ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – On Wednesday, Turkey’s National Security Council said the Ankara government would not allow the formation of a “terrorist army” alongside its southern border, slamming the United States for its commitment in helping the Syrian Kurds build a border force.
Headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara, the civilian-military council once again threatened an invasion of the isolated Kurdish enclave of Afrin, in northwestern Syria.
“Swift and determined steps shall be taken to eliminate threats posed to our country from Syria’s west,” an online statement by the council read.
Meanwhile, The Turkish army continued to send reinforcements to the border, with at least 20 more tanks deployed in the southern Hatay Province neighboring Afrin from the north and west.
Last week, the US-led Coalition announced the formation of a new “Border Security Force,” tasked with protecting Syria’s mostly Kurdish-controlled eastern and northern borders with its neighbors, Iraq and Turkey respectively.
Erdogan’s administration demanded from Washington to cease its military aid to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which have been at the forefront of the war on the Islamic State (IS) during much of the six years-long civil war in Syria.
Criticizing the US for partnering with the YPG, labeled a terror group only by Turkey, Ankara said it had expected its NATO ally to take back weapons and vehicles provided to the Kurdish-led forces.
“The war with [IS] on the ground has ended in Syria,” Turkey said in its call on the US to stop supporting the Kurds.
Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay on Tuesday urged the Turkish people not to allow the government to stage an invasion of Afrin.
“There is this constant rhetoric of war against Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan]. The current administration’s sole way of clinging to power has become keeping the hostility toward the Kurds and war on the agenda,” the pro-Kurdish leader Kemalbay said.
Nuri Birimo, a member of the central committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Syria (PDK-S), stated that Afrin has been peaceful and spared from the ravaging effect of Syria’s civil war and Turkey wanted to invade because of what he described as Erdogan’s “neo-Ottoman” ambitions.
“Afrin is a Kurdistani region. Neither Erdogan nor the Islamist groups he supports have a right to set foot on its soil,” Birimo told Kurdistan 24 in an interview in Erbil.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany