The Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that Türkiye was in talks with Russia to use airspace over northern Syria for a possible cross-border operation against the Kurdish militia.

Türkiye has carried out several incursions into northern Syria against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and has been threatening a new attack for months.

Ankara stepped up its preparations last month after a bomb attack in Istanbul, which it held Kurdish militants responsible for carrying out.

The armed group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the US-allied Syria Democratic Forces, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), denied involvement in the attack, which took place on a busy pedestrian street.

Türkiye launched air strikes on YPG targets in November, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated a possible ground offensive.

Akar told reporters on Saturday, that Ankara is in talks about this operation with Moscow, which supports the Syrian Army forces.

“We’re in talks and discussing with Russia about all issues, including opening airspace,” Akar added.

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