Turkey’s president, in his strongest warning yet, threatened Saturday to launch a military operation into northeastern Syria, where U.S. troops are deployed and have been trying to defuse tensions between Washington’s two allies — Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.
Turkey’s combative president is threatening to launch a military operation in northeastern Syria that is designed to push back U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces — an invasion that carries major risks for a highly combustible region in war-devastated Syria.
Relations between Turkey and Russia are cozy, prompting worries in the West of a potentially critical rift in the NATO alliance. But Turkey’s president may be engaged in a balancing act, tactically turning to Russia as ties with the United States further deteriorate over the detention of an American pastor.
Shots were fired from a moving car at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey before dawn Monday, an attack that came during heightened tensions between the two NATO allies. Officials said two people with criminal records were detained.
Turkey's president said Sunday the Turkish military and allied Syrian forces have taken "total" control of the town center of Afrin, the target of a nearly two-month-old offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia, which said fighting was still underway.
Turkey said eight of its troops were killed Saturday in Ankara’s military operation against a Syrian Kurdish militia, the deadliest day in the two-week-old offensive in the enclave of Afrin, while in another part of Syria, al-Qaida-linked militants downed a Russian fighter jet, then shot and killed the pilot.
Turkish forces on Sunday shelled areas along its border with Syria’s northwestern province, an area dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants, as Turkey’s president says an operation in the area to enforce a “de-escalation” zone was underway “without problems.”
Turkey’s president announced Saturday that the country has launched a “serious” operation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province with Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, following international efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.