The Military Operation in Afrin Threatens the Whole Region
Turkey’s military operations in Syria continue. The representative of Afrin Kurds said that the Turkish army and its colleagues, not achieving success in the region, have begun to bombard peaceful population and cultural heritage sites more often. It should be noted that Damascus has already requested UNESCO to stop Turkey’s bombing to preserve the cultural heritage of Afrin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his turn that he does not exclude that the Turkish troops will move to the depths of Syria reaching Idlib. He insisted that all Turkish people are united against Kurdish groups, like in July 15, 2016 during a military coup attempt in the country.
Earlier Erdogan said that the military actions against the Kurds in Afrin will be completed in the near future. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said in his turn that Turkey does not seek to occupy Syrian lands. According to him, Ankara warned that the weapons provided to terrorists threaten Turkey and they have decided to eliminate the danger threatening their national security.
In this context, the US President Donald Trump expressed concern over the escalation of the conflict in Afrin. Trump called upon Ankara to reduce the military action against the Kurds.
The events in Afrin did not leave indifferent also the Iraqi Kurds. Kurdish parliamentarians have convened an extraordinary meeting to discuss the attacks of Turkish troops on the Afrin Kurds. It should be noted that earlier Iraqi Kurds stated that they would support their Kurdish brothers in Syria if needed. Several demonstrations have already been organized in Erbil to support the Syrian Kurds. A protest against Turkey’s actions in Syria has also been organized in Cologne, Germany. The demonstrators chanted “terrorist Erdogan” and “dictator Erdogan”.
Despite all this, Turkey continues its operations in Afrin and not only. More than 310 people have been arrested in Turkey over the past 10 days. The reason is their comments on social networks that criticize Turkish military actions in Syria. Among those arrested are politicians, journalists, activists etc.
On January 20, the Turkish army launched a military operation against the Democratic Union party in Afrin, which Ankara considers as a terrorist organization like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The military operation against the Syrian Kurds, which received the name “Olive branch,” began after Washington declared that the United States considers the creation of “border security forces” from Kurdish groups.
A number of experts note that the events taking place in Afrin are not just a local conflict. They can lead to a wider Kurdish rebellion that can affect even the entire region. If Turkey fails to win in Afrin, Kurds can inspire not only in Turkey but also in Iraq and Iran. And if the Kurds start the rebellion successfully, stopping them will be almost immposible.