Turkey Plans New military operation in North Syria

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Turkey’s forces and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members often exchange fire in the region and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.

Turkey is preparing for a new military operation in northern Syria to establish a 30-km deep safe zone along its southern border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

“As soon as the Turkish armed forces complete its intelligence and security preparations, these operations will begin,” Erdogan said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.

The operation will target the regions in northern Syria where the Turkish military does not have control and are “centers of attacks to our country and our safe zones,” he said.

Turkey’s forces and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) members often exchange fire in the region and the clashes have accelerated since early this year.

The Turkish National Security Council will discuss the issue on Thursday, he said.

The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria, aiming to eliminate terror threats and provide a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

Meanwhile, another report says three people were killed in an Israeli missile strike targeting military sites at south of the capital Damascus, according to a statement from the Syrian military.

All three persons were killed during missile strikes on Friday evening, Xinhua news agency reported.

 The statement said the air defences have intercepted most missiles, which were fired from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

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 The pro-government Sham FM radio said strikes at the international airport in Damascus have caused a fire near it, leading to the postponement of two flights.

 The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the Israelis targeted military sites in the Jamraya area, as well as sites in the southwestern countryside of Damascus and the international airport.

 It said most missiles reached their targets, adding this is the 13th Israeli attack on Syria in 2022.

Failed Coup  

The Turkish prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for 53 suspects over their alleged links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

The police have launched raids across 12 provinces as part of the capital Ankara chief prosecutor’s probe into the “establishment” of the Gulen Movement in the Turkish foreign ministry.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that 48 of the suspects were earlier dismissed from the ministry due to their contact with the group, five were on active duty, and others included resigned personnel.

They were accused of keeping illicit communication with the “private imams” of the group and leaking exam information of public institutions to them.

The Turkish government accuses the Gulen Movement of infiltrating into the state bureaucracy and then attempting a coup on July 15, 2016.

The movement, which mainly runs schools around the world, is a community of people named after Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who is regarded by followers as a spiritual leader.

Ankara accuses U.S.-based Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the attempted coup, in which at least 250 people were killed.

Turkey requests the extradition of Gulen, but Washington is reluctant to extradite the self-exiled Islamic cleric, saying that Ankara has not presented sufficient evidence against him.

The Turkish government has launched a massive crackdown on suspects with links to the network in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

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