Military operation in Syria's Afrin may start in near future, Turkish minister says

"Who knows, tomorrow or maybe even earlier," Canikli said in response to a question about possible dates for the start of the operation
Monday, 27 November 2017 20:55

The Turkish army could launch a military operation in the Syrian city of Afrin controlled by the Kurdish militants, in the near future, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Monday.

Earlier in the fall, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spokesman said that Ankara could carry out a military operation against the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Afrin because of threats posed to Turkey's national interests. Ankara believes that PYD and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG) are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is a designated terrorist group in Turkey.

"Who knows, tomorrow or maybe even earlier," Canikli said in response to a question about possible dates for the start of the operation.

Afrin, located in the northwest of Syria on the border with Turkey, is part of the Syrian Kurdish region commonly known as Rojava.

The Pentagon said on Monday it was reviewing "adjustments" in arms for U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG forces but stopped short of declaring a halt to weapons transfers, suggesting such decisions would be based on battlefield requirements.

Turkey said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump told President Tayyip Erdogan he had issued instructions that weapons should not be provided to Syrian Kurdish militants. It called on Monday for Washington to follow through on its pledge.