Sputnik– Turkey threatens to start a military operation in Syria’s Afrin amid reports of the country’s shelling the areas.
“We warn the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations in the Afrin area, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army,” deputy foreign minister Faisal Meqdad told reporters.
The statement was made after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement made earlier in the day, saying that Ankara would intervene in Syria’s Afrin and Manbij, citing the threat posed by the Kurdish militants to the integrity of the Syrian border.
Meanwhile, the Turkey’s General Staff has reportedly put the troops on the border with Syria on high alert, preparing for a possible operation in Syrian Afrin against the armed formations of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, associated with the banned in the country Kurdistan Workers Party.
Turkey has been threatening to begin an operation against in Afrin after the US-led coalition’s announcement concerning the training of a border protection force composed of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which mostly consists of the YPG, in northern Syria.
Recently there occurred media reports claiming that the Turkish armed forces shelled territory under control of the Kurdish forces in Afrin, but there was no official confirmation to this information.
As US-led coalition’s Col. Thomas Veale has explained, the SDF training aimed to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria’s borders, prompting harsh condemnation from Damascus and Ankara.
The US Military Presence in Syria
A position, similar to the Meqdad’s one has been voiced regarding the US presence on the Syrian soul by a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry, as quoted by the state-run SANA news agency on January 18, who said that the internal affairs of any country should be managed by the people of that country.
“The internal affairs in any country in the world is an exclusive right of the people of that country, thus nobody has the right to only give his opinion in that because this violates the international law and contradicts the most important theories of the constitutional law,” the source said, adding that the US presence and all of Washington’s activities in Syria aim to protect Daesh.
The comment was made after US State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s statement, made on January 17, saying that the United States would continue maintaining its military presence in Syria to prevent the re-emergence of the Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia), and called on US allies to increase economic pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad. According to Tillerson, the US diplomatic activities in Syria will be aimed at stabilizing the situation in the country, which does not involve open-ended nation-building or reconstruction of the war-torn country, and will seek to deter Iran’s efforts to achieve greater influence in the region.