Ankara warns Syria troops it will fight in Afrin

Turkish AKP government threatened to hit back at Syrian troops if they deploy in an enclave in northern Syria to protect a Kurdish YPG
Monday, 19 February 2018 16:55

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday warned against any intervention by Syrian popular forces alongside Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in northern Syria, saying it would not prevent Ankara from continuing its month-old offensive.

The warning by the Turkish foreign minister came shortly after Syrian state media said pro-government forces will begin entering the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin "within hours."

"If the regime is entering (Afrin) to oust the PKK, YPG, there is no problem. But if they are entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us and Turkish soldiers. This applies to Afrin, Manbij and the east of the Euphrates," Çavuşoğlu said during a visit to Jordan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously threatened to expand the operation to include the YPG-held town of Manbij and other towns leading to the Iraqi border.

The Turkish army, backed by Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, has been conducting a ground and air offensive against the region since January 20 to drive out the YPG.