Al-Monitor
May 23, 2022

Turkey threatens new Syria incursion amid NATO debate

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey will soon launch a new military incursion against US-backed Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.

Erdogan said the operation would extend the Turkish armed forces’ areas of control in Syria to a depth of 30 kilometers along the two countries’ shared border.

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The context: The threat comes as Erdogan’s government has hinted that it will block Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the NATO alliance….

Ankara has issued several demands, including the extradition of alleged members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from Sweden and the lifting of the two countries’ arms embargo against Turkey.

Why it matters: Turkey in 2019 launched a bloody military incursion against the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian militia backed militarily by members of the US-led international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

The Syrian YPG has roots in the PKK – a leftist militant group that has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state for nearly four decades – but denies posing any threat to Turkey.

Ankara’s 2019 operation, dubbed Peace Spring, was the third of its kind in northern Syria and led some 300,000 people to flee their homes….

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What’s next: Erdogan said further operational decisions will be made Thursday at a meeting of top Turkish military officials.

“As soon as the Turkish armed forces complete its intelligence and security preparations, these operations will begin,” he said.

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Daily Sabah
May 24, 2022

Erdoğan signals new cross-border operation in northern Syria

Turkey will soon launch a new military operation along its southern borders….President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.

The new operation will resume efforts to create 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) wide safe zones along Turkey’s border with Syria, Erdoğan said in a televised address after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-kilometer deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” the president said.

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Turkey borders Syria and Iraq to its south and has worked to eliminate existing [Kurdish] bases….

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of…operations across its border in northern Syria – namely, Euphrates Shield in 2016, Olive Branch in 2018 and Peace Spring in 2019.