Turkey's Ministry of Defence said all preparations for a military operation against the Syrian Kurdish PYG/YPG forces in northern Syria were complete and the Armed Forces would not tolerate a terror corridor along its border.
"Establishment of a safe zone/a peace corridor is necessary for giving a safe life to Syrians by contributing to the peace and stability of our region," a statement on the ministry's Twitter account said on Monday, Efe news reported.
The Hurriyet daily cited a security official as saying: "Preparations are complete including the smallest details. "Armed Forces are ready to go as soon as the political authority gives the order." Turkish news channels reported that troops along the Syria border were being reinforced with tanks and armored vehicles on Monday night.
There were also reports in Turkish media citing local sources in Syria as saying that Turkish military had started shelling YPG positions in northern al-Malikiyah town. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone on Sunday, with Washington saying Turkey would go ahead with "its long-planned operation into northern Syria."
The operation would be Turkey's third big military operation against Kurdish militia groups in northern Syria since 2016. While Turkey has said it is preparing to go into Syria, the United States has said it will be pulling out troops from the area.
The White House also said that Turkey would now be responsible for all Islamic State fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the so-called caliphate by the United States. Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has criticized the operation to which the Turkish army is counting down for being a "secret deal" between Erdogan and Trump.
Since the beginning of the Syria conflict, CHP has been calling on Erdogan's government to make contact with the regime in Damascus. There is also opposition to the operation in the Turkish parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP).
HDP spokesperson Saruhan Oluc told Efe: "Going into Syria may be easy but getting out would be very difficult and painful. The operation will not bring tranquility, peace and democracy to this region."
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