Erdogan Aide Vows Turkish Offensive in Syria ‘Shortly’, Urges YPG Fighters to Defect

Middle East

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed a military operation in northern Syria in the coming days, after Washington announced it would pull military assets out of the region.

Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said in a column published Tuesday by The Washington Post that Erdogan and US President Trump had agreed to “transfer the leadership of the counter-Daesh campaign” to Ankara, offering that Turkish forces “together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly”.

Altun gave a choice to Kurdish fighters remaining in the region who are thought to be at risk from Ankara’s attack. 

“It remains to be seen whether YPG militants will agree to the change in the campaign’s leadership. Indeed, they have two options: If they are genuinely interested in fighting Islamic State* [Daesh], they can defect without delay. Or they can listen to their commanders, who say that they will fight the Turkish forces — in which case we will have no choice but to stop them from disrupting our counter-Islamic State [Daesh] efforts”, Altun said, according to The Washington Post.

The Turkish president’s communications director did not specify a concrete timeframe for the promised invasion.

Turkey views the Kurdish forces as a threat to national security and has repeatedly threatened to launch an incursion into northern Syria as a means of forcing them out of the area.

In August,…

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