Turkey had established a central military command for the areas occupied by its military in northern and northeastern Syria, Yeni Şafak reported on August 8.
According to the Turkish newspaper, the new command, that’s called the Military Command for Operation Peace Shield (MC-OPS), will coordinate Turkish military operations in the occupied Syrian areas.
“The central command will be responsible for the areas, which were captured by the Turkish army and Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions during their battles against the Islamic State [ISIS] and the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF],” Yeni Şafak’s report reads, according to Enab Baladi.
The MC-OPS will control four Syrian regions, the Euphrates Shield region in northern Aleppo, the Olive Branch region in Afrin, the Peace Spring region in al-Hasakah and Raqqa as well as the Spring Shield region in Greater Idlib.
Maj. Gen. Hakan Öztekin was reportedly appointed as the commander of MC-OPS by the Turkish Supreme Military Council, YAŞ.
Yeni Şafak said the MC-OPS would be reinforced with units from the Turkish Armed Forces’ Special Forces Command, which are known as the “Maroon Berets.”
Turkey intervened in Syria in 2016 under the pretext of war with ISIS. Later, the alleged threat of Kurdish forces was used by Ankara to justify its actions in Syria. Today, tens of thousands of Turkish troops are deployed in northern and northeastern Syria.
In its public statements, Turkey claims that its forces will withdraw from Syria once a political solution is reached. However, the establishment of the MC-OPS indicates that Ankara is planning a lasting military presence in the war-torn country.