Turkey will consider Syrian protection of Kurds as ‘declaration of war’

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ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s adviser Yasin Aktay said that the possible protection of the Kurdish units operating in northern Syria by Damascus will be regarded by Ankara as a declaration of war against Turkey.

“If the Syrian regime [government troops] wants to enter Manbij, Kobane and Qamishli to provide protection to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG], this will be seen by Turkey as the declaration of war and [Damascus] will face a relevant response,” said Aktay.

However, according to him, if the Syrian government provides Turkey with assurances that Kurdish units will not operate in the border area, Ankara could change its position on the advancing Syrian government troops to the northern part of the country.

Erdogan’s adviser added that Turkish and other foreign troops would leave Syria after the establishment of peace and security throughout the country.

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“Turkey does not occupy anyone’s territories,” added Aktay, while ignoring that his country has occupied northern Cyprus since 1974.

Earlier this week, the ceasefire in northern Syria was announced by US Vice President Mike Pence after hours of talks with Erdogan in Ankara. Pence said the sides agreed that a 120-hour ceasefire would be put in place in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish forces to withdraw.

Operation Fountain of Peace

On 9 October, Erdogan announced the start of Operation Source of Peace in northeastern Syria against the Kurds, which Ankara considers allies of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered by the Turkish government to be a terrorist organization, and against ISIS.

The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad has condemned Turkey’s occupation policy in northeastern Syria. Russia said Turkey should avoid actions that could make it difficult to resolve the Syrian conflict, which has been affecting the Levantine Arab country since 2011 with significant Turkish backing of terrorist organizations.

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