Syrian Kurds say Turkish attack would help ISIS fighters to escape
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The US-backed, Kurdish-led self-administration in northeastern Syria stated on Saturday that any new Turkish attack would destabilize the region and help the Islamic State to reorganize and could lead to thousands of allied families and fighters to escape.
The administration said that such an attack would “serve terror and be a real opportunity for ISIS to reorganize itself and thus take control of large areas of Syria.”
It furthermore added that it would also provide an opportunity for the thousands of Islamic State detainees and their families held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in camps and prisons “to flee, which would pose a threat to the region and the world.”
On Saturday, Erdogan claimed in a speech to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) that Turkey was readying a cross-border assault and had completed its preparations to do so. Moreover, on Tuesday, Erdogan told Turkey’s parliament about his intentions in Syria, including for the 3.6 million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey.
Such a plan, if implemented, would bring about radical demographic change, creating an “Arab belt” between Kurdish-inhabited areas of Turkey and Syria.
Furthermore, the administration warned that such an attack would displace “millions of unarmed Syrians.” This could force Syrians “to leave the area to various countries of the world that will lead to a humanitarian disaster.”
In case Turkey does launch an attack, officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have said that they expect thousands would flee to the east into the Kurdistan Region.
Moreover, this would also threaten the fragile stability that the US-led coalition, in partnership with the SDF, has established in northeast Syria, while raising the prospect of the re-emergence of the Islamic State.
The US-backed SDF made clear on Saturday that they would “not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to defend ourselves and our people.”
The administration has said that it is ready for dialogue and peace, “but if Turkey carries out its threats, we can only exercise our legitimate right to defend our land and the various components of our people with our strength, determination, and will.”'
The Kurdish-led administration also underlined that it is ready for dialogue with neighbors and wants to preserve the unity of Syria, saying, “We have always tried to present the dialogue which is the best solution for all issues.”
The administration called on “the international community with all its institutions to pressure Turkey to prevent any aggression.”
It also called on the UN, the EU, and the US-led coalition “to take positions that reduce the Turkish threat and danger.”
Editing by John J. Catherine