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Turkey prepared to retake Syria's northern strategic city: spokesman
Turkey said on Thursday that it is prepared to carry out a cross-border operation to retake Syria's northern city of Afrin when necessary.
"We may intervene if necessary; all preparations for a cross-border military operation are completed," Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a televised interview with state-run TRT Haber channel.
"Turkey will not hesitate to act for its own security when and where it is deemed necessary," Kalin said, adding that Turkey will continue what it did in the past "because it prioritizes its own national interests."
The spokesman noted that the establishment of a de-escalation zone in rebel-held Idlib Province will start in the coming days.
Afrin, which is under the control of the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG), has been dominating Ankara's agenda for a long time.
In fear of the establishment of an autonomous terrorist state along its southern border, Ankara has been mulling over driving the YPG from the strategic city.
The Turkish army has long been reinforcing its military deployment on the Syrian border in case of a threat to its territory.
Turkey sees the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing YPG as the Syrian affiliates of Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.
[Source: Xinhua, Ankara, 05Oct17]
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