Erdogan threatens floor operations in Syria after lethal rocket assault

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned Monday he was contemplating going past airstrikes and launching a floor operation in Syria after a lethal rocket assault on a Turkish border city.

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Erdogan additionally renewed warnings that those that assault Turkey can pay dearly, a day after Ankara’s forces launched airstrikes on bases of outlawed Kurdish teams in northern Syria and Iraq.

“There is no doubt that this operation is limited to an aerial operation only,” Erdogan advised reporters as he returned to Turkey from Qatar the place he attended the opening of the FIFA World Cup.

“Competent authorities, our Ministry of Defense and Chief of Staff will together decide what force will be used by our ground forces,” Erdogan mentioned.

“We have already warned that we will make those who violate our territory pay,” he added.

Erdogan spoke after a rocket assault from Syrian territory killed at the least three individuals, together with a toddler, in a Turkish border city.

That assault got here a day after Turkey carried out airstrikes on the bases of Kurdish militant teams in northern Syria and Iraq, which it mentioned had been getting used to launch “terrorist attacks” on Turkish soil.

The in a single day raids primarily focused positions held by Syrian Kurdish forces in northern and northeastern Syria, killing at the least 31 individuals, in line with the British monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), amongst these attacked, mentioned Turkey launched new airstrikes on Monday.

The Turkish raids, codenamed Operation Claw-Sword, got here every week after an explosion in central Istanbul killed six individuals and injured 81.

“70 planes and drones”

Turkey has blamed that assault on the Kurdistan Employees’ Social gathering (PKK).

The blast, the deadliest in 5 years, revived bitter reminiscences of a wave of nationwide assaults between 2015 and 2017.

The PKK has waged a bloody insurgency there for many years and has been designated a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

However it has denied involvement within the explosion in Istanbul.

Strikes additionally focused PKK bases in northern Iraq’s mountainous areas of Kandil, Asos and Hakurk, and bases of the Kurdish Individuals’s Safety Items (YPG), in Ayn al-Arab (known as Kobane in Kurdish), Tal Rifaat, Jazira and Derik areas in Syria, Ankara’s Protection Ministry mentioned.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a PKK-affiliated terrorist group.

Erdogan mentioned consultations are ongoing over Ankara’s navy response, including that the weekend’s assaults had been carried out by “70 aircraft and drones” that “penetrated 140 kilometers (87 miles) into northern Iraq and 20 kilometers into northern Syria.”

An SDF spokesperson advised AFP that on Monday Turkish plane launched new assaults close to Kobani, a declare confirmed by SOHR. One assault hit a regime drive place, in line with the SDF.

Because the morning rocket assault, there was an trade of artillery fireplace between Turkish forces backed by Syrian proxies and the SDF, in line with an AFP correspondent.

Erdogan additionally revealed that he had “no discussion with (US President Joe) Biden or (Russian President Vladimir) Putin on the subject of the operation.”

Turkey’s latest navy efforts might spell hassle for its complicated relationship with its Western allies — significantly the USA, which has relied totally on Syrian-Kurdish militia forces in its struggle in opposition to IS jihadists.

Turkey has typically accused Washington of supplying Kurdish forces with weapons.

Russia, for its half, helps pro-Damascus militias within the area.

(AFP)

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