Turkey aims ‘safe return’ of 500,000 Syrians with upcoming Syria op
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – TAL RIFAAT
Turkish army has started hitting some PKK/YPG targets in northern Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij districts with cannon fire as the preparations for an upcoming crossover military operation, aimed to be conducted for safe return of some 500,000 Syrians, are ongoing.
PKK terrorist organization and YPG, its affiliate in Syria, use some neighborhoods in Tal Rifaat, 18 kilometers away from the Turkish border as well as Manbij, located at a 30 kilometer-distance, for sheltering.
Gaining power in the two northern Syrian regions since 2016, the PKK/YPG terrorists caused 500,000 Syrians to flee to Turkey in fear of their life.
Over time the Turkish army has cleared the neighborhoods of Afrin, Mare, Al-Bab and Jarabulus from terrorists through Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield, but the terrorists threaten the regional security with renewed infiltrations and rocket attacks.
Now, sleeves rolled up ready for a new military incursion, which Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, “Whatever is necessary will be done when the time comes, when appropriate” for its timing.
Within the scope of the preparations, some Turkish military units and the forces of the Syrian National Army, a military group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, which has been supported by Turkey since May 30, 2017, have already been deployed to the rural zones of Tal Rifaat and Manbij.
The local officials said, the deployed forces wait for Ankara to make the operation decision to take action.
However, with cannon fire from the Turkey side, Turkish forces have hit some PKK/YPG targets in the rural parts of Tal Rifaat and Manbij.
Intelligence units have detected some mobilization that show the PKK’s readiness for street fighting in the two regions.
It is alleged that the terrorists do not allow the local community to leave the regions and use them as “human shields.”
According to locals, the PKK started laying antipersonnel mines at the exits and the entrances of the cities and placed various improvised explosive devices (IED) in the main roads of Tal Rifaat and Manbij.
Meanwhile, Turkey renounced a cross-border operation to Ayn İsa, a neighborhood inside the Rakka region, following negotiations with Russia.
According to reports, Russia sent additional servicemen to the region to oppose the terrorists within the scope of the deal.