Ground offensive against YPG planned: Erdogan would hit Assad

Ground offensive against YPG planned
Erdogan would meet Assad

Until recently, Turkish President Erdogan presented himself as a clear opponent of Syrian ruler Assad, who is supported by Russia, among others. Now he thinks aloud about an approach. This has no influence on his action against Kurdish positions in northern Syria, rather he is now also announcing a ground offensive.

A few days after the start of an air offensive against Kurdish militias, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “A meeting with Assad is possible. There is no resentment and no bitterness in politics,” Erdogan said, according to state news agency Anadolu. As early as August, he spoke out in favor of reconciliation between the Syrian opposition and supporters of ruler Assad – what many saw as a reversal in Erdogan’s stance on Assad. Under Erdogan, Turkey cut diplomatic ties with Damascus. After more than 11 years of civil war, Assad’s supporters have regained control of about two-thirds of the country. The ruler receives support from Russia and Iran, among others.

On the other hand, Erdogan gave no hope of relaxation in northern Syria. Turkey is more determined than ever to close its entire southern border with a “safety line” against attacks. The idea is not new. During a military operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG in northern Syria in 2019, Turkey wanted to create a zone along its border from which all Kurdish militias would have to withdraw. From Turkey’s point of view, this approximately 30 kilometer deep zone should extend eastwards from the Euphrates River for more than 400 kilometers to the Iraqi border. “The operations we are carrying out with our planes, guns and armed drones are just the beginning,” Erdogan said in a speech to party members on Wednesday. At the “best time” they also want to “close their eyes to the terrorists” on the ground. Erdogan had previously considered the possibility of a ground offensive against Kurdish positions.

Grenade hits refugee camp

The Turkish army has meanwhile continued its airstrikes for the fourth day in a row. A Kurdish fighter has been killed in drone strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Wednesday. The man was killed in an attack on a YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liaison office at a Russian base. Three Kurdish fighters and a Russian soldier were also injured. There was initially no comment from Russia.

According to the activists, several oil and gas installations in northern Syria were also hit by Turkish drones. Six workers were injured. Turkish grenades also fell near a prison in the city of Al-Kamischli, where supporters of the terrorist group IS are also being held. The suburbs of the notorious Al-Hol refugee camp, where thousands of former IS supporters also live, were also hit. Some women reportedly tried to escape the camp.

According to the state news agency Anadolu, projectiles have again fallen on Turkish territory. Three rockets were fired from northern Syria by Kurdish militias and hit the southeastern Turkish province of Kilis. There were no injuries. According to Turkish sources, three people were killed in previous attacks.

According to the SDF, 15 civilians have also been killed so far. In a statement, the Syrian Democratic Forces called on the major powers in the Syrian war to take a clear stand. With regard to the US, the SDF complained that their attitude does not appear to be within the framework of friendship and partnership. Washington had so far expressed concern about the attacks, but also expressed understanding for the terrorist threat to Turkey.

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