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Jan 16 2019

80,000 soldiers ready for Turkey’s ‘’biggest cross-border op’’ - pro-gov’t newspaper

Close to 80,000 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) are prepared to take part in Turkey’s ‘’biggest cross-border operation in the country’s modern history’’ into neighbouring Syria’s Manbij and east of the Euphrates regions, pro-government Yeni Şafak daily reported.

Turkey’s third military operation into Syria will replace Ankara's 1974 deployment of 40,000 Turkish troops to the divided island of Cyprus as the country's biggest cross-border military operation to date, the newspaper said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month announced plans to launch an offensive into neighbouring Syria, targeting the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a threat and has vowed to destroy.  YPG militants have been partners to the U.S. in pushing the Islamic State (ISIS) out of most of northern Syria.

Turkey’s military offensive, however, was postponed following the U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of withdrawal from Syria on Dec. 19.

The deployment of Turkish soldiers will begin along a 500-kilometer-long front from ten different locations, 10 kilometers deep into the border, with the aim of clearing an area of 30,000 square kilometers from Kurdish militants, Yeni Şafak said.

The second phase of the attack will involve advancing ten additional kilometers from the border, it added, noting that the Turkish military have taken ‘’intel and security measures to counter any possible tribal resistance in regions east of the Euphrates.’’