Syrian Kurdish leader says Turkey blocking Mosul operation

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PYD leader Salih Muslim (c) speaking to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Kobane. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

KOBANE – Syrian Kurdish leader and Co-Chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said that Turkey is blocking the anti-ISIS Mosul operation. The Kurdish leader went further, accusing Turkey of intentionally supporting the Islamic State (ISIS) in both Syria and Iraq.

“Turkey has blocked Raqqa liberation by invading Jarablus. And now it’s blocking Mosul liberation by sending troops into Bashiqa,” Muslim said on Friday. Bahiqa is a small town, northeast of Mosul city.

“The main goal of the Turkish move in Syria and Iraq is to support Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. 

According to Kurdish rights activists, neither the Syrian government nor the armed opposition are currently interested in fighting ISIS in Raqqa. 

The Turkish government has said they will not join a campaign for Raqqa if the Kurds are involved. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have said they will not advance on Raqqa city until they have opened a road to the besieged Afrin enclave, in northwestern Syria.

Jordan Matson, an American volunteer with the Kurdish YPG in Syria, told ARA News that the Obama administration, by bending to Erdogan’s demands, had effectively stopped the war on ISIS. Jordan reasoned that a lull was imminent since the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would not commit to a Raqqa operation without cutting off ISIS supply lines between Syria and Turkey.

“By stalling, you have saved Raqqa for possibly years to come as no one else will take it,” Matson said. 

Now the PYD leader says Turkey is realizing the same goal of supporting ISIS in Iraq by stalling the upcoming Mosul operation. The looming battle for Mosul was expected to take place at the end of October, uniting the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Iraqi Army and US-led coalition forces.

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