Turkey started a planned military attack under the name “Operation Peace Spring” in northeastern Syria on Wednesday to eradicate “against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on twitter.
The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
Turkey sees the YPG or Kurdish People’s Protection Units as a terrorist group affiliated with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who battled the Turkish state for three decades.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan added.
He highlighted that this operation “will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes. We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.”
Several residents of Tal Abyad and Ras Al Ain began to flee on Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Reuters.
This comes days after the US troops backed away from the border area. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed militia, said that Turkish warplanes began airstrikes. “There is huge panic among people in the region,” spokesman Mustafa Bali wrote.
Turkish reconnaissance aircraft have been flying over Tel Abyad since the morning , at a sources close to the forces of “Democratic Syria” revealed to Al-Arabiya, adding that “the airspace will be open to Ankara despite the announcement of the US Defense Department (Pentagon) to close it.”
Ahead of the attack, the Syrian regime said Turkey’s aggressive intentions violate international law. “The aggressive behavior of the Erdogan regime clearly shows the Turkish expansionist ambitions in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and cannot be justified under any pretext,” a source at the Foreign Ministry said, SANA reported.