ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Spokesperson for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Saturday downplayed Turkey’s threats to expand its operations beyond Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
Speaking to Kurdistan 24 during a live broadcast interview from Qamishlo, YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mahmoud dismissed recent threats by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his army’s advance into other areas of Rojava.
“Turkey will not succeed in its plans to expand its operations beyond Afrin into Manbij and Qamishlo,” he said. “We will defend Afrin and all the areas of Rojava from Turkey’s advances.”
Ankara’s offensive on the Kurdish-held enclave in northwestern Syria is now in its 48th day as Erdogan vows to increase the operation beyond Afrin.
The YPG Spokesperson dismissed Turkey’s threats and stated that the Kurdish forces “are always prepared and ready to defend Afrin and surrounding regions.”
Mahmoud also noted that indiscriminate air raids by the Turkish army continue “to target public places including schools and markets.”
Turkey launched its offensive against the YPG on Jan. 20 claiming that the Kurdish forces, which it argues are an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), represent a “terrorist” threat to its southern borders.
The US, who has supported the YPG in its campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, does not agree with Ankara’s designation of the Kurdish forces and has called on Turkey to limit its operations.
Over 200 civilians have been killed as a result of the ongoing offensive with scores more injured.
Mahmoud also dismissed reports claiming the Kurdish forces are preventing the people of Afrin from leaving the region, noting that most civilians “insist on staying to defend their rights.”