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Turkish army ready for another operation in Syria, defense minister says

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Turkey’s armed forces are ready for another cross-border operation in northern Syria, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.

“The Turkish armed forces are ready for any tasks [in northern Syria],” Turkey’s TRT television channel quoted the minister as saying.

Akar also pledged to continue the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the so-called National Defense Forces (NDF), a Syrian force Ankara believes has links to the PKK, till the last terrorist is eliminated.

On May 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was getting ready for another military operation in northern Syria with a view to expanding the 30-kilometer security zone established following the operation Peace Spring in October 2019. A new operation may be launched soon, with plans to involve about 50,000 Turkish troops and Syrian opposition militants backed by Turkey, local media reported.

As a result of Turkey’s previous operations in northern Syria, a security zone was established between the towns of Azaz and Jerablus north of Aleppo, Afrin was occupied, and the border areas east of the Euphrates River were taken under control.

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