Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Turkey says 260000 Syrians have returned to 'Euphrates Shield' operation area

Turkey says 260000 Syrians have returned to 'Euphrates Shield' operation area

Turkey launched Euphrates Shield in 2016 to drive away ISIL and YPG militants from its border with Syria.

Turkish forces this week struck several Kurdish militia targets near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.

Over the past two years, Turkish forces have already swept into Syria to push YPG fighters out of territory west of the Euphrates in two separate military campaigns.

Six terrorists were also injured, the sources added.

Turkish artillery first shelled YPG positions in Tel Abyad on Sunday, but frontlines remained quiet until Tuesday night when fighting intensified.

The defense minister also touched upon the Manbij deal between Turkey and the us, saying that "despite the promises" made for the YPG's withdrawal from the city, the group was still deployed there. However, according to the SDF spokesperson, "there is a possibility" that a potential agreement could involve the distribution of both U.S. and Turkish troops along the border.

Turkish and U.S. soldiers have begun joint patrols around the city of Manbij in northern Syria aimed at averting clashes between Turkey and Washington's Kurdish allies, even as Ankara presses on with a new threatened offensive nearby to crush the Kurds. Adopted in June, the agreement was created to defuse tensions between Turkish-backed rebels and YPG fighters in the area.

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"Soon, we will descend on them with more comprehensive and effective" force, said Erdogan, who has long vowed to clear all of northern Syria of the militia.

American backing of the SDF has caused tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which considers the YPG militia to be a terrorist organization tied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) battling the Turkish army for almost four decades. For decades, the PKK has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey.

Moreover, both fighters from the Manbij Military Council (MMC) and the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces were prevented from being present on the front line.

The report said the Turkish side, which has been threatening to launch offensives on the Kurdish-led SDF in the eastern Euphrates, held meetings with Turkish-backed rebels as part of the preparations to launch an offensive on the Kurdish-led groups.

The halting of the operation is a major setback for the United States and its allies and comes after Turkey threatened a new military operation targeting the Kurdish-led SDF. The attendees - the leaders of France, Germany, Turkey and Russian Federation - notably "reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic" in a joint statement, which many observers saw as a not-so-subtle acknowledgement of the victory of Syrian President Bashar Assad, widely accused of war crimes.

Two U.S. defense officials and Turkish officials confirmed the patrols in northern Syria on Thursday.

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