Syria on the brink of new conflict with Turkey

Syria on the brink of new conflict with Turkey

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 16

By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

With every passing day, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, is strengthening its position on Syria's border with Turkey.

And yesterday, on June 15, the PYD's military wing - the People's Protection Units, known as the YPG (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel) stated that the Syrian town of Tell Abyad, in the country's Al-Raqqah governorate, came under its control.

YPG also said all the members of the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) in the town were eliminated.

The hostilities forced the local residents to flee to Turkey.

Last Sunday, Turkish authorities opened the country's border with Syria, and during that time, some 27,000 people have crossed.

Meanwhile, some Syrian rebels are accusing the Kurdish units of carrying out ethnic cleansing in the region through an intentional ousting of Sunnis and Iraqi Turkmens.

The elimination of the IS militants on Syria's border with Turkey can be seen as a major success. However the YPG's almost total control over the border of Syria and Turkey doesn't meet Ankara's interests.

Turkey's authorities have earlier repeatedly stated that for Ankara there is no difference between the PKK and the YPG.

Interestingly, YPG's attack on the town of Tel Abyad began on June 4th. It was at a time when Ankara was busy with its internal problems, that is the holding of parliamentary election in the country. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke about the danger of transition of the Syrian-Turkish border under the control of YPG in this period as well.

Undoubtedly, the control over the Syrian-Turkish border by the YPG poses a threat to Turkey. But Ankara fears not only that fact.

The further fate of one of the footholds of the Syrian opposition, Aleppo city, is also important for Turkey. Ankara fears that after the YPG takes control of the north of Syria, sooner or later it will start an offensive on Aleppo, especially as clashes between the Syrian opposition (the Free Syrian Army - FSA) and troops of the YPG have repeatedly taken place earlier.

Since the FSA has actually no more forces left, one can say that the YPG will easily take control of Aleppo. This means for Turkey at least an extra 1.5 million refugees.

It should be recalled that earlier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised the autonomy to the Kurds of the country. Despite the political differences, the Kurds, united against the Islamic State (IS) as it is primarily in their interest. As it is known, Erbil - the capital of the Kurdish autonomy of Iraq, is an inspirer of the independence of the Kurds. It has been talking about the proclamation of its independence for a long time.

Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish administration of Iraq, has said today that if he is re-elected president in the election to be held on August 20, he will declare independence from Iraq.

Barzani said in November 2014 that the Kurdish administration of Iraq is determined to hold a referendum on the status of autonomy and gaining independence is a matter of time.

Of course, such a development of events is contrary to the interests of Turkey. Therefore, the issue on military intervention in Syria is being discussed on the sidelines.

Moreover, it should be recalled that the Turkish Parliament adopted the so-called Syrian mandate in 2012.

Under this mandate, Ankara is empowered to take any measures against terror and other threats against the country, repulse the threat that can come from terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, protect the country's interests before and after the crisis, as well as, in the case of necessity, to involve the army in the military operations in other countries (Syria and Iraq).

The mandate envisages the possibility of presence of foreign troops on the country's territory and their use at the discretion of the Turkish government when needed.

During Saddam Hussein's office, the Turkish army was given a mandate for carrying out military operations in Iraq.

Under this mandate, Turkish armed forces carried out military operations against the PKK 24 times on Iraq's territory.

Will these developments lead Turkish troops to take action in Syria?

Edited by CN


Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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