ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey has reached the final stage of preparations for its new military operations in the neighboring Syria, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.
“We are at the last stage of preparations for increasing the number of regions in Syria, where we have provided stability through ‘the Euphrates Shield’ and ‘the Olive Branch’ operations. With God's help, we will liberate new territories in the near future and bring security there,” Erdogan said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.
The president noted that 250,000 people have returned to the places where Turkey had held its military operations. [Pundita comment: How many people were displaced by these operations and how long were they displaced?]
Turkish troops, in cooperation with Syrian opposition groups loyal to Ankara, have participated in a number of military operations in Syria, mostly against Kurdish militants.
In January 2018 Ankara launched on operation in Afrin calledOperation Olive Branchaimed to "clear" Turkey's Syrian border from the terrorist threat. Another operation dubbedEuphrates Shieldwas a 2016-2017 cross-border campaign which was, according to Ankara, aimed against terrorists allegedly threatening Turkish security. Damascus has condemned Turkey's military operations, saying they violate the Syrian sovereignty.