Turkey preparing for new military operations in northern Syria, says Erdogan

Turkey preparing for new military operations in northern Syria, says Erdogan

Turkey's President and leader of the Justice and Development AK Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech during his group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly TGNA in Ankara on May 18, 2022. ADEM ALTAN AFP ANKARA - Turkey is preparing for a new military operation in northern Syria to establish a 30 km deep safe zone along its southern border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

As soon as the Turkish armed forces complete its intelligence and security preparations, these operations will begin, Erdogan said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

He said that the operation will target areas in northern Syria where the Turkish military does not have control and are centers of attacks on our country and our safe zones.

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Turkey's forces and Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units members frequently exchange fire in the region, and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.

He said that the Turkish National Security Council will discuss the issue on Thursday.

Operation Euphrates Shield was launched in 2016 by the Turkish army, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria, a goal that will allow the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Turkey, the US, and the EU have called the PKK a terrorist organization. It has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.