Turkey is ready to launch a military operation in northeastern Syria to fight “terrorists” and bring “peace” to the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 5.
The Turkish President made his remarks at the 29th Consultation and Assessment meeting of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, which was held in the town of Kizilcahaman near the country’s capital Ankara.
“We have completed our preparations and action plan; the necessary instructions were given … It is maybe today or tomorrow the time to clear the way for [our] peace efforts which is set and the process for them was started. We will carry out a ground and air operation … Our aim is, I underline it, to shower east of Euphrates with peace,” the Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying.
The northeastern region of Syria is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led group supported by the US.
Last August, Turkey and the US reached an agreement to establish what was called a “peace corridor” in northeastern Syria. Under the agreement, Turkish and US forces conducted land and air patrols in the region.
These very limited measures were criticized by Erdogan, who was not apparently satisfied with the agreement.
“We have been patient enough. Land patrols, air patrols [carried out with the U.S. for safe zone], we see that all were a tale,” the Turkish president said.
Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the SDF, responded to Erdogan’s threats warning Ankara from launching any military operation in northeastern Syria.
“SDF is committed to the security mechanism framework and has been taking necessary steps to preserve stability in the region. However, we will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people,” Bali wrote on Twitter.
The Turkish President has been threatening to launch a military operation in northeastern Syria for more than a year now. However, the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies are yet to take any action, likely due to the presence of hundreds of U.S. troops in the region.
By launching such threats, Erdogan is likely attempting to pressure the US and its Kurdish allies in order to gain leverage in any new agreement on northeastern Syria.