Syria Resumes Military Operation Against Terrorists in Idlib - Armed Forces

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that his country will carry out a military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish militia that it views as a "grave security threat". The USA welcomes the ceasefire agreement in Syria's Idlib signed between the Syrian government and opposition, the US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement published on Saturday.

According to Turkey, Turkish soldiers have come under fire from YPG forces, which Ankara has called a "terrorist offshoot" of the Kurdish movement within Turkey that has been fighting for independence since 1984.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said if the planned safe zone is not established and threats to Turkey continue, an operation will be launched east of the Euphrates River to oust the YPG from the region.

USA officials, according to the Washington Post, are expected to deliver a draft plan that includes a nine mile-deep (14km) and 87 mile-long "safe zone" stretching from the Euphrates River to Iraq, which would be free of YPG elements. Turkish officials say United States forces have failed to honour the Manbij roadmap signed previous year by failing to extract the YPG from the area.

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The council added that Ankara "is trying to deceive the public" and to get the USA and other parties to "participate in the crimes that Turkey is committing against humanity". It said the YPG tried to infiltrate the front lines in Syria's al-Bab area, where Turkey carved out a de facto buffer zone in its 2016 "Euphrates Shield" offensive.

Sources close to the Turkish government expect Ankara to refuse the latest United States proposal if it doesn't adhere to certain red lines, such as the depth and levels of control.

These differences mean an agreement is unlikely to be reached today, raising the possibility that Ankara will establish a buffer zone unilaterally.

Reports by local media indicate that Turkish military and commando units have been sent to border towns on the Syrian border over the past couple of weeks.

  • Sonia Alvarado