New codes in the fight against terror
It drew a reaction when U.S. soldiers in Syria were seen wearing People’s Protection Units (YPG) emblems on their uniforms. U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren said the American special operations troops were not authorized to wear foreign patches and that it was inappropriate.
However, there is no point in burying one’s head in the sand. This is a process. The Americans, since the beginning, have been working with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and YPG. They gave a plaque to the PYD and they conducted joint operations in Raqqa.
Up until now Turkey has not been successful in explaining that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the PYD are the same organization.
We argued that the weapons given to the PYD would be handed over to the PKK and used against Turkey. In the southeastern Turkish town of Silopi, a mini drone belonging to the U.S. Army was found; in urban wars, weapons belonging to the U.S. and Russian armies were spotted. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called out to the U.S., saying, “Hey America, how many times I have told you? Are you with us or are you with this terror organization, the PYD and the YPG?”
As a result, U.S. State Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We do not recognize the PYD as a terror organization.” The U.S. continued working with the YPG.
This was not the first time. When the YPG captured the Menagh Air Base north of Aleppo, we shelled the region with storm howitzers on Feb. 13. That day a problem occurred.
U.S. officials demanded that Turkey stop the shelling for a while to allow drones to do reconnaissance flights over the region. Such demands happen during operations and a short break was taken. However, a drone reconnaissance flight which takes an hour-and-a-half on average took more than five hours that day. This situation disturbed Turkey. It was assessed that the U.S. protected the YPG during the break and provided them with the time they needed to safely withdraw without any losses.
Despite this, we did not disregard the fact that the U.S. was the top country which understood us in our fight against the PKK. But we have come to the point, as President Erdoğan has said, when we take matters into our own hands. These words are not a complaint or a threat. On the contrary, they are an expression of preparation.
There is a two-phase preparation. The first stage is to destroy YPG and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets inside Syria if suicide bomb attacks continue, paying no mind to what the international coalition says.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had completed preparations for a limited and periodic operation, waiting for political instructions. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on May 2 that since January, a total of 85 terror acts, including 49 suicide bombings and car bombs, had been prevented. An intervention was on the agenda in these days, but not now. However, this plan has not been removed from the table.
There will be preventive hit operations on PKK camps within Turkey.
Within the scope of terror prevention operations, preparations to hit five main PKK quarters within Turkey are being made. Kurtulmuş said the determined fight was ongoing not only in urban areas but also in rural areas.
Meanwhile, security units reached information that the PKK has also opted for a change in concept. The organization, which failed in urban wars, is now planning for more effective attacks in rural areas. Cemil Bayık, a PKK leader, had ordered its mountain units to withdraw to rural areas on April 17. This actually means that the PKK has returned to its previous concept. This summer the PKK is expected to conduct suicide attacks against police stations and military targets with car bombs.
The TSK has been prepared for this, planning not to draw out the militants but to destroy them. The joint decision of the National Security Council (MGK) and the cabinet was for result-oriented interventions. The TSK is making its preparations in rural areas in line with this concept.