Turkey to expand its military mission to Afrin: Top security council
The National Security Council (MGK) on Nov. 28 discussed expanding the Turkish military’s operation in Syria to Afrin and Aleppo, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The statement particularly stressed Ankara’s objection to the presence of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), “especially in border territory.”
“It was assessed that the Turkish Army Forces (TSK) has been successfully carrying out its ‘observatory mission’ in Idlib’s de-escalation zones, and an environment of peace and safety can be obtained by continuing this mission in western Aleppo and around Afrin,” it said.
Turkey on Nov. 19 completed construction of its third “observation spot” inside Idlib as a part of its three-way deal with Russia and Iran, which stipulates the establishment of de-escalation zones in war-torn Syria.
Turkey is expected to form 12 observation spots in total, in order to monitor the ongoing truce between the Syrian regime and armed opposition groups. The first of these spots was set up on Oct. 13.
The deal envisages cementing the truce between fighting groups and allowing humanitarian aid to reach needy groups inside the country, as well as paving the way for launching an effective political process to end the civil war in Syria.
The Turkish, Russian and Iranian presidents came together in Sochi on Nov. 22 to outline a fresh roadmap toward a political solution, which includes convening a national dialogue congress with the participation of various warring groups.
The Turkish government has repeatedly expressed opposition to the inclusion of the PYD and the YPG at the negotiation table for a political process, saying the group is the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“The PKK/PYD-YPG terrorist organization is changing Syria’s demographic structure by conducting covert ethnic cleansing. This is against international law and human rights and is unacceptable,” the MGK statement read on Nov. 28.
“Turkey will continue to take all kinds of measures, especially at border territories, in order to ensure its safety,” it added.
Meanwhile, PYD forces sprayed a Turkish border post in the southeastern province of Kilis, on the border with Syria, with gunfire late on Nov. 28, wounding one soldier, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The gunfire reportedly came from Afrin province in northwest Syria and Turkey responded with artillery fire.
The wounded soldier was taken to the Kilis State Hospital for treatment.