Recent footage revealed that the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) continue to dig ditches and tunnels in the areas they hold in northern Syria. The terrorist organization has long been preparing for a possible cross-border operation as Turkish officials say that Ankara will not remain silent with the presence of PKK-affiliated militants near the Turkish border. Recently, Anadolu Agency revealed video footage in the tunnels dug by the terrorist organization in the provinces near the Turkish-Syrian border including Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, Qamishli and al-Malikiyah. The militants also opened new tunnels and extended existing ones in the cities of Manbij and Ayn al-Arab.
Turkish officials have been signaling an expansion of Ankara's military campaign into the much larger YPG territory east of the Euphrates if the threat continues. High-level officials in Ankara have also been discussing plans to establish a safe zone in northern Syria free from YPG terrorists to ensure national security.
Last December, AA obtained similar drone footage, showing the terrorists digging trenches and tunnels, presumably to hinder Turkish armored vehicles from crossing the border for an operation east of the Euphrates. They were also using cement to fortify tunnels and trenches spanning 2 meters high by 1 meter wide in order to connect their positions near the border.
The footage also showed buildings thought to be local police stations with photos of terrorists on their walls.
The YPG applied the same method in northwestern Syria's Afrin before Operation Olive Branch was launched. But the strategy eventually failed as the Turkish military, along with the Free Syria Army (FSA), liberated the city center of Afrin in two months.
Turkey recognizes the PKK and the YPG as organically linked terrorist groups. Previously, it conducted two offensives in northern Syria: Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch. The first was launched by Ankara to clear its borders of Daesh terrorists, while the second was to prevent the YPG's ultimate plan of establishing an autonomous region in northern Syria by connecting Afrin to Kobani and Jazeera.