READY TO FIRE A Turkey-backed Syrian fighter sits behind a machine gun at a fortified position in the city of Jarablus, close to the border with Turkey, in the rebel-held north of Syria’s Aleppo province, on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. AFP PHOTO
ISTANBUL, Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday threatened to launch a ground operation into Syria, following cross-border air strikes on Kurdish positions and deadly fire on his country.
“There is no question that this operation be limited to only an aerial operation,” Erdogan told reporters on a flight home from Qatar after attending the opening of the FIFA World Cup. “We will make those who disturb us on our territory pay.”
The Turkish leader has threatened a new military operation into northern Syria since May.
Overnight, Turkey hit dozens of targets in northern Syria, as well as northern Iraq, a week after a bomb attack in Istanbul killed six people and left 81 wounded, which Ankara blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Kurdish groups and authorities have denied responsibility for the November 13 bombing, which revived bitter memories of a wave of attacks in Turkey between 2015 and 2017.
Rocket fire from Syrian territory on Monday killed at least two people, including a child, in Turkey’s border town of Karkamis, top officials said.
“Competent authorities, our Defense Ministry and chief of staff will together decide the level of force that should be used by our ground forces,” Erdogan said.
Turkey’s raids, mainly targeting positions held by Kurdish forces in northern and northeastern Syria, killed at least 37 people and wounded 70 others, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a United Kingdom-based monitoring group.
Ankara said the targeted Kurdish bases were being used to launch “terrorist” attacks on Turkish soil.
Also on Monday, thousands gathered to bury 11 people who died in Al-Malikiyah in Syria’s far northeast, including a journalist working for a Kurdish news agency, with the caskets draped in red-white-and-green Kurdish flags.
“We urge the world, all those who care about human rights and the great powers,” to press Turkey to stop its strikes that “target us with planes and drones,” a mourner named Shaaban, 58, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) during the funerals.
Washington expressed its condolences over the loss of civilian life in Syria and Turkey and urged a de-escalation in Syria.
“We urge de-escalation in Syria to protect civilian life and support the common goal of defeating ISIS,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, referring to the fight against the jihadist group Islamic State.
“We continue to oppose any uncoordinated military action in Iraq that violates Iraq’s sovereignty,” he added.
In Berlin, the German Foreign Ministry also urged Turkey to “react proportionally and to respect international law,” adding that “civilians, at all times, must be protected.”
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter