Kurdish National Council in Syria Condemns Turkey’s Threats of Invasion

As Turkey continues to build up it armed forces in the Kilis Triangle in preparation of an invation of Syrian Kurdistan, the Kurdish National Council of Syria responded to the increased Turkish shelling of Afrin, a Kurdish stronghold in North-West Syria.

“We at the Kurdish National Council (KNC), while we support any effort to combat extremism and terrorism in all its forms and names, we believe that such actions will not serve international efforts to combat it and will hinder efforts to eliminate terrorism,” the KNC said.

“We call for dialogue to resolve the differences and concerns of various parties by peaceful means and international guarantees and to not make Afrin an area to settle differences, the KNC said.

“We affirm our rejection to the logic of military threats and the illegality of Turkish attitude towards Afrin and call on them to focus on combating terrorism. We call on our Kurdish people and the Arabs who are united by their co-existence, not to be dragged into hostile conflicts and reject the Turkish adventure that will not benefit anyone, and lead to the shedding of more blood,” the Kurdish council said.

Turkey claims the Kurdish YPG, also known as the People’s Protection Units is really a terrorist entity and rejects its overwhelming numbers within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which is backed by the United States.

The Turkish government has said its recent military movements in northwest Syria are legitimate measures in response to attacks from the YPG forces in the Afrin region.

“This is not a declaration of war. We are making preparations against potential threats,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday. “It’s … a legitimate measure so that we can protect our independence. We cannot remain silent against those sending missiles from Afrin.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said on Wednesday that Turkey was ready to carry out ground operations against the YPG if needed.

“If there is a threat against us, our troops will conduct any operations with the Free Syrian Army on the ground,” he told France 24 television.

With the threat of full scale invasion continuing to heat up the KRC has now appealed to their counterparts in the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) for help.

“We also appeal to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq and its presidency to make efforts to urge Turkey not to continue this scheme, and we call on Kurds in foreign countries to denounce these threats and hold demonstrations and protests against it in accordance with the laws of these countries and to appeal to international and civilian organizations interested in relief and humanitarian affairs,” the KNC said. “Long live Afrin.”

According to Kurdish sources in the North, a full scale attack on the YPG by the Turkish government will throw off the US backed attack on the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa. There is some logic to this view in that the SDF will be forced to fight the Turkish army and ths pull back from Raqqa.

ISIS, Turkish Weapon

The origins of ISIS are complex and find themselves rooted in both old guard Baathist drive to retake Iraq as well a joint Obama and Erdogan creation whose purpose was to destablize the Middle East in order for Erdogan to bring a renewed Ottoman stability. Turkey was to take those areas West of the Euphrates and Iran to the East.  ISIS has been a tool of the Turkish armed forces and poltical elite since the beginning. With Raqqa on the ropes, the Kurds not only would be forced to pull back, but the chaos machine known as the Islamic State would live another day.  Turkey would get what it wants.  The ability to destroy the YPG/SDF and lend fuel to the weapon they originally created.

As I wrote earlier inthe week, Afrin is a test for the Trump administration.  Are they willing to push back against Erdogan or let the Kurds get destroyed, thus rendering their entire war against ISIS pointless?

Turkey’s Erdogan Warns Syrian Kurdistan: “We Are Preparing For War”

The Kurdish held area of Afrin in North West Syria is under imminent threat of Turkish invasion as the Turkish armed forces are amassing on the border.  With the Russian army pulling back from the area, many see this as a tacit approval for Turkey’s invasion.

Rudow reported if Turkey attacks Afrin, “Turkey will be plunged into a swamp, politically and militarily – there will be an historical resistance against Turkish occupation in Afrin and Shahba regions,” Mehmud Berxwedan, commander of Kurdish YPG forces in Afrin, told Voice of America’s Kurdish radio service on Friday.

Syrian Kurdistan is comprised of three autonomous cantons along the Turkish border. The further strengthening of these areas is a development that Ankara fears may lead to the emergence of an autonomous or independent Kurdish entity along its border and spark a legitimate secession movement for its own nearly 20 million Kurds.

While Kurds are the traditional indigenous people of the area, spanning across Turkey, North Syria, Northern Iraq, and Western Iran, Turkey’s President Erdogan called them terrorists.

Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told Reuters on Wednesday that Turkish military preparations in northwest Syria are “legitimate measures against a threat from Kurdish forces in the Afrin region, and Turkey will retaliate against any hostile move.” He added in an interview that “This is not a declaration of war. We are making preparations against potential threats” adding that “It’s … a legitimate measure so that we can protect our independence. We cannot remain silent against those sending missiles from Afrin.”

An attack on Afrin wil seemingly destablize the entire region and would threaten to draw the wider American back SDF and Iraqi KRG into the conflict.  Will Afrin start a wider regional war?  That is up to Erdogan and Turkey’s ability to reign in their appetite for expansion. If Erdogan does go in, the Trump administration will have to decide to openly turn against another NATO member on behalf of the Kurds or back stab the Kurdish people like previous administrations.