The Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan is trying to divert attention away from the economic crisis facing his country, after the recent collapse of the lira, through threatening to carry out more military operations in Syria.
Addressing his people at his AK Party’s provincial headquarters in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, President Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to create more safe areas in Syria. This comes as Turkey is carrying out an offensive in northern Syria’s Afrin region against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish militants waging an insurgency on Turkish soil.
Afrin military campaign is Turkey’s second cross-border operation during Syria’s seven-year-old civil war. The first, dubbed “Euphrates Shield”, targeted Islamic State and Kurdish fighters further east than Afrin, and was completed in early 2017.
Erdogan said diplomatic and military efforts in Syria’s Idlib province, where Turkey has set up a dozen military observation posts, had been intensified to avoid a “catastrophe” like those seen in other parts of Syria.
Furthermore, he pointed out Turkey was taking steps to save Iraq’s Qandil area from being a "nest of terror", noting that northern Iraq’s Sinjar region could be included in this process if needed.
The Turkish army has ramped up operations in northern Iraq, with the aim of destroying Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in the Qandil mountains, where high-ranking members of the militant group are thought to be located.
Turkey is currently working to create a Syrian opposition army called the "National Army" to undermine Syrian army operations to regain control of northwestern Syria. The step is a key element in the Turkish-backed opposition plans to secure the last part of one of the major stronghold of the opposition in Syria. The presence of Turkish troops on reality helped to protect such arae from strikes of the Syrian army.
The project of the so-called the "national army" was attacked, as a number of recruits were wounded on Aug. 5 when their graduation ceremony in the city of al-Bab was shelled. The national army consists of some 35,000 armed men. The Turkish support to this army includes providing salaries to militants, offering assistance in all fields, physical, logistical and weapons.