Turkey to launch offensive in Kurdish-controlled area in northern Syria

14 2019 shows destruction following an airstrike in the jihadist-held city of Idlib northwestern Syria

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony in the north-western city of Bursa yesterday, Erdogan stated that "We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab, and now we're going to enter east of the Euphrates", adding that "We shared this with the United States and Russian Federation".

Turkey has been running out of patience with the United States, who made an agreement with Ankara to implement a safe zone in northeastern Syria.

The plan suggests Turkey and the United States would dismantle YPG fortifications in the area and conduct joint patrols, initially in the middle third of the zone that runs along the Turkish border.

Russia's military says militants fired three unguided rockets at its air base in Syria, injuring four civilians but causing no damage to the facility. More than 400,000 people have been displaced and dozens of hospitals and schools damaged since April, according to the UN. Around 3 million people are living inside the rebel-held area.

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) affiliated with the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria condemned Turkey's "growing threats", and it urged Western powers to act.

The group was Washington's main ally on the ground in Syria during the battle against Islamic State, but Turkey sees it as a terrorist organization.

If efforts to find common ground with the US prove unsuccessful, Turkey will have to create a safe zone in Syria on its own, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Turkey conducted two operations into northern Syria in 2016 and 2018 to clear the areas of IS extremists and US -backed Syrian Kurdish militias. On Sunday, Erdogan renewed that threat.

Ankara has in the past year reported incidents of Turkish soldiers coming under fire from the YPG in northern Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Council issued a statement Monday saying that its military wing - the USA -backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces - is a "force to defend" Syria's ethnic and cultural pluralism.

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