Turkiye seeks Russian approval for air offensive in northern Syria
Turkiye has been preparing a new invasion of northern Syria to target US-sponsored Kurdish groups
By News Desk - December 26 2022

(Photo credit: Turkish Defense Ministry)

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar revealed on 24 December that discussions are being held with Russia to use the airspace above northern Syria for a potential cross-border operation that targets Kurdish militant groups.

“We are in talks and discussing with Russia all issues, including opening the airspace,” Akar stated during his end-of-year address.

With these talks, Turkiye is following in the footsteps of Israel, which coordinates all of its attacks inside Syria with the Russian army.

Turkiye has been launching indiscriminate artillery attacks across northern Syria and Iraq over recent months, targeting positions held by the People Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK —considered a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the EU, and the US. However, Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and considers it a valuable asset as the group makes up the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Since last month, the Turkish army has been readying a ground offensive into northern Syria after a deadly terror attack in Istanbul, which was blamed on Kurdish militants.

US officials, however, have repeatedly warned Ankara against any cross-border incursion, as their attacks have already caused disruptions to their oil trafficking campaign in northeast Syria, which is conducted in coordination with the SDF.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed that message in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart. On the same day, the head of CENTCOM expressed his apprehension about Turkiye invading northern Syria.

The Pentagon recently confirmed it has stepped up military raids in Syria, conducting nearly a dozen helicopter and ground operations this month to allegedly capture ISIS elements.

The US maintains about 1,000 service members at different occupation bases inside Syria, mainly controlling the nation’s vast oilfields.

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