Turkey is pivoting a ground operation to “exterminate the terrorists” in Ain al-Arab, Manbij and Tal Rifaat
Erdogan renewed his willingness to meet al-Assad “in due course” and urged Baghdad and Damascus “not to worry”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday that the ground operation against the Kurdish People’s Defense Units, the largest component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition, “will be carried out when the time is right”. And that Turkey is “more determined than ever to implement it”. He stressed that the military operations in northern Syria and northern Iraq “should not disturb the two countries because they are taking place within the framework of maintaining their unity”. He reiterated his willingness to meet the regime’s head, Bashar al-Assad, “in due course.”
Erdogan vowed to root out “terrorists” (fighters of the Kurdish forces) from Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Ain al-Arab (Kobani) areas in northern Syria, saying: “We will also attack the terrorists on the ground at this time, we think it is.” appropriate…the operations conducted by Turkey with warplanes, artillery and drones.” As part of Operation Claw-Sword (launched at dawn last Sunday), this is just the beginning.
He added in a speech during the meeting of the Justice and Development Party’s parliamentary bloc on Wednesday: “We committed to our commitments regarding the Syrian borders if the other parties cannot meet the requirements of the agreements (ref to the United States and Russia), then we have the right to manage our own affairs.” fail to fulfill their promises… Our message is clear to those who are still trying to subdue Turkey through malicious methods: you will not succeed.”
Forces of the pro-Ankara “Samarkand Brigade” in Afrin on Wednesday (AFP)
Turkey signed two memoranda of understanding with the United States and Russia in October 2019, after which it halted the “Peace Spring” military operation targeting the locations of the “Kurdish People’s Defense Units” in northeastern Syria.
Last May, Erdogan again threatened a new military operation against Kurdish forces’ positions in Manbij and Tal Rifaat, but it was not launched due to opposition from the United States, Russia, Iran and the European Union. After the terrorist bombing on Istiklal Street in Istanbul’s Taksim district on November 13, which Ankara blamed on the PKK and Kurdish forces, which it sees as an extension of it in Syria, Turkey rushed to complete the operation a week later Claw-Sword Air Force bombing carried out by Syrian Ahlam al-Bashir, who admitted her affiliation with the Kurdish forces. Erdogan stated that the operation “will not be limited to airstrikes to destroy the terrorists’ hideouts and dens on their heads”.
Addressing his party’s faction, Erdogan stressed that “those who caused the innocent bloodshed during the Istanbul terrorist attack will pay the price and be punished for their actions, and that Turkey has the ability and power to detect, arrest, terrorists and to punish engaged in attacks on the state and the people.”
He pointed out, “Terrorist organizations active in northern Syria have attacked Turkish territory with 764 rocket and artillery shells, and these attacks have killed 261 Turkish citizens since 2015.”
The Turkish President considered the West’s attempts to “separate” the Kurdish units and the “Democratic Union Party” from the “PKK” to be “futile” and said: “Changing the letters will not change the identity of the terrorist organizations. “ SDF are the Kurdish units that are the PKK. ».
Erdogan said: “We are determined to close our entire southern border from Hatay (on the Syrian border) to Hakkari (on the Iraqi border) with a security strip so that we do not allow anyone to attack Turkish countries and through the ones we have carried out Operations we have established part of this strip and will complete the rest.’ Starting with Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Ain al-Arab (Kobani) to form a secure area on our borders.’
He added: “The Syrian and Iraqi governments should not be alarmed by the areas Turkey has secured thanks to its counter-terrorism operations. On the contrary, the steps we are taking will also guarantee the security of the territories Iraq and Syria.”
At the same time, Erdogan renewed his willingness to meet the head of the Syrian regime, saying that “there is no permanent rivalry in the world of politics” and that the meeting with Assad, proposed by the head of the National Movement party, was a Ruling Justice and Development Party ally Dolt Bahceli “is possible because there isn’t. In politics there is permanent resentment or hostility… Steps in this regard will sooner or later be taken in the most appropriate circumstances.”
In the same context, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced the killing of 254 “terrorists” and the bombing of 471 locations of “PKK” and Kurdish units since the launch of “Operation Claw-Sword” in northern Syria and Iraq last dawn on Sunday.
Akar made a video call from the Turkish Land Forces Operations Center with the commanders of the border units on Syria and Iraq and, accompanied by the Army Chief of Staff Yasar Guler, received information from the field commanders about the latest developments and gave them some directions.
The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, on the other hand, reiterated his armed forces’ readiness to counter a “Turkish ground invasion” and said in an interview with the “Associated Press” on Wednesday: “We have been preparing since the start of a ground attack in the region in 2019 on the Turkish incursion.” … We believe we have reached a level where we can thwart any new attack, at least the Turks will not be able to do more of it occupy our territories and there will be a great battle. He added: “If Turkey attacks any region, the war will spread to all regions… and it will harm everyone.” Abdi believed that “the most likely target of a possible Turkish ground attack” against the areas controlled by his forces is the city Ain al-Arab (Kobani) as Ankara’s response to the attack on Istanbul that killed 6 and wounded 81 others. Abdi expressed his “disappointment at the weak response by Russia and the United States to dozens of Turkish airstrikes targeting areas controlled by his forces this week that killed 11 people,” according to the American website Al-Monitor. He believed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “added Turkey’s value in the eyes of Russia and the West alike”.
Unless Moscow and Washington stand firm, Abdi said, Turkey is likely to implement repeated threats to move its forces against its, as it did in two separate operations in 2018 and 2019. And torpedoes US-led efforts to uproot the remnants of the terrorist organization “ISIS.”
Abdi attributed Turkey’s recent attacks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to “stoke up nationalist sentiments ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections” mid-next year, as prolonged economic stagnation with runaway inflation and rising unemployment threatens Erdogan’s nearly two-year existence . Rule of Decades that says, “What better distraction than war?”
In connection with Erdogan’s speech in the Turkish parliament, a Turkish march was aimed at an “SDF” headquarters in a Russian base in northeastern Syria. Its spokesman, Farhad Shami, said the Turkish bombing “targeted a Russian base north of Tal Tamr in Al-Hasakah governorate, resulting in the death of one SDF member and the wounding of three others.”
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the bomb attack was aimed at an SDF office inside the Russian base. A Russian soldier was injured, which the Kurdish spokesman neither confirms nor denies. Russian forces have been present in some locations in Kurdish forces’ areas of influence in northeastern Syria since 2019 as they conduct patrols and act as a separating force with Turkish forces.
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