ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Former President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani on Monday expressed his deep concerns regarding the military assault on the Kurdish-held city of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and called for an immediate ceasefire.
“Very concerned about the Turkish attack on the city of Afrin. We hope that these attacks, which have led to the loss of civilian lives are ended immediately,” Barzani said in a statement.
Very concerned about the Turkish attack on the city of Afrin. We hope that these attacks, which have led to the loss of civilian lives are ended immediately. (1 of 2)— Masoud Barzani (@masoud_barzani) January 22, 2018
Turkey began its offensive to expel the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from a northwestern enclave in Syria on Saturday as it launched artillery and air strikes on positions in Afrin in what it called “Operation Olive Branch.” Dozens of people have been injured and killed in the area since the operation started.
Turkey considers the YPG and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), who have been managing the city’s security and administration since 2012, a “terrorist organization.” The US’ support for the Kurdish fighters has infuriated Ankara, which recently renewed calls for the disarmament of the YPG.
“We hope the attacks will end as soon as possible, and that great care will be applied to protecting people’s lives and preventing a further escalation of the situation to avoid any further negative consequences,” Barzani continued. “Looking at the history of this region, war and violence only worsen crises and disputes. It is best to peacefully resolve issues in the area.”
Barzani was President of the Kurdistan Region from 2005 until the end of 2017. On October 1, his term as President ended after which he rejected any extension.
Editing by Nadia Riva