ANKARA - Earlier, the Turkish Defence Minister announced that the country was “intensely” preparing to launch another operation against Syrian Kurds in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates. The announcement came the day after the US had decided to withdraw its troops from Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that following a telephone talk with US President Donald Trump on 14 December he decided to postpone the beginning of the military operation in Syria.

“The decision to conduct the operation east of the Euphrates is made, but, following the talks with Trump and the recent events, we chose to postpone its start”, Erdogan said.

The Turkish president also shared that Trump made his decision to withdraw American troops from the Arab Republic after he promised that Turkey would clear all remaining Daesh* forces from Syria.

Turkish troops take control of Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018

During his speech, Erdogan also assured that Turkey doesn’t have any claims on Syrian territories, but has been forced “to take steps to stabilise the situation in Syria”. He stressed that Ankara “will not make any concessions”, when the country’s national security is at stake.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar announced on 20 December that Turkey was “intensely” preparing to launch another operation against Syrian Kurds, to take place in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates. The announcement came the day after the US stated that it will be withdrawing its troops from Syria within the next 100 days.

The Turkish operation in Syria will be aimed at taking down YPG forces in Syria. Previously, Ankara accused Washington of supplying the group with weaponry, despite it being deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey.

Turkey accuses Syrian Kurds of conducting terrorist activities along with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara has been fighting the latter since the 1980s, when the group first demanded autonomy for Kurdish-populated territories. Turkey insists that the latter resorted to conducting terror attacks in pursuit of its goals and outlawed the PKK as a terrorist group.