Turkey and the Syrian National Army have launched their much-awaited operation against Daesh and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) terror groups in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Wednesday.
“Our aim is to destroy the terror corridor, which is trying to be established on our southern border, and bring peace to the region,” Erdoğan wrote on Twitter.
The operation, dubbed “Peace Spring,” will eliminate the terrorist threat to Turkey and ensure Syrian refugees’ return to their country thanks to a safe zone in the area, he said.
“We will protect the territorial integrity of Syria, and free the people of the region from the clutches of terror,” the president added.
Earlier this week, the United States pulled its forces from the areas targeted by the Turkish operation.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador to Ankara David Satterfield to be briefed on Operation Peace Spring.
Most of northeastern Syria is controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists. The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK terror group’s Syrian affiliate.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.