MAJOR: Turkey Prepares to Invade Syria

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ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey continues to concentrate tanks and troops on the border with Syria, according to the Turkish state agency Anadolu.

On January 20, 2018, Ankara initiated an operation on Syrian territory against Kurdish militias and on 12 December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his country was preparing to start a new military operation in the neighboring country .

According to The Wall Street Journal, Turkey intends to normalize the situation in Syria in its own way, now that the United States has decided to withdraw troops from the territory, including withdrawing support for combatants involved in the fight against Daesh [ISIS].

US President Donald Trump announced that the US presence in Syria was nearing its end in December 2018. Despite this, as early as January 2019, Trump decided to extend withdrawal for an additional four months.

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Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on January 10 that in any case military intervention against the Kurds does not depend on the United States withdrawing from Syria.

The Kurds are an ethnic group from the Middle East, present in the eastern territories of Turkey, western and northern Iran, northern Syria and parts of Iraq. Turkey has acted in the region in order to prevent the formation of Kurdish autonomy.

According to Turkish media reports , another column of armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles arrived in the Turkish province of Hatay on the border with Syria. The military equipment, moved from several military units, arrived at the Iskenderun railway station to reinforce the detachments stationed on the Syrian border.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Ankara was about to start operation on the eastern Euphrates River as well as in the Syrian city of Manbij against Kurdish militias if the US did not withdraw them there. The agency underlines the Turkish government’s criticism of the support the US has provided to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group.

Erdogan later said he had decided to postpone the start of the military operation in Syria following a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump, after which Trump made a decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

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