Kurdish-backed administration rejects Turkish attempts to occupy Syria

"How can Turkey supervise the buffer zone while it is a party in the conflict? We reject any Turkish occupation of our lands."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Executive Council of North and East Syria’s Autonomous Administration on Wednesday have rejected attempts from Turkey to create a Turkish-controlled safe zone.

According to the Executive Council, Turkey is trying to follow through with its plans to occupy the north and east of Syria via the suggested safe zone.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that a 20-mile “safe zone” would be created in northeastern Syria. A day later, his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Ankara would set up a security zone some 30-kilometers (18 miles) deep into northeastern Syria in coordination with Washington.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Executive Council rejected Turkey’s attempts to establish a buffer zone because it would “target Syria’s sovereignty, lead to the occupation of [their] territories, and undermine the democratic model the people of the region have formed.”

“How can Turkey supervise the buffer zone while it is a party in the conflict? We reject any Turkish occupation of our lands in any form and name,” the statement said.

“We appeal to the international forces, the United Nations and the International Coalition to prevent this blatant violation of our regions,” it added.

“If there [is] a zone of separation of the conflict between us and the Turkish occupation, this is possible only with international peacekeeping forces and under the auspices of the United Nations.”

The new administration was formed in September 2018 in the city of Ain al-Issa, replacing the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS).

Abed Hamed al-Mehbash, the co-chair of the Autonomous Administration’s Executive Council, previously told Kurdistan 24 that he believes Turkey is an occupying power.

“Turkey is hosting Turkish flags [in Syria] and imposes a curriculum glorifying Erdogan and Islamist groups. They change the names of streets and regions. So, we consider Turkey an occupying state, we hope this region will be liberated,” Mehbash explained.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack in Manbij on Wednesdaythat killed several people, including US soldiers, might stop Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

“The attack in Manbij might have been meant to affect Trump’s decision to pull out from Syria,” Erdogan said during a press conference in Ankara.

“But, as I saw Mr. Trump’s decisiveness, I don’t think a backward step would follow such a terror attack. Otherwise, it would mean a victory for” the Islamic State, he added, according to the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

Elsewhere, the General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday announced they would “offer all the support and necessary aid to form the safe zone that is being circulated regarding the north and east of Syria.”

However, it added the safe zone would prevent foreign intervention by Turkey through “the protection of the components of the region and… factors of security and stability.”

Moreover, top Syrian Kurdish official Aldar Xelil told ANHA news agency that the Kurdish self-administration would not accept a Turkish-controlled safe zone. 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany