SDF says Turkey destabilizing region after Erdogan threatens new ground operation
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey of destabilizing the region on Tuesday after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would launch a new operation in northeast Syria to "complete a safe zone".
"There is no strategic change in the distributions of international (ceasefire) guarantor powers (Russia and United States) deployed in the regions of Northeast Syria," read the SDF statement.
"The heating of the atmosphere and show of force by the Turkey state is an attempt to destabilize the region and to resurge the remnants of ISIS," it added.
The SDF said it would continue to examine the level of actual and potential Turkish threats in northeast Syria and exchange information with Russia and the US.
"A Turkish build up for an invasion of Syria is noticeable," Aaron Stein, the Director of Research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), tweeted on Tuesday. "I haven't seen any indication of plus ups beyond baseline, but any such build up is also a mechanism of coercive pressure on the West."
Turkish attacks have increased since April. Turkey has also moved heavy weapons to military bases and posts, the commander of the SDF's Tal Tamr Military Council, Ferhad Jan, told the Syria-based Hawar News Agency (ANHA) on Monday.
The president of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), Ilham Ahmed, also called on ceasefire guarantors to stop Turkish shelling and attacks in northeast Syria on Monday.
After Turkey carried out a major a cross-border operation, codenamed Peace Spring, against Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria in October 2019, Russia and the US reached separate ceasefire agreements with Ankara, allowing Turkish troops to control the area between Tal Abyad and Serekaniye.
The Russia-Turkey deal included the withdrawal of SDF forces up to 30 kilometers from Syria's border with Turkey and joint Turkish-Russian patrols in a 10-kilometer-wide strip along the frontier. The two sides have since carried out dozens of joint patrols in that area.
Despite these agreements, Turkish-backed groups and the Turkish army have continued targeting SDF-held areas.
On Monday, President Erdogan said the Turkish Armed Forces and intelligence would prepare for operations to secure areas with a depth of 30 km along Turkey's southern border to complete a safe zone, Turkish state-run TV channel TRT reported.
Nevertheless, it's unlikely Turkey would launch a new operation without a Russian or US green light.