Erdogan vows Syria invasion, Kurds prep up for response

Erdogan

In the midst of ongoing border violence and repeated Turkish invasions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Wednesday to issue an order for a land invasion of northern Syria targeting Kurdish forces.

In retribution for the horrific attack in Istanbul on November 13 that Ankara attributes to the Kurdish organizations, Turkiye has recently unleashed a volley of airstrikes against suspected militant locations in northern Syria and Iraq. In addition to denying involvement in the explosion, the groups claim that Turkish airstrikes have killed civilians and jeopardized the campaign against the Daesh organization.

In an address to lawmakers of his ruling party on Wednesday, Erdogan said that while Ankara’s allies, particularly Russia, have worked to prevent a ground invasion, Turkiye is determined to “close down all of our southern borders… with a security strip that will prevent the possibility of attacks on our country.”

Since 2016, Turkiye has entered Syria on several occasions and has taken control of several areas of the country’s north. The regions of Tel Rifaat, Manbij, and Kobani, also known by its Arabic name Ayn Al Arab, would be the focus of the forthcoming military onslaught, according to Erdogan, which will take place “at the most suitable time for us.”

“The time is drawing near when those concrete tunnels the terrorists utilise for cover will turn into their graves.”

Read | Iraq will redeploy federal troops along its borders with Iran and Turkey

A ground invasion by Turkiye will be met with resistance, according to the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria.

Since Turkiye began a ground offensive in the region in 2019, the SDF has been preparing for another attack of this nature, according to SDF head Mazloum Abdi, and “we feel that we have reached a stage where we can foil any fresh onslaught.” There will be a huge war, and at least the Turks won’t be able to occupy more of our territory.

The battle would spread to all regions if Turkiye attacked any one of them, he said, hurting everyone. Following the airstrikes over the weekend, Turkish officials reported that suspected terrorist Kurds fired rockets into Turkiye on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring ten more. Abdi refuted claims that SDF strikes occurred within Turkish territory.

In order to stop an escalation in Syria, Turkey should “show a certain restraint,” according to Alexander Lavrentyev, the Russian presidential envoy there. He also expressed hope that “it will be possible to convince our Turkish colleagues to refrain from disproportionate use of force on Syrian soil.”

Mazloum urged Moscow and Damascus to take a stronger stance to stop a Turkish ground invasion, warning that such an action could harm efforts to combat a resurgence of Daesh. He also called on the US-led coalition fighting against the Daesh group in Syria, which is allied with local Kurdish fighters, to do the same.

“Because of our concern over the Turkish attacks, we can state that the international coalition’s efforts to combat Daesh have come to an end. The Turkish attacks have also had an impact on our coordination and collaboration with the Russians locally.”

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