Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of upcoming operations on Syrian soil after the country bolsters its military presence on the border with its war-torn neighbor.
“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.
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 Daesh Takfiri terrorist group from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh, 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 Daesh and prevented the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from conjoining its territories.
The YPG is part of a larger coalition of fighters — the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — which has been engaged in operations aimed at liberating Raqqah.
Ankara has on multiple occasions expressed its deep concern about the advancement of YPG forces in northern Syria.
“We would rather pay the price for spoiling plans against our future and liberty in Syria and Iraq rather than on our own soil…Soon we will take new and important steps,” Erdogan added.
Erdogan’s announcement was made hours after the Turkish military reinforced its presence in the other side of the barbed wire border with Syria by deploying a six-vehicle convoy that included tanks and howitzers to the southern province of Kilis.