| 12 April 2024, Friday |

Turkish forces nearly ready for a Syria ground operation, say officials

Turkish sources warned that as Turkish military bombed a Kurdish militia across the border, a decision to launch a land invasion into northern Syria may be made during the cabinet meeting on Monday.

For a week, Kurdish YPG targets have been hit by howitzers fired daily from Turkey, along with airstrikes by jets.

The uptick follows a deadly bombing in Istanbul two weeks ago, which Ankara attributed on the YPG militia. The YPG has denied involvement in the bombing and occasionally used mortar shells to counter cross-border strikes.

“The Turkish Armed Forces needs just a few days to become almost fully ready,” one senior official said, adding that Turkey-allied Syrian rebel fighters were ready for such an operation just a few days after the Nov. 13 Istanbul bomb.

“It won’t take long for the operation to begin,” he said. “It depends only on the president giving the word.”

Turkey has previously launched military incursions in Syria against the YPG, regarding it as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey, the United States and European Union designate a terrorist group.

The Istanbul attack, in which six people were killed on a busy pedestrian promenade, has also been rejected by the PKK.

Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, has stated that when it is expedient, the country will begin a land operation to control its southern border. At 3:30 pm, he will preside over a cabinet meeting (1230 GMT).

“The preparations are finished. Now, a political choice must be made “Before the meeting, another Turkish official spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Erdogan had previously stated in May that Turkey will soon begin a military campaign against the YPG in Syria, but at that time, no such action had taken place.

  • Reuters