Turkey security council greenlights Afrin assault

Turkey’s National Security Council (MGK) has issued a statement recommending “immediate and decisive steps” to eliminate threats to Turkey from western Syria.

The MGK is the institution that shapes Turkey’s security policy, comprising the Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, cabinet ministers, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The council issued its statement today after a meeting that covered Turkey’s imminent offensive against Afrin, a majority-Kurdish region in northwest Syria near the border with Turkey.

Preparations for the assault began after the disclosure of recent plans by the USA to set up a border force with members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group designated as terrorists by Turkey.

With the council’s strong advocacy of a military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria, the long-expected assault on Afrin appears to be close at hand.

In addition to strengthening our border security, the necessary measures will be taken, immediately and decisively, to eliminate the threat to our country from western Syria, and ensure the security of the lives and property of citizens in the region.

The MGK’s statement called the USA’s partnership with the YPG a source of worry, saying that that the USA was “arming terrorists” who were threatening Turkey.

“The formation of a terrorist army on our border will not be allowed”, said the statement, which also called for the immediate seizure of the YPG’s armaments.

The council’s meeting also resulted in the recommendation to extend the state of emergency, which has been in place since July 2016, for a further three months.