Erdogan repeats threat to attack northern Syria
Turkey will launch a new cross-border military operation into Syria if its national security is threatened by the Islamic State (IS), Kurdish militants and political turmoil in Syria and Iraq.

“We will take all necessary measures accordingly. We are ready,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday. “They should know that whatever we did during Operation Euphrates Shield, we are prepared to do the same again.

“Those who want to corner Turkey by using terror groups will be left alone with these ticking bombs.”

Turkish forces launched Operation Euphrates Shield in August 2016 in northern Syria. The operation ended in March.

Turkey considers the YPG, the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a terrorist group, and views both organizations as the Syrian branch of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The YPG’s partnership with the United States in fighting the IS is a fault line in the relationship between Ankara and Washington.

According to Arab News Erdogan also criticized the US government for supplying weapons to the YPG that ended up in the hands of the IS or PKK militants, and could be used against Turkey in the future.

Metin Gurcan, a former military officer and security analyst at the Istanbul Policy Center, said coordination with Russia was the key to any Turkish cross-border military operation. Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in June that Turkey and Russia may deploy troops to Idlib in Syria to monitor de-escalation zones and minimize possible clashes between the regime and opposition forces.

“In Afrin canton, especially in the Tel Rifaat area, the Russian military presence and build-up continues,” Gurcan said. “If the Russians opt for a military withdrawal there, the possibility of Turkish military incursion increases, but at the moment it is not the case.

Reporter’s code: 50101

News Code: 16899  |  Date: 2017/09/03  |  Time: 13 : 38

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