Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Damascus Demands Turkish Forces' Immediate Withdrawal From Syrian Lands

Damascus Demands Turkish Forces' Immediate Withdrawal From Syrian Lands

Turkey is ready to take military action to drive the remaining Kurds of the northern Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) out of northern Syria, following the Turkish military offensive in Afrin, as well as to drive Kurds of the Iraqi-based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from northern Iraq, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The group is dominated by the People's Protection Units militia (YPG), which lost control of Afrin this weekend following a Turkish and Syrian rebel offensive. Tearing down a Kurdish statue in the town centre doesn't augur well.

The terrorist YPG/PKK is also a main target of the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria, near Turkey's border, meant to eradicate the terrorist threat to both Syrians and residents of Turkish border regions.

Expanding Turkey's military campaign into the much larger Kurdish-held territory further east would risk confronting troops of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, the United States, that are deployed alongside a YPG-dominated force in northern Syria. Still, the USA continues to supply truckloads of weapons to the YPG in Syria, beginning with former President Barack Obama's term.

One of the important reasons behind the success of Turkish Armed Forces during the Operation Olive Branch is the strategic intelligence that they used successfully in the field, Agar said.

"Now we will continue this process until we entirely eliminate this corridor, including in Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli", he said.

President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has achieved his twin objectives: to remove a key area under YPG control and to rally the vast majority of Turks behind their commander-in-chief. YPG officials have said their focus is on guaranteeing legal and constitutional rights for Syrian Kurds.

"We anticipate a similar situation in Afrin", Kalin said, adding: "Those, who had to flee because of the regime attacks or because of the PYD/YPG will go back to their homes".

The campaign complicates USA plans in Syria.

He also evoked a possible operation against PKK camps in Iraq's Sinjar region, saying this could come any time.

"Operation Olive Branch is an operation against terror".

Earlier on Monday government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Turkish forces would return Afrin to its "real owners" after driving the YPG out. "The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring ISIS can not re-emerge", Tillerson said at Stanford University.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called for greater access to the civilian population of Afrin. But Turkey brands it a terrorist group.

Since then it has distributed more than 30 tonnes of food aid and 8,267 bottles of water, along with hygiene kits, blankets, and clothing to 22 areas.

According to activists, 280 civilians have been killed in the campaign. The first, dubbed "Euphrates Shield", targeted Islamic State and Kurdish fighters further east than Afrin.

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