Erdogan Threatens to Expand Operations Against Kurds in Northern Syria

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A Turkish n armored vehicles patrol as they conduct a joint ground patrol with American forces in the so-called "safe zone" on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, near the town of Tal Abyad, northeastern Syria, Friday, Oct.4, 2019. The patrols are part of a deal reached between Turkey and the United States to ease tensions between the allies over the presence of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters in the area. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expand military operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after a Turkish policeman was killed in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo governorate.

The development took place in wake of the killing and injury of several SDF members in a Turkish raid on the northern Aleppo countryside. The raid was the latest in the escalation between Turkey and the Ankara-backed Syrian National Army and the SDF the zones of influence held by the two sides in the northwest.

Erdogan said his country would not be satisfied with striking SDF positions in response to the group’s repeated attacks against residential areas and Turkish forces positions in the Aleppo countryside.

Commenting on the Claw-Lock military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Erdogan stated: “The more our forces tighten the screws on the terrorist organization (PKK) there, the organization will intensify its attacks on the areas that Turkey protects in Syria.”

He added, after a cabinet meeting in Ankara overnight on Monday, that the recent SDF attacks led to the killing of a Turkish policeman from the Special Operations Forces, stressing that Turkey “has the strength, will and firmness necessary to ensure its own security, and will not allow the establishment of a terrorist corridor on its southern borders.”

The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the launch of a large-scale military operation against the SDF in the Aleppo countryside in response to the killing of the policeman.

Turkish forces and their Syrian allies struck several villages in the north of Raqqa. One resident was killed in the Turkish attack on the village of Bandar Khan in the countryside of Tal Abyad.

Turkey has escalated its attacks against SDF positions since the beginning of April.

At the same time, Turkish forces continue to strengthen their positions in de-escalation zones in Syria’s Idlib by bringing in dozens of military and logistical vehicles and equipment to the area.

On Tuesday, a convoy of 40 armored vehicles and eight trucks loaded with supplies entered the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in Idlib.

Ankara, Idlib – Saeed Abdulrazek and Firas Karam


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