President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is planning new offensives this spring inside war-torn Syria after Ankara officially announced the completion of a months-long military campaign on the Arab country’s soil.
Erdogan said in a speech in the Trabzon region near the Black Sea on Monday that Turkey will soon launch a new operation against groups deemed terrorist organisations by Ankara. He, however, did not specify where the new operations would take place.
“The first stage, the Euphrates Shield operation… is over. But more will follow,” Erdogan said, adding, “There is no stopping, the road continues. We are making preparations for new operations in other regions for getting to the terrorists on their hills. We will give new names to the new operations.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Turkish president stressed, “The next months with God’s permission will be spring for the Turkish nation and a black winter for the terrorists.”
On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the end of the country’s seven-month long military campaign in northern Syria.
The Turkish premier, however, refrained from elaborating on whether Turkish forces would be withdrawn from northern Syria.
In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border. Ankara claimed that its military campaign was aimed at pushing the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh, but Damascus denounced the operation as a breach of its sovereignty.
Senior Turkish officials had not ruled out the possibility of yet another act of military intervention inside Syria, which has has been gripped by deadly foreign-sponsored militancy since 2011.