Erdogan threatens new military operation in Syria against Kurdish militants

Erdogan threatens new military operation in Syria against Kurdish militants
Turkey's president has warned his country could conduct another military operation inside Syria to push back Kurdish militants Ankara deems as terrorists.
2 min read
08 May, 2024
Under Erdogan's leadership, Turkey has launched three major operations against Kurdish militants in Syria [Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Ankara could carry out another military operation inside Syria against Kurdish militants.

Turkey "will complete its work in Syria when the time is right," Erdogan said, following a government meeting earlier this week.

"Certainly, when the time and hour come, we will complete our work in Syria, which was left incomplete due to the promises made and broken by our allies," he added, apparently hinting at the US which supports Kurdish-led factions in war-torn Syria.

Erdogan said Turkey could not feel safe at all as long as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was present in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey has already carried out three military operations inside Syria between 2016 and 2019, creating what it says is a buffer zone in swathes of northern Syria and maintaining a military presence there where it supports proxy militias and rebel groups.

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The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) form the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which controls mostly of Syria east of the Euphrates River. Ankara considers the YPG to be an offshoot of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that has waged an insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s.

The Turkish military often launches strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq it believes to be affiliated with the PKK, which has often led to tensions between Ankara and Baghdad.

After Erdogan’s recent visit to Baghdad, Turkey and Iraq agreed to cooperate more on security.