Doctors from major cities in Turkey have been sent to two southern provinces in preparation for a possible incursion into northern Syria, security sources said on Friday.
“Doctors have been suspended for preparations for a possible cross-border operation”, a senior security official said.
“We’ve been preparing for a long time, now we’ve reached a stage where the operation can be carried out at any time that seems necessary”.
Another security source said doctors from major cities had been sent to the provinces of sanlıurfa and Mardin in preparation for a possible incursion.
The source added: “President Erdogan talked clearly about Turkey’s concern about the presence of the Democratic Union Party and the YPG in Syria and pointed to a possible military operation if no progress is made in the second half of September”.
Turkey and the United States are working to establish a safe area in northern Syria on the border with Turkey.
Erdogan is expected to discuss plans for the so-called “safe zone” on the Syrian border, some 450 kilometers east of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border, with US President Donald Trump this week.
Turkey has already carried out two incursions targeting the YPG in Syria.
Earlier, Turkey has suggested the establishment of permanent military bases in the safe area to be established in northern Syria, coordinated by the US-Turkey, amid a dispute between Washington and Ankara over the nature of the work of their respective forces in these areas.
The Turkish defense minister, Hulusi Akar, has threatened to end cooperation with the United States over Syria’s “safe area” if Washington uses what he calls “stalling and delays” over its establishment.
The Turkish defense minister threatened that Ankara would build military bases on its own in the safe area if Washington “procrastinates” on the establishment of the area, noting that the number of such bases “will be determined from the situation on the ground”.
Ankara appears to be seeking to establish military bases in the safe area of Syria, as it did in northern Iraq, where it has set up more than 20 military bases there.