Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he has directed an imminent military operation against what he called terrorists in eastern Euphrates in northern Syria.
In his speech today during the regular meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan said preparations for the operation, which he said were close and could be today or tomorrow, were completed, adding that the operation would be carried out by land and air.
He said he had given all warnings to interlocutors about the eastern Euphrates (referring to the United States of America), describing joint ground and air patrols with Americans as mere words.
Asked what he calls allies, he said: "Tell us, do you consider the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a terrorist organization you cover up under the name of the SDF as a terrorist or not?"
Erdogan stressed that the aim of the possible operation is to establish peace in the east of the Euphrates, as well as to defeat the threat of terrorism from the southern border of the country, as he put it.
In return, Reuters quoted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as saying it would defend itself against any unjustified Turkish attack.
US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey warned earlier that "any unilateral operation will not lead to any improvement in security for anyone," as it may affect the course of the battles led by Kurdish forces against the Islamic State.
But Turkey's National Security Council meeting, chaired by Erdogan a few days ago, stressed in a statement that Turkey respects the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria, supports a political solution based on Syria's new constitution, and shares this with the international community at every opportunity.
It is noteworthy that Turkey and the United States agreed in August to establish a "joint operations center" to coordinate and manage the establishment of a "safe area" in northern Syria, and joint patrols between the two countries in the region.
Turkey is seeking to repatriate the 3.6 million Syrian refugees to a safe area, while Kurdish units fear that their return could constitute a demographic change that diminishes their chances of forming a Kurdish majority in the region.