Ankara, Nov 22 (EFE).- Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday signaled his country would be prepared to launch ground operations against armed Kurdish groups in northern Syria and Iraq.
Turkish armed forces have been conducting air and artillery strikes across the southern border since the weekend in an offensive against the YPG Kurdish group in northern Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Turkish-based Kurdish guerilla group with a presence in northern Iraq.
Turkey views the PKK and YPG as one and the same, although the YPG was the United States’ principal ground ally in the fight against the Islamic State in the region.
“For days we have been attacking the terrorists with our planes (…) Know that, as soon as is possible, we will eradicate all of them with our tanks and soldiers and our friends who will march alongside us,” Erdogan told reporters during a ceremony to inaugurate a dam in northeast Turkey.
Erdogan’s government, which has previously launched military incursions into northern Syria, has blamed Kurdish terrorists of carrying out the November 13 bombing in central Istanbul, which killed six and injured 81.
Both the YPG and the PKK denied being involved in the attack.
In an apparent message to fellow Nato member Washington, Erdogan indirectly criticized US support for the YPG forces in northern Syria, saying Turkish authorities knew “who was sponsoring those terrorists.”
In early 2018, Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebel allies launched an offensive against the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria’s Afrin province. It came two years after another military incursion in northern Syria in an offensive against the IS and the SDF. EFE