Turkey is ready to launch a cross-border military offensive on the Kurdish canton Afrin in northwestern Syria, controlled by the PKK-affiliated YPG militia. That is what the Turkish President’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.
In a live interview, Kalin said that Turkey will conduct an operation against the Kurdish YPG militia if it sees its national security threatened.
„We can intervene, if necessary, all preparations for a cross-border operation have been completed“, stressed the President’s spokesman.
While it is speculated that Ankara could find a way to an operation in Afrin through negotiations with Moscow and Tehran, YPG relies on the help of the USA.
Despite the changing Turkish alliances in Syria over the years, the Turkish government’s stance is constant in fighting the PKK-related Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm YPG at its southern border.
Afrin has long dominated the political agenda in Ankara. The Turkish government seems determined to push the YPG out of the strategically important city. The Turkish daily Sabah writes that Afrin could be handed over to Turkey, citing insider sources that are not mentioned by name. Ankara, however, would have to take concrete steps in other parts of Syria before the Kremlin and Tehran could act.
„If Turkey can convince the opposition to withdraw from some areas in the south, Iran and Russia could remain silent about the Turkish takeover of Afrin“, Sabah quotes.