Cape Times

Turkey averse to limitation of measures to counter Syrian Kurds


MOSCOW: Turkey cannot limit its precaution­ary measures against Syrian Kurds’ People’s Protection Units (YPG) to Syria’s Afrin district, it might move to the city of Manbij, also in Aleppo province, and to the east of the Euphrates River, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after a meeting with his US counterpar­t Rex Tillerson in Canada’s Vancouver.

Ankara has been suggesting the possibilit­y of an offensive in Syria’s northern Kurdish-controlled Afrin since the US-led coalition against the Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia, announced last week that it was training Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters for a potential border control force.

The SDF is affiliated with the YPG, which Ankara considers to be an offshoot of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist group by several countries in the world, including Turkey itself and the US.

“Turkey’s precaution­s against YPG/PKK cannot be limited to only Afrin. There is also Manbij and east of the Euphrates River,” Cavusoglu said.

The foreign minister also reportedly said, contrary to US promises, the cities of Manboj and Raqqa were not governed by local councils after being liberated from the IS, but rather came under control of the PYD.

“The US has previously stated that the PYD/PKK was not their strategic partner, (that) in fact, they were only working together to defeat Daesh (another name for the IS)…

“We have so many reasons to be sceptical, and we have enough reasons to take our own precaution­s,” Cavusoglu stressed.

Both Turkish and US ministers were attending a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula.

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