Tuesday, October 08, 2019
Turkey continues its scheduled offensive in northern Syria. (Archive).
Even international protests do not scare him: President Erdogan is holding on to a Turkish offensive against Kurdish militias in Syria. They are now considering allying themselves with Damascus. Meanwhile, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister announces that they will not accept any occupation of the "Syrian Earth".
Despite international warnings, Turkey intends to continue its planned military offensive against Kurdish militias in northern Syria. "Our message to the international community is clear – Turkey is not a country that can be moved by threats," said Vice President Fuat Oktay. On Twitter, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said: "All preparations for the mission are completed." The Syrian government warned Turkey against an invasion and called on the Kurds to come back to the government in Damascus. Among other things, Oktay reacted to a tweet from US President Donald Trump, who had threatened the day before with the destruction of the Turkish economy, should Turkey do something that he considered "taboo". Numerous governments, including the German government and international organizations, also urgently warned Turkey against a military offensive in northern Syria. This was also joined by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Sarif. The ministry's web portal said he had told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a telephone conversation that Syria's territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the government in Damascus must be respected. Turkey wants to create "security zone" Octay said, however, Turkey would never allow that immediately at its border "a terror corridor, a state of terror" arises, whatever the cost. It was time to create a "safety zone east of the Euphrates River". President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had again announced on Saturday an early offensive in northern Syria. The region is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by the Kurdish YPG militias. Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist. For the US, the Kurds were in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS), however, a close ally. The White House signaled Monday morning that US forces would no longer stand in the way of an offensive, and withdrew some 50 US troops from the affected border region. The move raised concerns both in the US and internationally. Despite his later threat to Turkey, Trump was also accused of abandoning the Kurdish militias in northern Syria. Turkey sends more troops to the border The Kurds were horrified and accused the US of not fulfilling their obligations. At the same time, they announced resistance to the Turks. Commander of the Kurdish militia-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Maslum Abdi said a partnership with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad was a possible option. The offer is already on the table: Shortly before, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Makdad called on the Kurds, according to the pro-government newspaper Al-Watan, to come back to the government in Damascus and not "even go to hell At the same time, al-Makdad warned Turkey against an invasion and a military operation. Syria will defend its territory and will not accept any occupation of the "Syrian soil". It was the first time that a representative of the Syrian government commented on the impending Turkish military campaign. At the border, it remained calm during the day except for a few troop movements. The news agency Anadolu reported that the Turkish army had sent more soldiers and armored vehicles to the border. After the Syrian army retreated largely from the north-east of the country in the course of the war, Kurdish forces had taken control in many places and had self-government already in 2014 built in the areas. Internationally, the aspirations for autonomy are not recognized, but in many places in northeastern Syria, the government of President Bashar al-Assad de facto has no power.