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Preparations complete for Syria operation: Turkey

Ankara, Oct 8 Preparations for a major military operation against the Syrian Kurdishforces in northeast Syria are complete, Turkey announced on Tuesday after the United States pulled back troops and cleared the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington.

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.

“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.

But US President Donald Trump warned he would “obliterate” the NATO ally’s economy if it took action in Syria that he considered “off limits” following his decision on Sunday to pull 50 American special forces troops from the border region. ”

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).

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said it was Turkey’s fundamental right to take necessary measures for its national security against “threats” from Syria.

“Turkey is determined to clear terrorists from the east of the Euphrates and protect its own security and survival while implementing a secure zone in order to achieve peace and stability,” Aksoy said in a statement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey plans to resettle two million refugees in northern Syria and Turkish media has said the draft resettlement plan involves a 151 billion lira ($26bn) construction project.

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