Turkey claims it killed 20 YPG members in Syria, amid reports of new military operation
The Turkish defence ministry issued a statement saying 20 "terrorists" belonging to the "PKK/YPG" organisation were killed in northern Syria.
The YPG is a Kurdish militia group which is the main component of the SDF, a coalition of Arab and Kurdish militias operating in notheastern Syria.
Ankara alleges that the YPG is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group that has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Turkey's defence ministry said the "neutralisation" operations took place in the Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch areas.
These are areas of Syria that have been controlled by the Turkish military and its Syrian allies since two separate offensives in Aleppo province in 2016 and 2018.
There have recently been suggestions that a new Turkish operation in northern Syria, which will focus on the towns of Tel Rifaat and Manbij, is imminent.
A correspondent for The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported that fighting broke out between the SDF and the Turkish-allied "Syrian National Army" in the village of Al-Mahsanli, north of Manbij.
Turkey has for weeks threatened to invade parts of northern Syria currently under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), vowing to root out ‘terrorists’ and create a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.https://t.co/py9OQJcDeP— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) June 5, 2022
The correspondent added that Turkish warplanes were seen in the border area on Wednesday evening.
He also said further Turkish military convoys arrived in the area through the Al-Rai border crossing on Wednesday.
The convoy included tanks, armoured vehicles and mine-clearing vehicles, and was headed towards the city of Al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo city.
Turkey has been saying it will launch a new military operation in Syria since late May.