President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 14 that clearing off terrorism will continue in the coming days with an operation into Syria’s Afrin, as Turkish military hit the People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in norther Syria.
“Keep watching us. Any slightest harassment on our borders will be seen as a signal flare of the steps to be taken,” Erdoğan said during a speech at a provincial congress meeting of the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) in the Central Anatolian province of Tokat.
“Turkey will continue the operation to clear our southern border from terror with Afrin,” he said.
Turkey is determined to fight against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists across its borders, as well as inside the country, the president said.
Erdoğan reiterated his famous saying “We can come overnight all of a sudden.”
The president once again slammed the U.S. for supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) whose main components are YPG fighters that Ankara sees the YPG as the offshoot of the PKK in Syria.
“Do you fool us”, he said calling to the “west” for not cooperation with the terrorist organizations in a bid to fight another terrorist organization. He warned “western countries” that they should know such attitude is harming bilateral relations.
“Despite everything, we believe we have in common interests with America in the region, we hope to act together. Because it’s time to help Turkey, time to qualify strategic cooperation,” he noted.
Ankara expects “its friends to support Turkey’s legitimate efforts” and be in a position that “suits them in such a sensitive, critical issue” the president said referring to the Turkish government’s struggle against the PKK and its affiliations.
Erdoğan asked its allies, not directly naming the U.S., of not siding the YPG for Turkey’s possible military operation into Afrin.
“I hope these forces will not make a mistake of appearing on the same stage with the terrorist organization during the Afrin operation,” he said.
Turkish military convoy dispatched to Syrian border
A Turkish military convoy including tanks has been dispatched to the Syrian border in Turkey’s southern Hatay province, a security source said on Jan. 13.
Video footage shows a group of five tanks loaded on trucks and driven on an unpaved road. A military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said the tanks were sent as reinforcements to the Turkish border units.
Early on Jan. 14, a source in the region said the Turkish military hit several People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets in the Afrin district of Syria’s Aleppo province to prevent a “terror corridor” from forming along Turkey’s borders.
The Turkish army fired at least 40 times during the artillery bombardment in Afrin’s five regions including Bosoufane, Jindires and Rajo.
The Turkish artillery units hit the YPG forces from the border province of Hatay.
The military operation follows President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG and affiliated to the PKK , in Afrin to surrender.
Erdoğan said on Jan. 13 that any venture in the region “has no chance of success” if Turkey has no consent in it, referring to the PYD’s efforts to settle in Syria’s northern regions along the Turkish border.
Turkey will interfere “if the terrorists in Afrin do not surrender,” Erdoğan also said, adding that Turkish forces “are destroying the western wing of this corridor with the Idlib operation.”
On Jan. 13, Turkish artillery units based in Hatay and Syria’s Idlib province hit YPG targets in Afrin’s Bosoufane, Cindirese, Deir Bellout and Rajo districts.