ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is preparing a new military operation in northern Syria to build a 30-kilometer deep safe zone along its southern border.
"These operations will commence as soon as the Turkish military forces complete their intelligence and security preparations," Erdogan stated after the cabinet meeting. The operation will target areas in northern Syria where the Turkish military does not have authority and which are "centres of attacks against our country and our safe zones."
In the region, Turkish forces and members of Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) frequently exchange fire, and the clashes have intensified since early this year.
On Thursday, the Turkish National Security Council will discuss the subject, he said.
In northern Syria, the Turkish army started Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020, with the goal of eliminating terror threats and creating a safe zone that will allow Syrian refugees to return home.
The YPG is seen by Ankara as the Syrian wing of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey has designated the PKK as a terrorist organisation, and it has been fighting the Turkish government for more than three decades.