started on Field"The Afrin operation has de-facto been started on the ground," Erdogan said in a televised speech, adding that "this will be followed by Manbij", Daily Sabah reported.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey is determined to clear its borders of terrorists, and emphasizing that Turkey has no negative plans that would harm the territorial integrity and independence of Syria.

The Turkish leader said that the operation aims to secure Turkey's national security.

He also criticized the US decision to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria, adding that "Those who arm terrorists will soon understand that there is no reliable partner in the region besides Turkey."

"They can call themselves Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), border guards, or internal security organization. This terror organization's name is PKK, it is PYD, YPG. The group they cooperate with in Syria is this, which is among US, EU terrorism lists," Erdogan said.

Turkey has been mobilizing its forces and tanks to the North and West of Afrin. The area is controlled by the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization as well as being a branch of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Ankara has no option but to carry out a military op in the Syrian enclave of Afrin, Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli had said, adding that the operation has ‘de facto started’ with cross-border shelling.

The Damascus government made clear to Ankara that it considers Turkey’s military presence on its territory as a violation of its sovereignty, and warned that it will shoot down Turkish bombers in Syrian airspace.

The statement was made after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would intervene in Syria's Afrin and Manbij, citing the threat posed by the Kurdish militants to the integrity of the Syrian border. He has also outlined the country's position towards Syrian government forces in Idlib, adding that their advance should be stopped.

It also came as Ankara announced that Turkey is ready “at any moment” to start an operation in a besieged border area of Syria.

“The Turkish Armed Forces will resolve the Afrin and Manbij issue as soon as possible. Our preparations are finalized, an operation may start at any moment,” Tukey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an opening ceremony in the capital, Ankara on Monday.

Washington also continues providing Kurdish fighters with more military hardware in Syria despite US President Donald Trump's promise to his Turkish counterpart to halt arms shipment to the Kurdish fighters.

Ankara said late November 2017 that Trump told Erdogan that he had issued instructions that weapons should not be provided to Kurdish fighters in Syria.

According to reports, the US plans to keep its troops in Syria long after the defeat of ISIL. Washington has been justifying its deployment of ground troops in Syria, which violates the embattled nation’s sovereignty, by citing the need to fight ISIL.



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