Turkey wants to take military action against Kurdish groups in northern Syria. Russia and Iran are opposed to an offensive. But Ankara does not appear to be deterred.
Turkey has sharpened its tone towards Iran and Russia ahead of possible attacks on Kurdish fighters in Syria. Turkey will "never ask for permission for our military operations against terrorism," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. "It can happen suddenly one night," he said, referring to the start of a possible offensive.
At a summit in Tehran on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his threat to launch a new military campaign against Kurdish groups in northern Syria. He called on Iran and Russia to "support Turkey in the fight against terrorism".
Iran and Russia reject a Turkish military operation in northern Syria, both countries maintain bases in the region. An offensive could worsen the situation in the region, affirmed Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are pursuing very different interests in Syria. While Russia and Iran support the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, Turkey is on the side of some rebel groups.
The Turkish President has been threatening to launch a new offensive against Kurdish groups in northern Syria since the end of May. Turkey is targeting several locations controlled by the Syrian-Kurdish organization YPG. This is classified as a terrorist organization by the government in Ankara, but was supported by the USA and the international coalition in the fight against the jihadist militia Islamic State (IS). Turkey wants to take military action against Kurds in northern Syria. Russia and Iran are opposed to an offensive.