Turkish army to unleash military offensive in northern Syria

Li Jiayao
2018-01-08 08:31:00

DAMASCUS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish army is preparing to unleash an offensive against the Kurdish-controlled Afreen region in northern Syria, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported on Sunday.

The Turkish army has set up field hospitals in a Turkish border area of Kumlu close to Syria's Idlib province in northwestern Syria as part of the preparation to wage an offensive on Afreen in the countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria, said the report.

Citing sources, the report said 15,000 Turkish soldiers have been amassing in the Kilis area in Turkey to take part in the offensive.

Turkey has for long expressed its stance regarding the growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria. Afreen is a strategic Kurdish-controlled area, whose capture will deal a strong blow to the Kurdish Syrians and their plan to have an autonomy stretching along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned both Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has vehemently condemned the Turkish role in Syria on several occasions, while also slamming the SDF and their plans to play outside the umbrella of the Syrian government.

Late last month, Syria's Foreign Ministry held Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responsible for the bloodbath in Syria.

In a statement, the ministry said the "aggression of Erdogan and the entry of his forces into Syria is one form of supporting the terrorists."

On Dec. 20, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad described the SDF as "new Daesh (Islamic State)," saying the SDF should be a part of Syria.

The sharp comments came as the government perceives the Kurdish activities as separatist, despite the repeated remarks from the Kurds that they were not seeking independence.


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