Turkey’s preparations for a possible operation in Syria in the east of Euphrates continue “intensely”, the defense minister said on Friday.
“We have Manbij, and the east of Euphrates ahead. Necessary planning was made regarding this. Our preparation continues intensely,” Hulusi Akar said while inspecting troops near the border with Syria.
Akar said Turkey was determined to end terrorism wherever it may be.
“We have no problems with our Kurdish brothers, Arab brothers in Syria, Turkmens and other ethnic and religious groups. Our only targets are terrorists Daesh and PKK/YPG,” he added.
A mission east of the Euphrates River, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 — Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch — both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.