December 7, 2022, A Turkish source has told Al Jazeera that Ankara has set a final deadline for Russia and the United States to prevent a ground military operation in northern Syria.
The official said on Tuesday that Turkey has demanded that Moscow and Washington press the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to withdraw within two weeks from Manbij, Tal Rifaat and Kobane (Ayn al-Arab).
Turkey will not extend that deadline, according to the official, and has warned that the alternative will be a military operation against the US-backed SDF, which is largely made up of the Kurdish-dominated People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a designated “terrorist” group in Turkey, the US, and the European Union. It has threatened a new ground operation against the groups in northern Syria since June, and has stepped up preparations since a bombing in Istanbul blamed on the PKK killed six people on November 13.
The PKK and the YPG have denied any involvement.
In response to Turkey’s demands, the Turkish official said that the US had proposed the idea of restructuring the SDF and giving a larger role to the Arab forces within it in administering the three towns that Turkey had demanded the SDF withdraw from.