Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also considering ground offensives after airstrikes on Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. There is no question that one is not limited to air operations, "a decision must be made on how many forces from the ground forces have to participate, and then steps are taken," Erdogan said, according to the state news agency Anadolu. He wasn't more specific.
Turkey took action against the YPG and the banned Kurdish Workers' Party PKK on Sunday night with numerous airstrikes in northern Iraq and northern Syria. At least 35 people were killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Kurdish militias had announced retaliation.
Turkey: Three dead after shelling from Syria
Erdogan said the offensive had not been discussed in advance with either the United States or Russia, and that Turkey did not have to obtain permission. Moscow and Washington had previously warned Ankara against an offensive in northern Syria. Erdogan had already announced such an offensive in the middle of the year. Russia is supporting government troops in the Syrian civil war, while the United States sees the YPG as a partner in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia.
The Turkish government linked its airstrikes to an attack on Istanbul's Istiklal shopping street a week ago on Sunday. She sees the YPG and PKK as masterminds behind the attack; both had refused. The investigations in Turkey are still ongoing. The Turkish government classifies the YPG and PKK as terrorist organizations.
Among others, Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) has sharply criticized the Turkish attacks on Kurdish positions. He wrote on Twitter: "Erdogan's bombs on Kurds, which successfully fought IS terrorists, are intended to distract attention from the economic disaster in Turkey."