Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Erdogan: Turkey to Expand Syria Military Operation to Manbij

Erdogan: Turkey to Expand Syria Military Operation to Manbij

Wednesday, 24 January, 2018 - 18:30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that the military campaign his country has been waging against Kurds in Syria’s Afrin region will extend to Manbij.

Speaking from Ankara, he called on international ngos to back Turkey’s offensive against the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“With the Olive Branch operation, we have once again thwarted the game of those sneaky forces whose interests in the region are different,” he added.

“Starting in Manbij, we will continue to thwart their game.”

A Turkish operation in Manbij would be fraught with risk due to the presence of the US military personnel in and around the town. They were deployed there last March to deter Turkish and US-backed rebels from attacking each other and have also carried out training missions in Manbij.

Afrin is separated from Manbij and the rest of the territory held by the Kurdish-led forces by a strip of land held by Syrian regime forces.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ ruled out to Reuters the possibility of a clash between Turkish and US forces in Syria, but there may be a slim chance of that happening in Manbij.

He stressed that Ankara will continue on using Syria’s airspace when necessary in its offensive against the YPG.

Turkey is ready for all forms of cooperation with the US and Russia if that will lead to peace in the region, he stressed.

Editor Picks