On January 13, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish Army will launch a military operation against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the city of Afrin in the Syrian province of Aleppo, if they don’t withdraw, according to Reuters.
“If the terrorists [the SDF] in Afrin don’t surrender, we will tear them down,” Erdogan said during a meeting with member of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern city of Elazig on Saturday, according to the Iranian Press TV.
The Turkish president also warned the US-backed force in the city of Manbij, also located in the province of Aleppo, that the Turkish Army will crush them in “one week”, if they break the promises they had made to Turkey.
“In Manbij, if they [the SDF] break the promises, we will take the matter in our own hands until there are no terrorists [SDF fighters] left. They will see what we’ll do in about a week,” said Erdogan, according to Reuters.
Moreover, Erdogan praised the Turkish-led Euphrates Shield (ES) operation that was launched on August 24, 2016 and stressed that the current operation of the Turkish Army in the northern Idlib countryside is as much important for Turkey’s interests.
“With the Euphrates Shield operation we cut the terror corridor right in the middle. We hit them one night suddenly. With the İdlib operation, we are collapsing the western wing,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish Army entered the northeastern part of the Syrian Idlib governorate on October 12, 2017 after an agreement with Russia and Iran. Later, Turkish forces established a base and several positions west of the SDF positions in Afrin fully blocking the US-backed force from Idlib.
Erdogan has made similar threats against the SDF in Afrin city before. However, it appears that a diplomatic solution is the priority of Turkey as for now.