Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 13
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The anti-terrorist operation planned to be held by the Turkish armed forces in northern Syria will be the third operation over the recent years, but obviously it will not be the last one.
A complete cleansing of Syria from the terrorists, who currently control about 30 percent of the country's territory, is not easy even for the Turkish army - one of the strongest NATO armies.
The first operation was called the Euphrates Shield, the second one - the Olive Branch, in which the Free Syrian Army also took part. It is not excluded that the new military operation will be called Tigris Shield.
The Operation Euphrates Shield was conducted in northern Syria against "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist organization. The Operation Olive Branch, which was also carried out in northern Syria, was directed against PYD/YPG, the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently stated about the beginning of new military operations in northern Syria against PYD/YPG.
It is clear that the matter rests in clearing Syria’s Manbij from the PYD/YPG terrorists.
The terrain in Manbij is flat, which facilitates holding the operation as opposed to Afrin, where the Operation Olive Branch was conducted.
But on the other hand, there are the US and French military contingents in Manbij, which complicates the military operation as opposed to Afrin.
Another important factor is that as opposed to Afrin, terrorists have heavy military equipment in Manbij, which was provided by the US, and as is known, the US is not considered an ally of Turkey any more due to this incident.
It is not excluded that taking all this into account, the Turkish Armed Forces will conduct the operation in several stages. At the first stage, jets will be used, at the second stage - artillery, at third stage - infantry, i.e. troops of the Free Syrian Army.
No matter how the new anti-terrorist operation is held, it can be considered the second round of the US-Turkish battle in Syria.
Rufiz Hafizoglu, deputy editor-in-chief of Trend
Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu