Late on October 15, Turkish drones dropped leaflets over the Syrian town of Tell Rifaat in the northern countryside of Aleppo warning the locals of an upcoming military operation by the Turkish military and its proxies.
ألقى مسلـ.ـحو ما يسمى “الجيش الوطني التابع لتركيا في منطقتي غصن الزيتون ودرع الفرات في مناشير ورقية بإتجاه بلدة تل رفعت في ريف #حلب
— إدلب Online (@idleb_online) October 16, 2021
Tell Rifaat, which located right to the south of the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin, is held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and other Kurdish forces. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) maintains a large, heavily armed force in the town and its surroundings. A unite of the Russian Military Police is also deployed there.
“To the civilians in the town of Tell Rifaat … The town will be cleansed from the terrorism of the YPG and PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] … Please cooperate with our forces before it is too late,” the Turkish leaflets reads.
The leaflets were dropped a few hours only after Reuters released a report, in which Turkish officials revealed that the Turkish military and intelligence are preparing to launch an operation against Kurdish forces in Tell Rifaat and other Syrian areas.
Turkey will reportedly launch the operation if diplomatic efforts fail to force Kurdish forces to retreat 30 kilometers away from frontlines with Turkish forces in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss the matter with US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin this month.
The Turkish officials’ remarks to Reuters and the leaflets dropped over Tell Rifaat appear to be a part of a psychological warfare operation meant to intimidate Kurdish forces.
Any Turkish attack on Tell Rifaat will not likely be tolerated by Russian forces and the SAA. The Turkish military and its proxies could provoke a dangerous confrontation.