Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Turkey took a decision together with Russia regarding the ground operation against North and East Syria and asked for support from Russia for implementation.
Erdoğan, who did not provide information about exactly when the ground operations would start, said, “We have a target, especially at a depth of 30 kilometres from the border to the south.”
“Unfortunately, our country is constantly under the threat of terrorists from this region. Lately, this has increased dramatically. It is not possible for us to remain silent against them,” the President added.
Contrary to this, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian media on Monday that Moscow was continuing efforts to persuade Ankara to give up plans to launch a ground operation against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.
Turkish forces have been bombarding Kurdish armed groups across the border in North and East Syria since 19 November and the Turkish government have been repeatedly announcing that a ground operation is on the cards.
The Turkish Defence Ministry had said that, in conducting air strikes against northeast Syria and northern Iraq, Turkey is exercising its right of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in response to a 13 November bomb attack in Istanbul that killed six people.
However, international law experts do not agree with the way Turkey is exercising its right of self-defence.