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.
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: