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World has responsibility to people of Afrin, say Syrian Kurds

By Rudaw 17/1/2018
Turkish military trucks transport armoured vehiciles to reinforce units on the Syrian border in the Sanliurfa area on Tuesday. Photo: AFP/DHA
Turkish military trucks transport armoured vehiciles to reinforce units on the Syrian border in the Sanliurfa area on Tuesday. Photo: AFP/DHA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The ruling Kurdish party in Rojava, northern Syria has condemned Turkish attacks on its Afrin canton and told the international community that they have an obligation to the civilian population. 

“We call on the United Nations Security Council to take action as soon as possible in order to secure the west and east [sides] of the Euphrates River in North Syria,” read a statement from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) on Wednesday.

“We also call upon international forces, civil society organizations, and human rights organizations to fulfill their responsibilities to one million people in Afrin,” the statement added.

The party also issued a call for support from “all Kurdish people in Europe and also democratic forces to send the voice of Afrin to the world so that Afrin is not alone.” 

The PYD accused Turkey of gathering “gangs” to fight Rojava and declared that “all cities and villages in Rojava and the north of Syria are ready to stand together to defend themselves.”

It said that the forces of all ethnic groups in northern Syria are ready to defend against Turkey. 

Turkey has built up its forces around Rojava’s Afrin canton and threatened a full scale military operation if the Kurdish forces do not withdraw. The Kurdish armed force YPG reports that they shell villages in Afrin on a daily basis. YPG forces have returned fire. 

“If the terrorists in Afrin do not surrender, we will destroy it,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on Saturday.

Ankara believes that the PYD and the armed force YPG are extensions of the PKK, a named terrorist organization. The Syrian Kurdish groups deny the charge. 

Turkish leaders have repeatedly said they will not allow the formation of a “terror corridor” on its borders. In August 2016, Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria to oust ISIS from areas between the Euphrates River and Afrin canton and to prevent Kurdish expansion. Ankara has said it is ready to continue its so-called anti-terror operations in northern Syria. 

The United States’ recent confirmation they are creating a 30,000-strong border force with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to secure Rojava borders further outraged Ankara, which has long condemned US support for the Kurdish forces in northern Syria. 

These US plans could harm relations between Washington and Ankara, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday. 

“I bluntly told Tillerson that the [Kurdish border guard force] situation is very unfortunate and serious,” Cavusoglu said, according to Hurriyet Daily News. 

This issue, combined with disputes over the extradition of the alleged mastermind of the attempted coup in 2016, “could threaten our bilateral ties and could lead us down an irreversible route,” he added.

Turkey is skeptical about America’s plans in Syria and so must “take our own precautions,” he said. 

Tillerson, in a speech on US policy on Syria at Stanford University on Wednesday, said the American military will remain in Syria to counter ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Iran, Bloomberg reported. 

He said they were not in the business of nation-building, but would carry out “stabilization initiatives in liberated areas,” like clearing explosives and restoring basic services. 

Turkey’s security council met on Wednesday evening. Speaking after the meeting, government spokesperson Bekir Bozdag said that weapons given to the YPG by the United States in the war against ISIS must be taken back as soon as possible. 

Reiterating that Turkey will not allow the creation of “terror corridor” or a “terror army,” Bozdag said, “No one should expect Turkey to show patience anymore.”

The security council recommended the government extend its state of emergency for another three months, citing threats from ISIS, the PKK, and YPG, among others. 

Turkey has complained that NATO has not taken any action on what they said is a move to create a border force from terror organization. 

Turkey “will not allow an extension of the PKK to be given support and armed under the guise of being an ‘operational partner,’” Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said at a NATO meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. 

Turkish media reported that NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller will visit Turkey next week. This has not been confirmed yet by NATO. 

Erdogan has said that the military alliance is “duty-bound to take a stand with your partners in the event of any border aggression.”


FAUthman | 18/1/2018
Of course the world has responsibility to stop this Turkish aggression on Afrin. What possible justification could Turkey have. The 30000 BSF force US is building is over there 300 miles away in the east. So go over there and raise hell, dont go like a bully picking on a much weaker mostly civilian population that has not in any way attacked you or threatened you. Both US and Russia need to intervene here and make this lunatic Erdogan wake up and get back to reason and common sense!
FAUthman | 18/1/2018
US is not leaving Syria any time in the near future. And for your information here is the US vision for the future of Syria and what lies ahead for the Kurds east of the Euphrates. Wish there would develop some way Afrin and Manbij could also become part of that future. Here is what Secretary Tillerson said a day ago: "we are going to remain in Syria until Assad is gone, the country stable, and the new leadership in place, which may take some time", said Tillerson making it very clear for the first time: US mission is not limited to ISIS defeat only. Thanks then USA, no more tuck tail and head to the door timid policies please and for someone else to then pick up the pieces! For Kurds this is a gift, highly welcome news. Five years from now, east Syria that US now controls and where most Syrian Kurds live will be like Europe, multi ethnic, multi religious haven for all, even if the rest of the country is still in turmoil!, and with a booming Iraq next door this will be the beginning of a Marshal Plan for the region. So if Turkey has any sense at all it could become part of this regional boom providing security and prosperity and a very bright future for all, Turks, Kurds, Arabs and everybody else. Make peace then Turkey, not war!
duroi | 18/1/2018
Turkey should accept the reality on the ground that the Kurdish/Arab SDF force with the help of USA is going to rule over the northern part of Syria, similar to KRG in Northern Iraq. What Turkey can do is to establish some form of leverage on the SDF region by creating a strong working relationship with the Arab component in SDF instead of fighting it. Ankara can easily create such a leverage by encouraging its allied forces in Idlib and Azaz-Jarablus corridor to join the Arab component of SDF instead of watching Assad extend its rule over Idlib which leaves Turkey with "zero leverage" in future Syria. As they say hiç yoktan iyidir (i.e. half a loaf of bread is better than nothing). eh?
JPL | 18/1/2018
Freedom comes at a great cost and the brave people of Afrin are willing to pay that price for their freedom. Let Fascist Erdogan come to Afrin and find out what hell looks like. The YPG has never lost an inch of territory and Afrin will be no exception.
Bal | 18/1/2018
Dont trust USA they are cancer and and will always betray.

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