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Why Does Turkey Started a New Operation in Syria?

Turkish American News Portal

After the completion of the Euphrates Shield operation in Syria, Turkey has declared many times that in case of “threat” to Turkish borders, the country would launch new operations. Later, the President of the country, Erdogan announced: “Right now, we are preparing for new operations to walk all over terror organizations in other regions. We will give new names to new operations. ” Now, it seems, the time, for another operation, has come, though the name of the operation is not changed – it is called the continuation and expansion of the Euphrates Shield operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

On August 5, Turkish President Erdogan declared that Turkey is preparing to ramp up military operations in northern Syria. "The Euphrates Shield was the dagger we introduced at the heart of the terrorist presence project in Syria, and we are determined to develop new campaigns," Erdogan said, TheNewArab reports. 

It should be mentioned that about a week earlier, Kurdish news agencies wrote about Turkish forces entering two Kurdish villages in North-East of Aleppo province -  the villages of Bobene and Sifteke in the town of Kobane. According to SYRIA 360°, which referred to the Kurdish-language Hawar News agency, the Turkish Army has built a new road in Northern Aleppo to use it in its imminent operation against the Kurdish fighters in Afrin region. 

Despite the fact that this news has not been officially confirmed, a week later the declaration of Erdogan about starting a new operation in Syria confirms the truthfulness of the news disseminated by the Kurdish news agencies.

So what is the aim of the new operation and what is the choice of its timing conditioned by?

It is no secret that during the recent years under the pretext of fighting the ISIS, Turkey has carried out actions against Kurds – both in Turkey and outside it. The first and the largest one outside the Turkish border was the Euphrates Shield, which aimed at preventing Kurdish gains in Syria, particularly clearing Manbij and El-Bab from Kurds thus not allowing them to unite the Kurdish areas of northern Syria with Afrin enclave. The new operation by Turkey serves the same aim – to prevent Kurds from strengthening their positions in the territories under their control, this time Kobane, near the Turkish-Syrian border. It should be mentioned that during the recent days Turkey has already increased military presence along its southern border.

As for the timing, several factors should be mentioned. First of all, the declaration of the Iraqi Kurds on holding an independence referendum for the creation of Kurdistan could not but, to put it mildly, worry Turkey, which sees it as a “bad precedent” for Kurds in Syria and Turkey. Thus, to secure itself, Turkey hurried to strengthen its border with Syria and start an operation in Kobane.

Second, the international attention is not that much concentrated on Syria amid the relative calm situation there. So starting a new operation the real aim of which is not fighting terrorism, but struggling against the YPG in areas that are of strategic importance for Turkey, would not raise much noise. In addition, on August 6, Turkish Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Philippine capital Manila discussed the situation in Syria with his Russian and the US counterparts. Despite the absence of any details of the talks, it is logical that the operation of Turkey in Syria was also discussed. Consequently, the silence of both Russia and the US on the issue means that Turkey was able to persuade the sides on the ʺnecessityʺ of the operation. 

Third, after the constitutional referendum and the expansion of his power, Erdogan has taken lots of steps inside his country to get rid of all obstacles that could hinder his plans in the establishment of ʺsultanatʺ. The Kurdish issue both inside and outside Turkey is now one of the most worrying ones taking into account the gains of the Kurds in Syria. Thus, another operation was needed to weaken Syrian Kurds.

To sum up, it should be mentioned that the new operation or the expansion of the Euphrates Shield operation in Syria will further increase the tension between Kurds and Turks. It is not excluded that this will end with an open confrontation.

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