Erdogan vows Syria floor invasion, Kurds put together response

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QAMISHLI, Syria — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Wednesday to order a land invasion of northern Syria focusing on Kurdish teams, amid yearslong border violence and repeated Turkish incursions.

Turkey has launched a barrage of airstrikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq in current days, in retaliation for a lethal Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the Kurdish teams. The teams have denied involvement within the bombing.

Ankara’s allies, significantly Russia, have tried to avert a floor incursion, however Erdogan mentioned Wednesday in a speech to his ruling get together’s legislators in Ankara that the air operations are “just the beginning” and that Turkey is decided to “close down all of our southern borders … with a security strip that will prevent the possibility of attacks on our country.”

Turkey has carried out a collection of incursions into Syria since 2016 and already controls components of northern Syria. Erdogan mentioned the brand new navy offensive, deliberate to happen “at the most convenient time for us” would goal the areas of Tel Rifaat, Manbij and Kobani, which can also be identified by its Arabic title Ayn Al Arab.

“The day is near when those concrete tunnels which the terrorists use for safety will become their graves,” he mentioned.

The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria, in the meantime, mentioned his group is ready to repel a floor invasion by Turkey.

SDF head Mazloum Abdi informed the The Related Press that his group has been making ready for one more such assault since Turkey launched a floor offensive within the space in 2019 and “we believe that we have reached a level where we can foil any new attack. At least the Turks will not be able to occupy more of our areas and there will be a great battle.”

He added, “If Turkey attacks any region, the war will spread to all regions … and everyone will be hurt by that.”

Following the weekend’s airstrikes, Turkish officers mentioned that suspected Kurdish militants fired rockets Monday throughout the Syrian border into Turkey, killing not less than two folks and wounding 10 others. Abdi denied that SDF had struck inside Turkish territory.

Russian presidential envoy in Syria Alexander Lavrentyev mentioned that Turkey ought to “show a certain restraint” with a purpose to forestall an escalation in Syria and expressed hope that “it will be possible to convince our Turkish partners to refrain from excessive use of force on Syrian territory.”

Mazloum known as on Moscow and Damascus, in addition to on the U.S.-led coalition preventing towards the Islamic State group in Syria, with which allied with Kurdish fighters within the space, to take a stronger stance to forestall a Turkish floor invasion, warning that such an motion might hurt makes an attempt to fight a resurgence of IS.

“We can say that our work against IS with the international coalition has stopped, because we are preoccupied with the Turkish attacks,” he mentioned. “Our coordination and work with the Russians on the ground has also been affected by the Turkish attacks.”

The Turkish airstrikes, which have killed quite a lot of Syrian military troopers working in the identical space because the SDF forces, have additionally threatened to upset a nascent rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara. The 2 have been on opposing sides in Syria’s civil warfare however in current months have launched low-level talks.

Related Press author Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Ghaith Alsayed in Idlib, Syria contributed to this report. Sewell reported from Beirut.

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