17:48 GMT +322 February 2019
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    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    Turkey Planning New Operations in Syria, Iraq Against Kurdish Armed Groups

    © AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
    Middle East
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    Turkey’s General Staff has developed a new plan of anti-terrorist operations in the region against possible attacks of the Kurdish armed groups in Syria and Iraq, local media reported on Saturday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) According to the Anadolu news agency, citing military sources, the plans imply a "resolute rebuff to any attacks of the militants of the branches of the terrorist organization PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] in Syria and Iraq".

    The military bases that are supposed to be used within the framework of the General Staff’s plan, have finished preparations for operations in the neighboring countries, the media said, adding that military equipment and several military units have been deployed to the border regions.

    According to the agency’s sources, Turkish intelligence services have organized a round-the-clock surveillance in the border region next to the territories controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Iraq and in Syria.

    Units of the opposition Syrian Liberation Army are engaged in intensive military training organized with support of the Turkish Armed Forces, the media added, explaining that the training program started on March 29 in boot camps built near the Syrian border. According to the military sources in the region, the key goal is to "build an entirely new Syrian Liberation Army, which will secure success of the new operations in Syria."

    Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. In Iraq and Syria, the Kurds are fighting against the Daesh terror group, outlawed in Russia, while in Turkey they are engaged in a conflict with state authorities. The PKK is designated as a terrorist group in Turkey, which considers the PYD and the YPG extensions of the PKK. However, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia alliance, which includes the YPG, have been receiving support from the United States in fighting against the Daesh (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) in Syria.

    Turkish forces repeatedly struck Kurdish positions in northern Syria and Iraq. Earlier in May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his US counterpart Donald Trump that, if attacked by the YPG, Turkey will respond "and no one will be consulted" prior to the action.

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