Those helping Syria Kurds in Afrin ‘legitimate target’: Turkey
Islamabad : Turkey has repeated its warnings about an escalation of tension in Syria’s northern region of Afrin, where it has been attacking the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), saying any group coming to the help of the Kurds in the region would be considered a “legitimate target” for the Turkish military.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that any force in Afrin, including the Syrian government, would be targeted by Turkish troops if they assist the YPG, the main Kurdish militant group in the region.
“Every step taken in support for the YPG terror organization would mean (any forces intervening on the Kurdish militants’ side) are on the same level as terror organizations. And for us, that would make them legitimate targets,” said Kalin, adding, “It doesn’t matter who makes such an attempt, there will be serious consequences.”
For more than a month, Turkey has been launching attacks on the YPG in Afrin. The campaign, designated as illegal by the Syrian government, has met growing criticism even among Turkey’s allies, including the United States, which backs the YPG and other anti-government forces in northern Syria. Ankara justifies its aggression as a form of self-defense. Turkey views the YPG as an arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
The remarks by the Turkish spokesman came a day after Syrian pro-government forces entered Afrin with the aim of repelling the Turkish military intervention.
Syria’s official news agency, SANA, said Monday the forces intended to enter Afrin to “join the resistance against the Turkish aggression.”