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Erdogan: Turkey has lost patience with the YPG, will launch new Syria operation

October 12, 2021 at 3:38 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 11 October 2021 [Mustafa Kamacı/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has announced that Turkey has lost its patience with the Kurdish militias attacking the country from neighbouring Syria, stating that a new military operation is underway.

Speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting yesterday, Erdogan said that “We have no patience left regarding some regions in Syria which have the quality of being the source of attacks on our country.”

“We are determined to eliminate the threats originating from here, either with the active forces there or by our own means,” he warned.

The president’s announcement came after two Turkish policemen were killed by shelling fired from the Azaz region in northern Syria, which is under the control of the Turkish-backed opposition forces but still contains some elements of the Kurdish militia the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).

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“The latest attack on our police and the harassment that targets our soil are the final straw,” he stressed.

Over the past decade of the ongoing Syrian conflict, the Kurdish militias in Syria, such as the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have been a major concern for Turkey, which regards them as Syrian branches of the designated terrorist organisation, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The new military operation – if carried out directly by Turkish forces instead of solely their proxy groups – would be Ankara’s fourth major military intervention into northern Syria, following ‘Euphrates Shield’ in 2016, ‘Olive Branch’ in 2018, and ‘Spring Shield’ in 2020. Those previous operations also aimed to clear the groups from the border region and to protect Turkey’s national security.