UN ceasefire request does not include Turkey’s operation in Afrin: Deputy PM
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The UN’s 30-days long ceasefire in Syria would have no impact on the ongoing Turkish military offensive on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, a Turkish official said on Sunday.
“When we look at the UN Security Council resolution, we see that the fight against terror organizations is outside its scope. Therefore, it will not affect Turkey's ongoing operation,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters.
He stated that Turkey’s Foreign, Interior, and Justice Ministries had initiated the extradition process for the former co-leader of the Kurdish ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, who was arrested in Prague by Czech police on Sunday.
The UN Security Council on Saturday approved resolution 2401, urging an immediate ceasefire for 30 days to enable aid workers to access civilians in areas across Syria affected by recent bombardments, namely in eastern Ghouta near Syria’s capital of Damascus.
Following the request for a truce, the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin on Sunday declared its readiness to adhere to the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution for a ceasefire across Syria.
In the statement, the YPG also reserved the right to self-defense in response to any breaches or military attacks on its forces in the region by Turkish fighters.
Recent UN reports state that over 15,000 people have been displaced in Afrin since the start of the Turkish aggression. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded, according to the Afrin Hospital.
On Jan. 20, Turkey announced the military operation intended to drive out the YPG, its Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the ruling party Democratic Union Party (PYD) from Afrin.
Ankara views the PYD, and its military wing, the YPG and the YPJ, as a ‘terrorist’ group and an extension of the outlawed PKK, a group fighting a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish government in Turkey.
Editing by Nadia Riva