Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the third in a row military operation of the republic in the northern territories of Syria. According to him, the goal of Ankara is the destruction of the militants of the Islamic State (IS) *, as well as representatives of Kurdish associations of the Workers' Party of Kurdistan and the People’s Self-Defense Force, recognized by the Turkish side as terrorist.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, have just launched Operation Spring of Peace, directed against terrorists from the PKK / SNA and the Islamic State in northern Syria. The goal of our mission is to prevent the creation of a terrorist corridor across our southern border and bring peace to the region, ”Erdogan wrote on Twitter.
The head of state also spoke about the tasks facing the Turkish military and the Syrian forces supported by them.
“During Operation Spring of Peace, the terrorist threats facing Turkey will be neutralized, and a security zone will be created based on its results, which will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees home. We will maintain the territorial integrity of Syria and free local communities from terrorists, ”concluded the head of the Turkish Republic.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the destruction of terrorists east of the Euphrates River will make an important contribution to ensuring the integrity of the ATS. It also became known that the Turkish Foreign Ministry invited the ambassadors of countries - members of the UN Security Council to inform about the operation. In addition, a diplomatic note was sent to the Syrian consulate in Istanbul.
According to the Turkish portal A Haber, Turkish artillery fired at terrorist positions in the areas of Ras Al Ain and Tell Abyad. In response, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS) Arab-Kurdish formation set fire to several oil rigs, SANA reports. Earlier, SDS spokesman Mustafa Bali threatened Ankara with a “full-fledged war” in the event of a military operation.
At the same time, Erdogan personally informed about the “Spring of Peace” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As the Kremlin’s press service noted, in a telephone conversation initiated by the Turkish side, the heads of state discussed the upcoming military operation.
“Vladimir Putin called on Turkish partners to carefully weigh the situation so as not to harm the overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. At the same time, both sides noted the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, respect for its sovereignty, ”the report said.
According to Anadolu, the Turkish president also relayed information about upcoming hostilities to the chairmen of the main Turkish parties.
“Turkey’s operation could have a positive impact on Syria”
Turkey continues its struggle with Kurdish formations in the territories of neighboring states, said Director of the Institute of Contemporary State Development Dmitry Solonnikov.
“Erdogan is not saying that he should take control of part of Syria, he is talking about restoring order on its borders. Recently, the Kurds have largely ignored the process of intra-Syrian dialogue, they were cool about the attempts of the Constitutional Council to work, ”said the expert. - Feeling the hand of Washington, the Kurds tried to play in independence. Now Erdogan’s actions are forcing the Kurds to decide: are they on their own or are still part of a single Syria. In this regard, for the peace process in Syria, this operation can have a positive impact, ”RT said.
In turn, Nikita Danyuk, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts at RUDN University, emphasized that resolving the Kurdish issue is of great importance to Ankara.
“Obviously, Erdogan wants to cleanse the north of Syria from various Kurdish militias, so carrying out an operation in which they will try to strike the Kurdish infrastructure, logistics chains, and transport as efficiently as possible is a logical step. This is an important political aspect for Erdogan, ”he said in an interview with RT.
“Must not undermine achievements in the fight against IS”
The announcement of the start of a military operation by Turkey in northern Syria caused an mixed reaction in the world community. Thus, the UN Security Council called on all parties to the conflict to exercise maximum restraint and ensure the protection of civilians. In turn, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also expects that the measures undertaken by Ankara will be of a "proportional and balanced" nature.
“We must not undermine the achievements achieved in the fight against our common enemy - IS,” he added.
- A column of military equipment of Turkey near the border with Syria
- © Mehmet Ali Dag / Ihlas News Agency (IHA) via REUTERS
A similar point of view was expressed by the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. According to him, the resolution of the Syrian crisis is possible only through political dialogue.
“If Turkey’s goal is to create some kind of security zone, don’t expect the EU to pay for it,” the EC chairman stressed.
According to US President Donald Trump, Washington does not support the "invasion of Syria." The head of the White House considers it a bad idea to conduct Ankara’s military operation “Spring of Peace”.
“There are no American soldiers in this area. From the first day I appeared in the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to wage these endless, meaningless wars, especially those that do not benefit the United States, ”Trump added.
He also expects that Turkey will fulfill its obligations to protect civilians, religious minorities, prevent a humanitarian crisis and stop any attempts to recreate the “Islamic state” in one form or another.
At the same time, a joint statement by France, Great Britain and Germany with the condemnation of the Turkish military operation should appear in the near future. These countries intend to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council.
“France, Germany and the United Kingdom are finalizing a joint statement that will make it very clear that we strongly condemn the actions that are reported,” quoted Reuters as Secretary of State for European and Foreign Affairs of France Amelie de Monschalen.
In addition, Austria is predicting that a new wave of refugees will flood into Europe in connection with Operation Spring of Peace.
“This is a threatening situation for Europe. We are facing a new wave of refugees. The federal government must begin preparations for border protection, ”said Norbert Hofer, Chairman of the Austrian Freedom Party.
“Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIS) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by a decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.