The expected Turkish military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria may be expanded to other areas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on January 16.
“Turkey’s precautions against YPG/PKK cannot be limited to only Afrin. There is also Manbij and east of the Euphrates River,” Cavusoglu said following the meeting with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Vancouver, Canada
He also emphasized that the US plan to establish a 30,000-strong border guard force composed of US-backed, Kurdish-dominated forces in northwest Syria “irreversibly harms US-Turkey ties”.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) are the main concern of Ankara that describes them as terrorist organizations linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK is a militant separatist organization has a long history of combating the Ankara government. It actively operates in southern Turkey and northern Iraq. One of the PKK goals is to establsih an independent Kurdish state that will claim a part of the Turkish territory.
On January 14, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara will launch a military opeartion in Afrin controlled by the YPG “in the coming days” to secure the southern border of Turkey.