President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will carry out an “air and ground military operation” east of the Euphrates River, prompting US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to warn of an “all-out war” to defend the region they control.
It was Erdogan’s most direct indication of a unilateral incursion into Syria since Ankara and Washington decided to establish a “safe zone” there.
The operation, which aims to clear groups Turkey considers “terrorists” from the border region, could start as soon as Saturday or Sunday, Erdogan said while speaking at the opening of his AK Party‘s annual camp on Saturday.
“We will conduct this [operation] on the ground and in the air,” Erdogan said, adding it would be in the east of the Euphrates River.
“We have made our preparations, we have completed our operation plans, given the necessary instructions,” he said.