Turkey has allegedly suspended its plans to launch a new military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish militia, following pressure from Russia and the United States, the Middle East Monitor reported on Tuesday.
According to anonymous Turkish diplomatic sources, cited by The Syrian Observer and The New Arab media outlets, Ankara has decided to suspend the military operation it was planning into northern Syria at least for a while.
The sources reportedly said that “Ankara has suspended operations for the time being.”
Following an attack in Turkish territory from the northern Syrian region of Azaz last month that killed two Turkish police officers, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the country had lost its patience with the Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and would launch a new military operation against it.
Talks have been under way since then, with Russia and the US — which back the YPG and its affiliated militias — reportedly pressuring Turkey to abandon plans for the operation.
If the reports that the military operation’s suspension prove to be true, it would come only weeks after Turkey’s parliament extended the military’s mandate to launch cross-border operations in Syria and Iraq by two more years. The motion was first approved in 2013 to support the international campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and has since been renewed annually.
The AKP and its election partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), voted in favor of the extension of the mandate, along with the opposition İYİ (Good) Party.
For the first time since 2013, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voted against the measure, along with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Turkey and its proxies have seized control of territory inside Syria over several military operations launched since 2016 against ISIL and the YPG.
Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a deadly war against the Turkish state that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.