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Erdogan Warns of Syria Offensive Ahead of Talks With Putin

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, gestures as he speaks during joint news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (not pictured) in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, gestures as he speaks during joint news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (not pictured) in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday signaled that a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces in the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin could be imminent, as he traveled to Russia to discuss the Syrian conflict with Vladimir Putin.

U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters are reported to have returned to Afrin after defeating Islamic State militants in their stronghold of Raqqa last month. Ankara considers them a terrorist force with links to the PKK, which has long battled for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast. Turkish control of Afrin would prevent the Kurds from linking enclaves they hold.