Türkiye signals anti-terror land operation into N Syria
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled to proceed with Operation Claw-Sword, which was conducted against the terrorist YPG and PKK groups in northern Iraq and northern Syria with a ground incursion.
“There is no question that this operation be limited to only an aerial operation,” Erdoğan told reporters on board his flight from Qatar to Türkiye on Nov. 20.
“How many troops from the Land Forces should be involved here will be decided together by our relevant units, our Defense Ministry and General Staff. We do our consultation, and then we will take our steps accordingly,” he stated.
Ankara has been conducting diplomatic talks with the relevant countries on the issue and “had taken and would take steps accordingly,” the president said.
Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign, early on Nov. 20 against the YPG and PKK targets.
Asked if he had consulted with the leaders of the United States and Russia before launching Operation Claw-Sword, Erdoğan said Ankara had no talks with U.S. and Russian leaders on the operation into Iraq and Syria and added that they already know Türkiye can do such things in the region any time.
“First of all, this operation in northern Iraq and northern Syria is not an operation that was carried out with random thought by saying ‘who would say what?’ or ‘how would that happen?’” the president said.
If anyone poses a threat against Türkiye, Ankara will “make them pay the price,” Erdoğan said.
Recalling the 2019 deal with Russia, which envisaged the pull out of YPG forces and their arms 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Turkish border, Erdoğan said Moscow was not able to fully implement the agreement.
“They had a responsibility to clean up the terrorists in the area. Unfortunately, even though we reminded them many times over and over, they did not do this, they cannot,” the president said.
“We said that we would not remain silent against them and that we would take steps against the terrorists there if they [Russia] could not do it in any way,” he added.
Within this framework, Türkiye hit 12 targets of the YPG in Kobane on Nov. 20, he stated.
There is no “constraint” for the scope of Operation Claw-Sword, Erdoğan said, adding: “There is continuity in this operation. We did whatever was necessary by land and air. We will do it after that.”
Elaborating on the Ukrainian grain deal, Erdoğan said he had agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to produce flour in Türkiye from Russian wheat and send it for free to the least developed countries.
Last week, a deal that allows the two warring sides, Ukraine and Russia, to export grain, fertilizers and other food products to the world markets through the Black Sea has been extended for another 120 days.