ANKARA – A military operation against Kurdish militias would be launched "in the coming days" in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by local media as saying on Wednesday
"We say that our operation to save the east of the Euphrates separatist terrorist organization will begin in the coming days," said in a speech the head of the Turkish state, referring to areas controlled by Kurdish militias in northern Syria. Erdogan had already declared on October 30 that Turkey was ready for such an offensive, which would be the third operation carried out by the Turkish army in northern Syria.
Indeed, Ankara considers the People's Protection Units (YPG) as an extension in Syria of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an organization that is classified "terrorist" by Turkey, but also the United States and the European Union. "Our goal is not the American soldiers, but the members of the active terrorist organization in this region," the Turkish president said.
US soldiers are indeed present alongside the SDF east of the Euphrates. Erdogan's statements came a day after Washington announced the facility, despite Ankara's opposition, of observation posts meant to prevent any altercation between the Turkish army and the YPG.
A Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday that observation posts had been set up "in the border region of northeastern Syria to address Turkey's security concerns."