On January 19, the Turksih Defense Minister once again announced that the country is going to launch a military operation in Syria’s border area of Afrin to “remove the terrorist presence” [Kurdish militias – YPG/YPJ/PKK] there.
“It will happen,” Nurettin Canikli said on news channel A Haber. However, he provided no details when the operation will be launched.
“All terrorist lines in northern Syria will be eradicated. There is no other way,” he said.
The minister dismissed remarks by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert saying the US wants Turkey to abstain from launching aa military operation in Afrin and called them “nonsense.”
On January 18, a Turkish military delegation led by Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization Undersecretary Hakan Fidan met in Moscow with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and other officials for talks on Syria.
On the same day, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington has no plans to create a 30,000-strong border force in northern Syria that caused serious concerns among the Turkish leadership. He claimed that the issue has been “misportrayed” and the US is not are “creating a border security force at all.” However, Tillerson’s statement contradicts to an official announcement made by the Pentagon just few days earlier.