Turkey’s National Security Council has officially announced the end of its Euphrates Shield military operation into Syria and deemed it “successfully completed” in accomplishing the mission of “preventing the threat from Daesh and (enabling the) return of Syrian refugees to their homes.”
Buttressing on the same matter, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim hinted that the end of the operation does not mean that Ankara would not be involved militarily in Syria if the need arises but “any operation following this one will have a different name.”
Euphrates Shield Operation was launched in August last year after Turkey felt that the presence of the Islamic State militants near its border threatened its national security. There were also concerns about the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the area considering that Ankara is battling with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near its border with Iraq.
Yildirim said “everything is under control” after the operation cleared around 100km of the border including stopping the YPG from crossing the Euphrates westwards and linking up three mainly Kurdish cantons it holds in northern Syria.
The Kurds are aspiring to establish an independent state in the region but Turkey is not supportive of the idea because it could lead to territorial loss since it has its own large Kurdish minority within its borders and close to the affected areas.
The Syrian war has led to strategic evaluations in Ankara. Analysts believe that the increasing role of the YPG and its coordination with the U.S. has forced Turkish authorities to lower their call for the ousting of President Assad from power.