Turkey’s preparations for the operation to purge Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist elements from Syria’s northwestern Afrin district are complete. Two brigades of specially-trained Turkish soldiers will take part in the upcoming operation in Afrin. The commander of the second army, Lieutenant General Metin Temel will command these brigades.
Unlike Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, in which a sweeping operation was conducted against the Daesh terrorist organization in Syria, an “outflanking maneuver” will be implemented against PKK/PYD elements in Afrin.
As for the ongoing announcements by the TAF and the Turkish government on Turkey’s plan to conduct an operation in Syria’s Afrin, they have been shared in order to lead the citizens in Afrin to abandon the city so that they do not get harmed during the operations.
TAF’s outflanking maneuver
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) plan to flank PKK/PYD terrorist targets in Afrin from all directions (Hatay, Kilis, Azaz, Tell Rifaat, Idlib).
A severe final blow will be struck when logistics, especially from the airports in Tel Rifaat and Minnigh, are blocked by the TAF. The operation’s primary goal will be to strike a major blow on the main points where the terrorist organization is active, cornering it and forcing it to surrender.
Air-supported land operation
The Afrin operation differs from the one conducted in al-Bab in certain aspects. The Euphrates Shield Operation basically depended on the use of armored vehicles due to the smooth land structure in Azaz, Jarabulus and al-Bab. The operation in Afrin, on the other hand, is planned to be an “air-supported land operation” because of the steep, rocky and woody land structure of the district. In this respect, Turkish commandos, Special Forces and infantry troops will be prominently assigned to this particular operation.
Turkish air forces will provide assistance in the case that terrorists escape to mountainous areas. Considering that the terrorists move in small groups, to avoid any harm befalling civilians in the area, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) will be utilized during the operation. The armored troops stationed at the Turkish-Syrian border, on the other hand, will serve as “remote support.”
Turkish Special Forces on the field
Specially trained commandos will also serve in the operation to prevent PKK/PYD terrorists positioned along the Amanus mountain range on the Syrian border from escaping to Turkey. Turkish Naval Commandos (SAT) will also be on duty lest bomb-laden tunnels are detonated or traps and handmade explosives are activated.
Free Syrian Army as vanguards
The commander of the second army, Lieutenant General Metin Temel, who manages both the establishment of checkpoints in Idlib and the preparations for the Afrin operation, will command the brigades during the operation which will also be assisted by almost 5,000 soldiers from the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Acting as vanguards, these soldiers will eradicate PKK/PYD elements in Afrin with the help of TAF. Additionally, tribes that are against the PKK/PYD occupation will take precaution against any threats that could come from the east of the Euphrates and Manbij.
High-end security measures on the border
Necessary high-end security measures have been taken by the TAF on the 911-kilometer-long Turkish-Syrian border against any threat and harassment of the PKK/PYD terrorists equipped with state-of-the-art weapons sent by the U.S. Security measures have been maximized, at both in- and cross-border levels, to cover any threat and harassments from Manbij and the east of the Euphrates targeting the safe zone established during the Euphrates Shield Operation.
Unmanned combat aerial vehicles
PKK/PYD targets have been detected by UCAV’s, border surveillance and the troops on the field. Every move of the PKK/PYD terrorists are under surveillance in the region and the coordinates are constantly updated to include new positions created.
The TAF is at the ready and has taken every precaution against any sort of traps the PKK may have prepared, including trenches, bomb-laden tunnels and handmade explosives, which Turkish forces have gained extensive experience in against Daesh in the Euphrates Shield operation.
In the wide-ranging Euphrates Shield Operation launched in August 2016, the Free Syrian Army -- with the support of the Turkish army -- had cleared 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of land along the Turkish-Syrian border of terrorist elements.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military People’s Protection Units (YPG) wing are Syrian branches of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States