Tabnak – As the main focus of various domestic and international forces involved in the Syrian conflict is now on liberating the remaining parts of the country form ISIS’ grip, Turkish President’s latest remarks indicating a possible new military intervention in Syria, has added more complexities to the situation.
Associated Press reports that Turkey’s president reiterated Saturday that new cross-border operations into Syria are in the works as the country boosts its military presence along the border against threats from Kurdish militants in war-torn Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is determined to launch "new moves” akin to its foray into northern Syria last August. "It’s clear that the situation in Syria goes beyond a war on a terror organization,” Erdogan said, referring to ISIS terrorist group and alluding to Kurdish aspirations for statehood.
"We are determined to extend the dagger we have put into the heart of the terror entity project through the Euphrates Shield Operation with new moves,” he said while addressing a crowd in the city of Malatya on Saturday.
This is while, according to the local sources, the Turkish military has reinforced its presence in the other side of the barbed wire border with Syria amid perceived threats from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a major component of the US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Turkey deployed a six-vehicle convoy that included tanks and howitzers to the southern province of Kilis to be positioned across from the Kurdish-controlled Syrian region of Afrin. Turkey has been vehemently opposed to the YPG’s presence in northern Syria.
Ankara views the People's Protection Units as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984. On June 6, the SDF said it had launched an operation aimed at pushing the ISIS terrorist group out of Raqqa.
It should be noted that in August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border.
Ankara claimed that its military campaign was aimed at pushing the ISIS terrorist group from Turkey's border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting ISIS, but Damascus denounced the operation as a breach of its sovereignty.
In March, Turkey announced that the operation had ended "successfully.” During the operations Turkey-backed Syrian militant groups and the Turkish military cleared an area in northern Syria of ISIS and prevented the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from conjoining its territories.
However, even since then, Ankara has on multiple occasions expressed its deep concern about the advancement of YPG forces in northern Syria. If such concerns lead to a new round of Turkish military intervention in Syria, it could however further complicate the situation on the ground in the war-torn country, as it would be viewed as a hurdle in front of Kurdish forces which are engaged in fighting against ISIS in Raqqa and elsewhere in Syria.