Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday (August 6th) that operations launched by Ankara against Syrian Kurdish YPG militia would enter a "new phase very soon". And to recall that his country had already launched two offensives in the north of Syria since 2016.
"If we do not do what is necessary today, we will be forced to do it tomorrow by paying a higher price," he added during a conference broadcast on television. These statements come as Turkey has been threatening for several days to launch a new offensive against the Kurdish militia of the People's Protection Units (YPG).
"Drying up the swamp of terrorism in northern Syria is our main priority," insisted Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "As long as [YPG-controlled areas] have not disappeared, Turkey will not feel safe," he added.
Opposition of the United States
However, the United States and other Western countries, such as France, support YPGs in their fight against the Islamic State Organization (IEO).
Shortly before the Turkish President's speech, Pentagon chief Mark Esper warned that a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria would be "unacceptable". "We will prevent these unilateral incursions that threaten the mutual interests shared by the United States, Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria," he added.
For its part, Ankara renewed Monday its call to the United States to stop supporting the YPG militia, considered a "terrorist group" and a threat to its national security.
A "security zone"
Turkey has been threatening for several months to launch an operation against YPG positions east of the Euphrates. In January, when such an offensive appeared imminent, Washington had proposed to Ankara to create a "security zone" separating the Turkish border from YPG positions in Syria. But while negotiations stumble on key parameters of such a zone, especially on its width, Ankara multiplies the signs of impatience.
For the Syrian Kurds, the risk of a Turkish offensive is very real. Ankara will attack Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria "at the earliest opportunity," a senior Syrian Kurdish official, Aldar Khalil, told AFP in an interview on Monday. "If we do not deter Turkey and if there is no consensus for an international decision to prevent it, it will certainly be in offensive mode," he added.
US and Turkish officials negotiated on Tuesday, August 6, in Ankara, the day after talks that, according to the Turkish press, were unsuccessful from the Turkish point of view.
With AFP and Reuters