Turkish police on Monday blocked tens of Kurdish protesters inside the Diyarbakır headquarter of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in order to prevent a press release regarding the Operation Peace Spring, a military operation launched by Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that Operation Peace Spring has been launched by the Turkish army.

“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdoğan tweeted.

The operation came after the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, effectively abandoning the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its main ally in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh) armed group.

“OperationPeaceSpring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes. We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists,” Erdoğan said in another tweet.

The SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), has denounced Washington’s move as a “stab in the back”.

Turkey considers the YPG a “terrorist” group, claiming that it has links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).