Turkey says it will cross into Syria 'shortly,' issues warning to Kurdish fighters

Source: The Hill | October 8, 2019 | Tal Axelrod

The Turkish government said Tuesday that it will cross into northeastern Syria “shortly,” and issued a warning to local Kurdish forces.

“The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly. YPG militants have two options: They can defect or we will have [to] stop them from disrupting our counter-ISIS efforts,” Turkish government spokesperson Fahrettin Altun tweeted, referring to the Kurdish militia that has worked closely with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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The tweet comes after reports that Istanbul bombed the Syrian-Iraqi border in anticipation of an offensive against Kurdish forces, which lead the U.S.-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Turkey has long viewed Kurdish groups in northern Syria as linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is labeled a terrorist organization by both Washington and Ankara.

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