Turkey says it will undertake a military operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria to clear Syria's northern border of the YPG, the PKK's Syrian branch, and to establish a safe zone.

On October 8, Turkey's Armed Forces announced that it's ready to fight against any terror groups posing treat to all Turkish citizens, with the understanding of “if we die we are martyrs, if we don’t, we are war veterans.”
On October 8, Turkey's Armed Forces announced that it's ready to fight against any terror groups posing treat to all Turkish citizens, with the understanding of “if we die we are martyrs, if we don’t, we are war veterans.” (Turkish Armed Forces)

Turkish Armed Forces, together with the newly regrouped opposition Syrian National Army will cross the Syrian border "shortly" to start Operation Peace Spring, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director said early on Wednesday.

The preparation for the operation was announced as the surprise decision to withdraw US troops cleared the path for the Turkish operation

Turkey has been insisting on the establishment of a safe zone in Syria for four years. 

On August 7, Turkish and US military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. 

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signalled that Turkey's operation was approaching in Syria saying that many Syrians from other countries can be settled if the safe zone is expanded and the international community comes forward with financial assistance. 

On October 4, Turkey's Defence Ministry announced that the US and Turkish troops were conducting their third joint ground patrol on Friday within a planned safe zone in northern Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish border.

On October 6, Erdogan spoke with Trump on phone, discussing the safe zone in Syria and concerns regarding YPG presence in Turkey's border. Hours after, Trump announced his decision to withdraw its troops from the country. Turkey's announcement that an operation was underway followed Trump's announcement. 

Turkish media reports say the operation started today as Turkish F-16s hit targets in Syria’s Ras Al-ayn.
This is how Turkey's preparation for its operation unfolded:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a photo as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a photo as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019. (AA)
American soldiers walk together during a joint US-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019. On October 4, Turkey's Defence Ministry announced that the US and Turkish troops were conducting their third joint ground patrol on Friday within a planned safe zone in northern Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish border.
American soldiers walk together during a joint US-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019. On October 4, Turkey's Defence Ministry announced that the US and Turkish troops were conducting their third joint ground patrol on Friday within a planned safe zone in northern Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish border. (Reuters)
In this Monday, Oct 7, 2019 photo, Turkish-backed forces from the newly regrouped Syrian National Army exercise during military training in preparation for an anticipated Turkish operation targeting YPG, Syrian affiliation of PKK, near Azaz, in north Syria, before Trump's decision to withdraw the US forces from Syria.
In this Monday, Oct 7, 2019 photo, Turkish-backed forces from the newly regrouped Syrian National Army exercise during military training in preparation for an anticipated Turkish operation targeting YPG, Syrian affiliation of PKK, near Azaz, in north Syria, before Trump's decision to withdraw the US forces from Syria. (AP)
A Turkish army officer prepares to upload a tank from a truck to its new position on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019. Tensions have risen at the border between Turkey and Syria, on the expectation of a Turkish military operation into Syria.
A Turkish army officer prepares to upload a tank from a truck to its new position on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019. Tensions have risen at the border between Turkey and Syria, on the expectation of a Turkish military operation into Syria. (AP)
A TV journalist prepares to work in front of a map showing Turkey's suggested operation in Syria, at the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019.
A TV journalist prepares to work in front of a map showing Turkey's suggested operation in Syria, at the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019. (AP)
On October 8, Turkish Armed Forces announced that it is ready to combat terror groups including Daesh, PKK and its branches YPG, PYD, SDG.
On October 8, Turkish Armed Forces announced that it is ready to combat terror groups including Daesh, PKK and its branches YPG, PYD, SDG. (Turkish Armed Forces)
A man steps down from a tank as Turkish Armed Forces drive towards the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 8, 2019.
A man steps down from a tank as Turkish Armed Forces drive towards the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
This picture shows artillery pieces on the Turkish side of the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 8, 2019.
This picture shows artillery pieces on the Turkish side of the border with Syria near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on October 8, 2019. (Reuters)
Local residents applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces vehicles and trucks carrying tanks and armoured personnel carriers are driven in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019.
Local residents applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces vehicles and trucks carrying tanks and armoured personnel carriers are driven in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019. (AP)
Source: TRT World