Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara will start from the town of Manbij in northern Syria to “thwart games” along its borders.
Manbij, controlled by US-backed Kurdish militia, is located some 100km from Afrin, where Turkey’s general staff officially declared the start of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ on Saturday.
The move follows Erdogan’s promise to “strangle” the new Border Security Force (BSF) in Syria. The US-led coalition announced earlier in January that it would help create the 30,000-strong BSF, half of which would be comprised of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.
Ankara’s ire has been driven by the fact that the key forces behind the SDF are the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). These are linked to the Kurdish PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey.
“I have doubts about the humanity of those who support this organization (People’s Protection Units, also called YPG) and call Turkey an invader,” Erdogan said in a speech to local administrators in Ankara on Wednesday.
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