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Ankara Ready for ‘Ground Operation’ in Syria to Stop Formation of ‘Kurdish Entity’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man at a site hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo’s Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

Beirut: Turkey is extremely worried about developments happening behind its northern borderline. The expansion of Syria’s Kurds in the direction of the city of Manbij and the possibility of finding geographic link between the Afreen area and the rest of Kurdish areas in Syria, isolates Turkey from the Aleppo region and threatens the country’s national security, according to several high-ranking Turkish officials.

Turkey fears the formation of a Kurdish entity in the Syrian part of its borderline, a development that might encourage more separatism of Kurdish citizens, and would offer some organizations, such as Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) which has been fighting the central government in Ankara for the past ten years, a dynamic push that would complicate matters.

Turkish official sources asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that Ankara will confront any attempt to separate it from its brothers in northern Syria.

The sources strongly denied the presence of any agreement with the U.S. to allow the Democratic Kurdish Union Party (PYD) cross the Euphrates River to the West.

“This matter is considered a red line and a threat to Turkey’s national security,” the sources said. They added that Turkey has the right to defend its national security.

“Turkey might take some procedures to prevent the formation of any separatist entity in northern Syria that could separate it (Ankara) from its Syrian brothers,” the sources hinted.

The sources also revealed the presence of unprecedented tensions in the relations between Turkey and Washington, and that Ankara had raised several issues with the United States but is still waiting for answers.

In light of Washington’s support to the Kurds, sources from the Turkish government also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey might opt for a “ground operation” to prevent the formation of any Kurdish entity and to protect Syrian Arabs and Turkmen from any demographic division plans.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmu said Thursday that the creation of a no fly zone in northern Syria is currently considered a difficult choice.

Meanwhile, researcher at the Turkish Institute for Strategic Thinking Jahed Tawaz said that Washington’s main aim is not to solve the Syrian crisis, but by supporting the PYD in northern Syria, it rather aims to purify the area from ISIS and give it to the PYD.

“This will form a barrier between Arabs and Turks,” he said.

Rami Dalati, head of the Council of Free Army’s politburo, said that factions of the Free Syrian Army are strongly opposed to the latest developments in northern Syria and the U.S. public support to the Kurds.

Dalati told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper: “The history of PYD is very bad when it comes to human rights and the recruitment of children in the army, as reported by Human Rights Watch on several occasions. Add to this, the Kurdish forces aim to displace Arabs from the region, which has always been an Arab-Kurdish structure.”