Turkey says YPG to be targeted unless it moves east of Euphrates
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
AA photoThe People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria would be targeted “until it moves east of the Euphrates River,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 29.
The aim of Operation Euphrates Shield was to clear the Jarablus region in northern Syria of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the minister stated. “So why is the YPG uncomfortable if the common enemy is Deash [ISIL]?” Çavuşoğlu said.
“They [YPG] need to move to the east side of the Euphrates River as soon as possible, as they had announced and as the U.S. had promised,” Çavuşoğlu said, while speaking at a joint press conference with Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders.
The foreign minister’s comments came after a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander said they would target YPG units in Manbij.
Predominantly Syrian Arabs living in the Manbij region have been displaced, the minister said, stressing they must return to their hometown. Arabs in the region would not be targeted, he added.
“But, the YPG’s aim is different. The YPG forces everybody, including Kurds who have a different opinion, to migrate. They conduct ethnic cleansing,” he stated.
Even a small number of troops could clear ISIL from the region, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that ground operations could eliminate the jihadist group in both Syria and Iraq.
Turkey regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast. Washington considers the PKK terrorists but backs the YPG militia in the fight against ISIL.