ANKARA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's military is gearing up for an all-out offensive on areas currently held by Kurdish militia in northern Syria, local media reported on Thursday.
The Turkish military is expected to launch an operation near the Turkish border town of Kilis to take Afrin, Tell Rifaat and Minnigh Military Airport, held by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Daily Sabah reported.
Turkish troops, which have been building up its presence at the Syrian border for a long time, is likely to kick off the operation to sweep PYD and YPG (People's Protection Units), terrorists from Afrin this weekend, it quoted military sources as saying.
This new offensive could be similar to the Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on August 24, 2016, and ended in March this year.
Tensions between Turkey and the PYD and YPG forces have been escalating recently. Late Tuesday, Turkish army retaliated with artillery fire at the YPG forces in northern Syria after the Kurdish militia targeted Turkey-backed rebels.
Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) outlawed for its decades of armed struggle for autonomy in southeastern Turkey, a predominantly Kurdish region. But the United States regards the Kurdish militia as a reliable force to fight the Islamic State terrorists in Syria.