Ground operation into northern Syria could start at any time: Turkey
The spokesperson of the Turkish Presidency says the anticipated ground operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria could be launched at any time and could unfold in different ways.
In an interview for the Turkish news outlet A Haber, Turkey's Presidential Spokesperson said the ground operation that was announced earlier to target northern Syria might be initiated at any moment.
"It could be tomorrow, next week, or anytime. Türkiye will determine the time, place and scope," Ibrahim Kalin said, adding that "operations can be done in different ways."
Earlier last week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that the airstrikes against Kurdish militants were only the beginning.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined later on Monday that his country is committed to destroying the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) "until its last militant is neutralized."
"The Istiklal attack completely changed the process... No matter where it comes from, we continue to work to end this threat. Our operations will continue," the spokesperson continued, claiming that earlier operations carried out by his country have thwarted a terrorist belt from forming between Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean.
"Our President (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) has called for a safe zone for world leaders since the (former U.S. President Barack) Obama administration. If it had been a safe zone (30 kilometers deep), there would have been neither such migration nor terrorist attacks."
Turkish President also mentioned on Monday that "the terrorist organization (PKK and YPG), which has suffered great losses in operations Turkey carried out along its southern borders, showed its dirty face by shedding the blood of innocents with its mortar attacks on civilian settlements on our borders," in reference to the shelling of Turkish villages from territories in northern Syria controlled by the Kurdish militants.
"We repeat once again our commitment to destroy the terrorist group that murdered a 5-year-old boy and a 22-year-old teacher in the attack in Gaziantep's (border) district of Karkamis, until its last militant is neutralized," the President added.
"We do not need to get permission from anyone while taking steps concerning the security of our homeland and our people, and we will not be held accountable to anyone," he stated.
Turkey announced earlier this month the launch of "Operation Claw-Sword" offensive with air raids targeting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in both Iraq and Syria.
The raids come days after Ankara accused the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) of being behind the Istanbul attack that resulted in the death of six people, which the movement categorically denied.
Russia has asked Turkey to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, senior Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentyev said on Wednesday, because such actions could trigger an escalation of violence.
"We hope our arguments will be heard in Ankara and other ways of resolving the problem will be found," he said, after a fresh round of Syria talks with Turkish and Iranian delegations in Kazakhstan.