Turkey has signaled a military escalation in Syria to respond to successive attacks by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against Ankara-backed factions and Turkish soldiers. This comes at a time when Russia continues to take aim at Turkey’s influence in northern Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Monday that his country is determined to eliminate threats originating in northern Syria, saying an attack by Kurdish fighters that killed two Turkish police was “the final straw.”
The policemen were killed on Sunday in a missile attack in Syria’s Azaz region. Turkey said the attack was launched by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a central component of the Washington-backed SDF that Ankara considers a terrorist group and an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has repeatedly decried Washington’s support to the SDF and by extension the YPG, which it claims undermines counterterrorism efforts in Syria.
“We have no patience left regarding some regions in Syria which are the source of attacks on our country,” Erdogan said in a news conference following a cabinet meeting.
“We are determined to eliminate the threats originating from here either with the active forces there or by our own means,” he added.
The projectiles that landed in two separate areas caused explosions in Turkey’s southern Gaziantep province, across the border from Syria’s Jarablus city.
A third landed in Jarablus and was believed to have been launched from a region controlled by the YPG.
“The latest attack on our police and the harassment that targets our soil are the final straw,” Erdogan said.