Via The War Files– The Turkish army is preparing for an all-out offensive on areas currently held by the PKK and YPG in northern Syria. The Turkish military is expected to launch the operation near the Turkish border town of Kilis to take Afrin, Tell Rifaat and the Minnigh Military Airport.
Military sources said that the Turkish army, which has been building up a presence on the Syrian border for quite sometime, “is likely to kick off the operation to sweep PYD and YPG terrorists from Afrin this weekend.” Ankara has long warned the PYD against remaining along the Turkish-Syrian border, and that it wouldn’t allow the formation of a “terrorist state” along its borders in northern Syria. Last Friday, President Erdoğan stated Turkey’s case against the PYD, saying: “Despite who is on your side [referring to the US-led coalition], you shall know that Turkey, with its armed forces, will not let a state be formed in northern Syria.” The Afrin offensive is expected to be similar to Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched in August 2016, and concluded late in March.
The operation successfully liberated Jarablus, Dabiq and al-Bab from Daesh. A journalist for the Sabah newspaper, currently in Idlib, said that the new operation will start very soon. “Tensions have been escalating recently. We obtained information that high-ranking commanders will cross into Syria, which will trigger the offensive,” the journalist, Uğur Yıldırım, said.
Local journalists on the ground also reported that a Turkish operation in Afrin and Tell Rifaat was imminent. Dozens of Turkish tanks have purportedly made their way into the rebel-held countryside of Aleppo, while artillery units have already began shelling the SDF extensively.