Days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that Turkey would soon stage operations in Afrin and Manbij, Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) militants who control Afrin attacked the Turkish armed forces’ observation point in Idlib with mortars on Monday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to Anadolu, the Turkish forces retaliated immediately and no casualties were reported.
Turkish troops on Oct. 12 entered Idlib and established 12 observation and security posts as part of the Astana Process with Iran and Russia.
Turkey views the PYD as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We will also save Afrin, and we will deliver Manbij to its original owners. We will clear terrorist organizations out of all areas,” Erdoğan said on Friday.
Erdoğan on Nov. 13 said Turkey was discussing with Russia possible steps in the Afrin region of Syria.
Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016, and March 2017.
More than 70 soldiers were lost during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was evaluated as a strategic move to prevent unification of areas controlled by the Kurdish PYD.
Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean while assessing Turkish military operations in the Idlib region of Syria.
The Turkish president on Aug. 23 had said the PYD was trying to create a corridor to the Mediterranean in northern Syria, warning that Turkey would not allow this whatever the cost.
“Afrin [a Kurdish canton in northern Syria] is indeed a PYD project to reach the Mediterranean Sea. We will not permit a terror corridor in northern Syria having access to the Mediterranean. We will intervene whatever the cost,” said Erdoğan.