Syria: Attacking Afrin Would be ‘No Picnic’ for Turkey

Syria has threatened to destroy any Turkish warplanes that fly into Syrian territory. Syrian threat comes after Ankara’s preparation to launch a cross-border military operation.

The Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said, “We warn that the Syrian Air Force is ready to destroy Turkish air targets in the skies of Syria.”

Turkey has announced a military operation in the Afrin region in northern Syria to ‘wipe out’ the Kurdish fighter there dubbed as ‘terrorists’ in Turkey.

The Turkish officials including the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have repeatedly vowed to launch an offensive against the Syrian-Kurd militia known as YPG.

The Turkish move came after the reports revealed the U.S. plans to train the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to be part of a 30,000-strong ‘border force’.

The U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson said the reports were ‘misportrayed’ and demanded that the U.S. owed Turkey an explanation over the reports.

“That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed, some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all,” Tillerson said.

“We have ISIS still attacking in parts of northwest Syria and along the Euphrates valley, so this is just more training and trying to block ISIS from their escape routes.

“We understand why they reacted the way they did,” U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson added.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “nip this terror army (YPG) in the bud” amid the emerging reports of U.S. training them.

The Foreign Minister of Turkey Cavusoglu said, “Turkey is subject to attacks every day from Afrin. It is our right to self-defense in line with international law to take measures against a terror group surrounding us on three sides.”

Cavusoglu added: “We have informed them [US] we will be intervening in Afrin and we will take action against the threats towards us wherever they come from on the eastern side of the Euphrates, in Manbij or elsewhere.”

Protesting the Turkish preparation to launch an offensive against Afrin based Kurdish militia, Mekdad said, “We warn the Turkish leaders that if they start fighting in the region of Afrin, it will be seen as an aggression by the Turkish army against the sovereignty of Syria.” He warned that Turkish invasion of Afrin would be ‘no picnic’ for Turkey.

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