Turkey’s presidential spokesperson said plans are in place for a military operation against the majority-Kurd Efrin Canton in northwestern Syria, and that the Turkish army could move forward at any time.
Speaking on TRT TV on Thursday, October 5, İbrahim Kalın said it is unacceptable that the Kurd-led YPG has declared Efrin an autonomous canton by “creating a de facto situation” and is imposing its “tyrannical rule” on people living there.
The Efrin area is predominantly populated by Kurds and was geographically separated from the other cantons in the self-declared Democratic Federation of Northern Syria after Syrian rebels backed by Turkish armed forces captured territory held by Islamic State militants from part of the border region during last year’s Operation Euphrates Shield.
Kalın said the situation in Efrin poses a threat to Turkey’s national and border security. “Turkey will make the necessary intervention at a time and place it deems appropriate,” he said. “It could be tomorrow or next week, day or night,” he added, echoing a previous statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said Turkey could unexpectedly enter into northern Syria “in the dead of night.”
Kalın did not rule out Turkish military operations against other YPG- and SDF-held towns near the Turkish border east of Euphrates river, in the Kobanî Canton.
Territory in the fledgling DFNS is controlled by armed groups which comprise the Syrian Democratic Forces, and it contains both majority-Kurdish and Arab lands. It is governed by the autonomous Democratic Self-Administration which is structured to enforce gender equality as well as a multi-ethnic composition. Although formed by Kurds, the leadership includes Arabs, Yazidis, Syrian Christians and Turkmen.