Kurds and Russians concerned about Turkish attempts to create a safe zone north Syria

Kurdish members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Aleppo. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

QAMISHLO – Russia expressed serious concern about attempts by Turkey to create a vast ‘security zone’, to keep out both the Syrian government and Kurdish forces. Also Kurdish officials have expressed concern over Turkish attempts to prevent the Kurds from expanding their territory northern Syria.

“We are seriously concerned by the attempts, which are being made not without the involvement of external forces, to “rebrand” certain radical groups operating on Syrian soil,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“It became known, among other things, that an “umbrella” formation, called the Northern Front or Northern Army, is being created in northern Syria, which is supposed to unite all anti-government forces active in the Aleppo province,” she added. “In reality, the idea may be to create a vast “security zone” along the Turkish border that external forces hope to control with assistance from the aforementioned Syrian illegal armed formations, keeping both the government army and Kurdish militias out of the zone.”

Last week, Jamil Karmo, a member of the Turkey-backed Northern Army claimed responsibility for the killing of two alleged members of the Kurdish forces of People’s People’s Protection Units (YPG). However, the YPG denied any link to the two persons killed, and suggested they were civilians.

On Thursday, Abdo Ibrahim, defence chief in the Kurdish city of Afrin northern Aleppo said they have proof that Turkey is supporting the Northern Army with arms and ammunition to prevent the unification of the Kurdish cantons of Kobane and Afrin. 

However, Abdo said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) remain committed to liberate the Shahba regions to unify the two enclaves.

On 12 May, the SDF official spokesman Talal Silo said their forces would not accept the Turkish attempts.

“Turkey wants to create a safe zone between Azaz and Kobane, we will not accept that,” he said.

Reports have previously emerged, that there have been significant talks between the United States and Turkey to take control of the 98 kilometers Manbij pocket, and Turkish special forces have conducted operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) with US air support in northern Syria on 8 May.

The Turkish government wants Syrian opposition rebels to take control of this pocket, fearing that otherwise Kurds could unite their administrations by connecting Kobane to Afrin.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook in the beginning of May confirmed there were talks between Turkey and the US. “These are ongoing conversations we’re having at a significant level with the Turkish government, both the Department of Defense and other members of the U.S. government,” he said.

“And anything that can be done to remove ISIL (ISIS) from that part of Syria, we think would be significant, certainly would shore up the effort to prevent foreign fighters from being able to cross that border,” he added.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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