Jarablus after the entry of Turkish forces.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - As Turkish military operations continue inside Syria, the Turkmen minority there is calling for an expansion of the offensive until northern Aleppo and Manbij are completely in control of the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that it backs.
“We want the area to become completely stable and for civilians to return home. We want Jarablus and its surroundings cleared of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and we want stability to return to the region,” said Amir Bozoghlian, head of the Syrian Turkmen council.
Rudaw correspondent Shawkat Harki reported from Jarablus that about 300 Turkish Special Forces and 40 tanks passed through Jarablus, and that teams are working on defusing IEDs planted by the Islamic State (ISIS).
“Our demands are for a return to stability in the region and reconstruction of the area,” a member of the Syrian Turkmen council told Rudaw.
“We do not want the Syrian people to become refugees and drown in the seas,” said the statement, referring to the hordes of refugees from Syria and Iraq who have died trying to get to Europe in rickety boats. ”We want the area to be stable so that people stay on this land and do not go to Europe or to Turkey and other countries,” the council member told Rudaw.
He said the Turkmen minority feels threatened both by ISIS and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Defense Units (PYD).
“There are Turkmen in the mountain areas of Tel-abyad and Latakia, therefore we want the Turkish operation to be continued until the protection of all Turkmen rights,” another member said. “ISIS and PYD cannot establish a state in Syria as long as there is a Turkmen left.”
The Rudaw correspondent reported that from time to time the Turkish army is shelling the surroundings of Jarablus in order to block the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from making advances toward the town.
The Syrian Turkmen council is part of the Syrian opposition and is backed by Turkey. It was established in 2012 under the name of the Syrian Turkmen Platform and has its brigades.
The second Syrian Turkmen assembly took place in Ankara in 2013, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had attended.