People in northern Syria’s opposition-held Azaz want Türkiye and the Syrian National Army (SNA) to carry out an operation in Tal Rifaat to clear the region of PKK/YPG terrorists.
A crowd gathered after the Friday prayers in Azaz, which neighbors the terrorist-occupied district of Tal Rifaat, to protest the attacks organized by the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
The demonstrators came together in support of a possible ground operation by Türkiye and the SNA. People participating in the demonstration chanted “Syria is ours” and “We do not want a terrorist group in our lands.”
In the speeches made at the demonstration, people from Tal Rifaat also said that they wanted to return to their homes and that they would support Türkiye until the end in the operation.
Early Sunday, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing, the YPG, which have illegal hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil. The country’s air operation followed a PKK/YPG terrorist attack on Nov. 13 on Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Street that killed six people and left 81 injured.
After the air operation was launched, President Erdoğan also signaled a ground operation in northern Iraq and northern Syria to eliminate the terror threat, saying: “This is not limited to just an air operation.”
The Turkish leader has threatened a new military operation into northern Syria since May and upped those threats in the wake of this month’s attack. Erdoğan has repeatedly called for a 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) “safe zone” to protect Türkiye against cross-border attacks from Syrian territory.
The president specified northern Syria’s YPG-controlled Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Ain al-Arab (Kobani) regions as possible targets to clear of terrorists.
The PKK/YPG mostly carries out terrorist attacks in Manbij, Ain al-Arab and the Tal Rifaat district of Aleppo. The terrorist group uses those areas as bases for its attacks.
Türkiye will complete a safe zone near its Syrian borders from east to west, President Erdoğan said Friday.