JUST IN: Erdogan announces Turkish operation in North-Syria’s Tel Rifaat and Manbij

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey will rid Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas of terrorists and its planned military operations will gradually continue in other parts of northern Syria.

His comments, in a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party, came a week after he pledged a new military incursion on Turkey’s southern border targeting the U.S.-backed Syrian-Kurdish militia YPG, which Ankara views as a terrorist group through its heavy affiliations with the PKK.

A “suicide drone” belonging to the Turkish army targeted a women’s clinic in the town of “Tel Rifaat” in Al-Shahba region, causing no casualties, this morning, in what seems like the first attack of the announced operation.

By seizing Tel Rifaat, Turkey would be able to block fully the YPG’s access to Afrin, keep Syrian government forces in northern Aleppo under pressure, and pave the way for cooperation between rebel groups in the Aleppo countryside and Idlib.

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