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    A Turkish military armored vehicle drives in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, Syria January 5, 2017

    What Could Prompt Turkey to Launch Operation Euphrates Shield 2.0

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    The Turkish leadership is likely to announce new security initiatives in Syria since Ankara failed to reach all of its objectives in the neighboring Arab country during the course of its recently-concluded Operation Euphrates Shield, anti-terrorism expert and former Turkish special forces operative Abdullah Agar told Sputnik Turkey.

    "Turkey has been unable to achieve all of its goals as part of Operation Euphrates Shield since the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) received support in the region," he said. "The Turkish military failed to complete its missions in and near the Syrian cities of Manbij and Tell Rifaat since Kurdish forces and the Syrian Arab Army reached an agreement on transferring control over these areas."

    Ankara launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 to push Daesh out of cities and settlements located on Syria's border with Turkey. The military intervention was also aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and linking areas they control into a single border region.

    On Wednesday, the National Security Council announced that Ankara formally ended the campaign, saying that it was a success. The council did not specify whether Turkey plans to pull its forces from the region.

    Agar's stance reflects Ankara's official position on the issue. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other high-ranking officials maintain that the Syrian Kurds, particularly the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    Ankara considers the PKK and any groups it believes are in contact with it to be terrorist organizations, which are trying to carve out an independent state in Turkey and Syria. The PYD, one of the leading Kurdish political parties in Syria, has denied these allegations. 

    Agar, a retired Turkish army commando who took part in military operations in Syria, pointed out that Ankara launched a large-scale military intervention in northern Syria to deal with security threats posed by Daesh and the Kurds. In addition, the Turkish leadership wanted to create a safe zone for 3.5 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.

    The security analyst mentioned two goals that Turkish authorities pursue in Syria at the moment. "On the one hand, they want the situation to be stabilized so that the peace process could be launched. On the other hand, they want to prevent the Syrian Kurds from radicalizing through the PKK," he said.

    The Turkish leadership could launch a new military operation in Syria to achieve these goals, the analyst suggested.

    "Taking this into account, Turkey is likely to come up with a series of new initiatives with regard to ensuring its national security, strengthening its unitary state and fighting terrorism," he said. "I have my own theories on this issue, but I don't think it is correct to share them at the moment. I think it is reasonable to wait and see how the events will unfold."

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    Syrian crisis, Syrian Kurds, military operation in Syria, Turkish Kurds, military operation, Syrian conflict, security, Operation Euphrates Shield, Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Turkey, Syria
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