Turkey is sending reinforcements to its border with Syria, Demiroren News Agency (DHA) reported on Sunday, adding that some 100 vehicles including mounted pickup trucks and weaponry had made their way to the area.
The heightened military activity comes days after President Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would postpone a planned military operation on the YPG terror group in northern Syria after the United States decided to withdraw from Syria.
DHA said the Turkish convoy, headed toward the border district of Kilis, located in the southern province of Hatay, included tanks, howitzers, machine guns and buses carrying commandos.
Part of the military equipment and personnel are to be positioned in posts along the border while some had crossed into Syria via the district of Elbeyli, DHA said.
Elbeyli is located 45 kilometres (27.96 miles) from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, which has been a major flashpoint between Ankara and Washington. In June, the NATO allies reached an agreement that would see the YPG ousted from the area but Turkey has said the roadmap has been delayed.
Erdoğan said on Friday that Turkey will take over the fight against Daesh terrorists in Syria as the United States withdraws its troops, adding that the planned operation would target the YPG terror group, as well as Daesh.
A possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 – Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch – both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The YPG is its Syrian extension.