Ankara is preparing for possible further military action against the PKK/YPG terror group in northern Syria if talks on the issue with the US and Russia fail, two Turkish officials said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week Ankara was determined to eliminate threats originating in northern Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week Ankara was determined to eliminate threats originating in northern Syria. (Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that in the coming period, Turkey would pursue its struggle in Syria against terror groups and the Bashar al Assad regime in "a very different way".

Turkey is preparing for possible further military action against the US-backed YPG terror group in northern Syria if talks on the issue with the United States and Russia fail, two Turkish officials said.

President Erdogan said this week Ankara was determined to eliminate threats originating in northern Syria and that the YPG terror attack that killed two Turkish police officers was "the final straw".

Turkey said the police in Syria's Azaz region were hit in a guided missile attack on Sunday launched from Tel Rifaat by the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group.

"It is essential that the areas, notably the Tel Rifaat region from which attacks are constantly carried out against us, are cleansed," one senior official told Reuters.

Turkish forces have launched three operations in the last five years, liberating hundreds of kilometres of the border strip from terrorism and pushing around 30 km into northern Syria.

READ MORE: Turkey blames US, Russia for persisting PKK/YPG attacks along Syria border

Timing unclear

The time and nature of any further Turkish military action were unclear. The official said the military and national intelligence agency (MIT) were making preparations.

"The decision for this has been taken and the necessary coordination will be done with particular countries. This subject will be discussed with Russia and the United States," he added.

The officials said Erdogan would discuss the issue with US President Joe Biden at a G20 summit of the world's major economies in Rome at the end of October.

Another official said the YPG must be pushed back at least 30 km, noting Russia was completely in control of the areas from which recent attacks had come, along with some Iranian elements.

Erdogan will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the talks with Biden, he said.

"If there is no outcome from diplomacy and the PYD does not leave these areas, an operation appears unavoidable," he said, using the abbreviation for the YPG's political wing and referring to Tel Rifaat and "several other locations".

On Monday, shells believed to have been fired from a YPG-controlled area, east of Tel Rifaat exploded in the Turkish town of Karkamis, across the border from Syria's Jarablus, causing slight damage, Turkey said.

READ MORE: The strategy behind Operation Olive Branch

Azaz and Jarablus have been under the control of the Syrian National Army since Ankara's first operation into Syria in 2016, an operation that aimed to drive Daesh and YPG terrorists away from the border.

Since then Ankara has launched two other operations in Syria against the YPG, one targeting the northwest Afrin region and one further east.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies