Friday, December 9, 2022

Erdogan vows Syria ground invasion, Kurds prepare response


QAMISHLI, Syria — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Wednesday to order a land invasion of northern Syria focusing on Kurdish teams, amid yearslong border violence and repeated Turkish incursions.

Turkey has launched a barrage of airstrikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq in latest days, in retaliation for a lethal Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the Kurdish teams. The teams have denied involvement within the bombing.

Ankara’s allies, notably Russia, have tried to avert a ground incursion, however Erdogan stated Wednesday in a speech to his ruling social gathering’s legislators in Ankara that the air operations are “just the start” and that Turkey is set to “shut down all of our southern borders … with a safety strip that can stop the potential of assaults on our nation.”

Turkey has carried out a sequence of incursions into Syria since 2016 and already controls components of northern Syria. Erdogan stated the brand new navy offensive, deliberate to happen “on the most handy time for us” would goal the areas of Tel Rifaat, Manbij and Kobani, which can also be recognized by its Arabic title Ayn Al Arab.

“The day is close to when these concrete tunnels which the terrorists use for security will change into their graves,” he stated.

The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria, in the meantime, stated his group is ready to repel a ground invasion by Turkey.

SDF head Mazloum Abdi instructed the The Related Press that his group has been making ready for one more such assault since Turkey launched a ground offensive within the space in 2019 and “we imagine that we now have reached a degree the place we will foil any new assault. A minimum of the Turks won’t be able to occupy extra of our areas and there shall be a terrific battle.”

He added, “If Turkey assaults any area, the conflict will unfold to all areas … and everybody shall be harm by that.”

Following the weekend’s airstrikes, Turkish officers stated that suspected Kurdish militants fired rockets Monday throughout the Syrian border into Turkey, killing not less than two folks and wounding 10 others. Abdi denied that SDF had struck inside Turkish territory.

Russian presidential envoy in Syria Alexander Lavrentyev stated that Turkey ought to “present a sure restraint” with a purpose to stop an escalation in Syria and expressed hope that “will probably be potential to persuade our Turkish companions to chorus from extreme use of drive on Syrian territory.”

Mazloum referred to as on Moscow and Damascus, in addition to on the U.S.-led coalition combating towards the Islamic State group in Syria, with which allied with Kurdish fighters within the space, to take a stronger stance to stop a Turkish ground invasion, warning that such an motion might hurt makes an attempt to fight a resurgence of IS.

“We are able to say that our work towards IS with the worldwide coalition has stopped, as a result of we’re preoccupied with the Turkish assaults,” he stated. “Our coordination and work with the Russians on the ground has additionally been affected by the Turkish assaults.”

The Turkish airstrikes, which have killed quite a lot of Syrian military troopers working in the identical space because the SDF forces, have additionally threatened to upset a nascent rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara. The 2 have been on opposing sides in Syria’s civil conflict however in latest months have launched low-level talks.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Analysis Program on the Washington Institute for Close to East Coverage stated that the occasions unfolding “will most likely culminate in a Turkish incursion into Syria,” however maybe not instantly.

“I believe Ankara is aligning the 2 stars required for an incursion into Syria, the celebrities being the American star and the Russian star,” Cagaptay stated, noting that Washington and its allies want Turkey’s help to present NATO membership to Finland and Sweden, whereas Russia is angling for a deal between Ankara and Damascus that might “wrap up the conflict” in Syria.

Related Press author Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Ghaith Alsayed in Idlib, Syria contributed to this report. Sewell reported from Beirut.

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