ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently warned his army would engage in military action against US-backed Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are spearheading a campaign against the extremist group in Syria.
Turkey argues the YPG are an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who are waging a decades-long resistance in Turkey for broader Kurdish rights.
Meanwhile, the US views the Kurdish forces as a key ally part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their campaign to defeat IS in Syria.
“We will not leave the separatist organization in peace in both Iraq and Syria,” Erdogan said during a speech on Saturday in the eastern town of Malatya.
The Turkish President’s remarks were referring to the YPG in Syria and the PKK who have bases stationed in the Kurdistan Region.
“We know that if we do not drain the swamp, we cannot get rid of the flies,” he added.
Last week, Erdogan appointed three new leaders of Turkey’s army, air force, and navy.
Analysts and officials suggested the new employments were “partly aimed at preparing for any campaign against the YPG,” according to a Reuters report.
Turkish forces entered northern Syria last year to snatch territory from IS, while also cutting off Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria from Afrin, a Kurdish pocket further west.
The move prevented Kurds from gaining control of nearly the entire Syrian border with Turkey.
Ankara fears Kurdish gains in northern Syria would encourage its Kurdish population to do the same in southern parts of Turkey.
“We will make new important moves soon,” Erdogan said regarding recent clashes with Kurdish forces near Afrin.
Meanwhile, Washington is focused on de-escalating the situation to ensure the YPG remain concentrated on defeating IS in Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in the country.
Editing by Ava Homa