Turkey’s president says he will carry out a land invasion into Kurdish areas of northern Syria.
Erdogan vows Syria ground invasion
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to order a land invasion of northern Syria targeting Kurdish groups, amid years-long border violence and repeated Turkish incursions.
Turkey has launched a barrage of air strikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq in recent days, in retaliation for a deadly November 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the Kurdish groups. The groups have denied involvement in the bombing.
Ankara’s allies, particularly Russia, have attempted to avert a ground incursion, but Erdogan said on Wednesday in a speech to his ruling party’s legislators in Ankara that the air operations are “just the beginning” and that Turkey is determined 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 series of incursions into Syria since 2016 and already controls parts of northern Syria. Erdogan said the new military offensive, planned to take place “at the most convenient time for us” would target the regions of Tel Rifaat, Manbij and Kobani, which is also known by its Arabic name Ayn Al Arab.