DAMASCUS (Sputnik) – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its component, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have promised to fight “to the death” in the event of a new Turkish operation in northeastern Syria, SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed told Sputnik on Friday.
“We will defend the north and the east of Syria to the death,” Ahmed said commenting on the SDF response on a possible operation.
The spokeswoman added that the SDF would not like to see a situation similar to what happened earlier this year in Afrin, where Ankara conducted a military operation.
Later in the day, Syria’s main Kurdish parties and other allied groups issued a joint statement on the issue, calling Turkish plans a “declaration of war” and calling on world powers to prevent an assault on the region.
“All the forces in the north and east Syria…are asked to agree on strategies to confront this aggression,” the statement read.
The statements followed Thursday’s media reports, saying that the Turkish military was reinforcing troops stationed in the province of Kilis on the Syrian border with armoured vehicles. These reports emerged after a statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday that Ankara would launch a new military operation in Syria within days to free the east of the Euphrates from the US-backed Kurdish militia.
Turkey’s operation in Afrin prompted tensions in the country’s relations with the United States. The both sides have had tense relations in recent years, in part due to Ankara’s concerns over US support for the YPG, which is viewed by the Turkish authorities as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Turkey has been claiming that the YPG’s presence near its border threatened its national security. On January 20, Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) opposition forces launched Operation Olive Branch in the northern Syrian district of Afrin aimed at “clearing” the YPG and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) from Turkey’s Syrian border. In March, Ankara announced that Afrin was under the complete control of Turkish forces.
Ankara is also currently engaged in an operation to eliminate Kurdish strongholds in northern Iraq.
Kurdish Militia Killed 5 Turkish Soldiers During Operation in Syria’s Afrin
As the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stated later in the day, they killed five Turkish servicemen during their operation in Syria’s Afrin.
“On December 13th, our unit carried out a successful operation, targeting the positions of the invader Turkish army in Kimar village of Afrin’s Sherawa district. As a result, the enemy outpost was destroyed and five Turkish soldiers were killed,” the statement reads.
Turkish Army Preparing to Storm Kurdish Positions in Northern Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army and allied militants have prepared to attack a sum of 150 military points of the Kurdish militias in Northern Syria, militant-affiliated sources reported on Friday, adding that the operation might split over Northern Iraq.
The sources quoted Yusef Hamoud, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Army, as disclosing that Ankara forces are preparing to launch operation against the Kurds in Aleppo’s Manbij, Raqqa’s Tal Abyadh and Hasaka’s Ra’as al-Ein.
The sources further said that the Turkish troops and army aircraft will also participate in the operation, adding that the anti-Kurds operation on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River includes several phases using different weapons.
In the meantime, Turkey’s Yeni Safak daily quoted Abdullah Agar, Turkish security expert, as reporting that the Ankara forces’ operation will cover a vast region as large as 550 sq-km along Syria-Turkey border.
He further told the paper that the Turkish troop will operate in at least 20 sq-km of the projected operation area.
The daily further said that the Ankara forces’ operation will split over Sinjar region in Northwestern Iraq.
The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Thursday that the ‘Executive Council for Autonomous Forces in Northern and Eastern Syria’ ordered all troops to go on alert after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch military operations against Kurds in coming days.
The Kurdish forces in a statement claimed Ankara attempts to support the ISIL, calling on the US-led coalition, the international community, specially the UN, and the NATO members to voice opposition to Ankara’s aggressive plans.
Meantime, commander of Ferqat al-Hamzeh, affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, said that nearly 20,000 FSA militants are prepared to take part in the Turkish army’s military operations against Kurds in Eastern Euphrates, specially the town of Manbij in Aleppo and Tal Abyadh in Raqqa.