Sipan Hemo, top Commander of the Kurdish YPG militia of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), 2017.
AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan,— Syria’s Kurds said Monday they have “no problem” if the regime in Damascus intervenes on their side to help push back an assault by Turkey in the Kurdish Afrin region in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
Ankara has been waging an offensive against Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the frontier region since January 20.
While the United States has given armed support to the YPG against the Islamic State group in Syria, Turkey says the militia is a “terrorist” offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The YPG strongly rejects the Turkish claims.
“We don’t have a problem with the entry of the Syrian army to defend Afrin and its border in the face of the Turkish occupation,” YPG commander Sipan Hamo said at a press conference.
Long oppressed by Damascus, the Kurds have taken advantage of the conflict that began in 2011 to secure de facto autonomy over Syria’s northern regions.
Kurdish authorities called in late January for the regime to intervene by sending its forces on the border with Turkey.
Damascus has denounced the “aggression” by Ankara but did not react to the appeal as the Kurds rejected allowing the regime to redeploy troops in the region and reestablish state control.
Any alliance between Damascus and the Kurds could prove tricky for Washington as it is strongly opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
regards the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its powerful military wing YPG/YPJ, as key ally against Islamic State IS and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with arms, air support as well as the military advisers. The YPG has seized swathes of Syria from IS.
Turkey is using YPG as pretext to invade the Syrian Kurdish region in order not allow Kurds to establish an autonomous region in Syrian Kurdistan, analysts say.
Ankara, which still denies the constitutional existence of its own Kurds numbering to 22.5 million, fears the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region or Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan could encourage separatism amongst its own Kurds.
In 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — the political branch of the powerful People’s Protection Units (YPG) — has established three autonomous Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013.
On March 17, 2016, Kurdish authorities announced the creation of a “federal region” made up of those semi-autonomous regions in Syrian Kurdistan.
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