MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. The Turkish General Staff has deployed about 50 tanks to the Syrian border amid the preparation for a new military operation in Syria, TV channel Haberturk reported on Saturday.
The tanks were deployed yesterday morning under the command of the 20th armored brigade in the city of Sanliurfa. The equipment was deployed from Hatay Province. It was reported that in the future military equipment will be located directly on the Syrian border.
During the last several weeks Ankara has been reinforcing garrisons and army units with armored and support vehicles and artillery weapons. It is linked to the preparation for a new military operation of Turkey in Syria in the Manbij area, which entered its active stage following US President Donald Trump's declaration of the upcoming withdrawal of the American forces from Syria. Manbij is one of the largest Kurdish centers in eastern Syria, and Ankara believes that Kurds should leave it and give the city to the Arab population of the country.
The Kurdish troops tried to refrain from direct confrontation with the Syrian government and did not support the opposition, demanding autonomy. The Kurds found themselves in isolation facing the threat of the Turkish invasion and addressed Damascus for help on Friday, suggesting that the army should occupy the regions in Manbij controlled by them. The Syrian General Staff reported on Friday that the government forces entered Manbij, but the Turkish side did not comment on this information.
On December 12, the Turkish president reported the intention to start an operation in the coming days against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and the Democratic Union, which Ankara considers to be the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. Before that, Turkey already held two military operations on Syrian territory: Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, as a result of which a buffer zone of security was created between the bordering cities of Azaz and Jarabulus, and the Afrin region, which is populated by Kurds, was occupied.