Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Saturday, October 5, that Turkey will launch a military operation in northeastern Syria in an attempt to expel Syrian Kurdish (People's Protection Units; YPG) forces from the Turkish border. Erdoğan stated that the air and ground operations could start "as soon as today or tomorrow," and will extend 30 km (19 mi) behind Syria's northeastern border. Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group in Turkey. The YPG, which leads the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and exercises effective control over Syria's northeastern region, stated on Saturday that it will respond to any Turkish military action with force.
A heightened security presence is expected in northeastern Syria over the coming days and weeks. Violent clashes between opposing security forces cannot be ruled out.
To date, the Syrian conflict involves many parties, including the Syrian, Russian, Iranian, and Turkish governments, as well as a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) often with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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