Turkey has said it plans a ground operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) after four days of attacks in Syria and Iraq.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that the attacks, which his defence minister said had “neutralized” 254 terrorists, were “just the beginning.”
Turkey has blamed Kurdish groups for a recent deadly bomb attack in Istanbul.
The YPG has denied involvement and said the attacks in northeast Syria had killed 30 civilians and 11 fighters.
The US defence department said the Turkish strikes had “directly threatened the safety of US personnel” working in Syria to defeat the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed militia alliance dominated by the YPG, has accused Turkey of using the bombing of Istanbul as a pretext to launch a long-planned cross-border offensive.
The Turkish army has launched three large-scale operations with allied Syrian rebel groups in northern Syria since 2016. It controls a swath of territory stretching over 325 km (200 miles) from the border.
The most recent operation, in 2019, saw Turkey capture the area between the cities of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain before Russia negotiated a ceasefire.
Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group, insisting it is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for decades. The PKK has also denied involvement in the Istanbul bombing, which killed six people on the city’s central Istiklal avenue on November 13.
In a speech to members of his AK party in parliament on Thursday, President Erdogan said Turkey’s determination to secure its border with Syria and establish a “security corridor” was “stronger than ever.”
“We continue with the air operation, and we will attack the terrorists from the ground at the most convenient time,” he warned.