Turkey plans to build two new military bases in Northern Syria
Turkey is planning to build two new military bases in Northern Syria, Iran-based Press TV reported on Sunday, citing Syrian local media sources.
The two facilities are believed to be constructed near Deir Balut and al-Ghazawiyah crossings, which links the northern regions of Aleppo to neighboring Idlib, it said.
Turkish forces have been stationed in the region where the bases are expected to be built, but the construction has not started yet, Press TV said, citing a top Free Syrian Army (FSA) member speaking to Enab Baladi, a Syrian media organization.
Turkey has carried out three military operations into northern Syria since 2016 to combat Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed militant group that Ankara sees as an offshoot of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The YPG is allied with the West in a fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), forming the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The crossings link the regions controlled by Turkish-backed Syrian fractions from the so-called FSA to the areas controlled by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants, Press Tv said.
It remains unclear whether Turkey intends to establish permanent or temporary bases, the high-ranking FSA member said.
Turkey in June threatened a fresh offensive into Northern Syria but international pressure led the Turkish government to soften its tone and praise dialogue with its southern neighbor.
However, the Damascus Administration last month said it has two conditions to restore relations with Turkey.
Ankara should "stops its occupation of the northern Syrian regions and does not provide support to terrorist groups," said Boutros Merjaneh, the Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Syrian Parliament, in an interview with Russian Izvestia.
“First of all, Turkey must admit that it has invaded Syrian lands and harbored gangs that were classified as terrorist by a UN Security Council resolution. Also, Turkey needs to be ready to withdraw from occupied Syrian territory, and then yes, Syria will be ready to develop relations," Merjaneh said.