Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed on Saturday to destroy Kurdish forces in the Aleppo city of Afrin.
His comments came after Turkish shelled Kurdish villages in the north-western Syrian city earlier on Saturday.
Turkish forces were supposed to be in Idlib to monitor its status as a de-escalation zone, as part of an agreement with Russia and Iran.
Instead, it will pursue its vendetta against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) around Afrin, which Erdoğan has said is trying to create a “terror corridor” in the country.
“If the terrorists in Afrin don’t surrender we will tear them down,” Erdoğan said on Saturday.
Turkish and Syrian rebel forces entered northern Syria in 2016, ostensibly to fight the Islamic State. However, they have seemed more focused on attacking Kurdish forces. The combined forces were able to capture the Islamic State-held town of Dabiq while also fighting Kurdish forces in Manbij.
“With the Euphrates Shield operation, we cut the terror corridor right in the middle” said Erdoğan on Saturday, according to Reuters, referring to the northern Syria operation. “We hit them one night suddenly. With the Idlib operation, we are collapsing the western wing.”
“In Manbij, if they break the promises, we will take the matter in our own hands until there are no terrorists left. They will see what we’ll do in about a week,” he said.
Turkish fear of Kurdish forces has proved complicated for mutual allies, such as the US. Ankara fears that Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have advanced in their battle with Islamic State, allowing them to use these territories as a base from which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) can attack Turkey.
The PKK has led a decades-long insurgency against what they see as Turkish occupation.
Erdoğan also called out US support for the Syrian Democratic Forces.
“The US sent 4,900 trucks of weapons in Syria. We know this. This is not what allies do… We know they sent 2,000 planes full of weapons,” the president said on Saturday.