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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:06 GMT

SDF Accuses Turkey of Encouraging Isis to Return, Displacing Half Million Kurds

Politics

Ghada Ghaleb

Sun, 17 Nov 2019 15:12 GMT

The head of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Kobani, accused Turkey of encouraging Isis to reorganise and return to the areas from which it was expelled, citing evidence and videos. At the same time, he warned of possible attacks by the group in Western countries.

“The risk of Isis returning is very serious and dangerous," Kobani said in an interview with Sky News. "Many people do not know this, but it is real. Turkish aggression has provided space and gave hope to Isis elements and the cities that Turkey has entered will be a base for Isis to reconstitute itself."

Turkey had invaded areas in the north and northeast of Syria under the pretext of removing Syrian Kurdish fighters from the border until it stopped the military operation after the conclusion of an agreement with the United States to ensure the withdrawal of Kurds from those areas.

The commander of the SDF accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) member Turkey of encouraging Isis to return to areas vacated by Kurdish forces and the international coalition.

“Yes, that's true," Kobani said. "This is a serious accusation, but there is evidence to prove it and many people know that.

"This is not limited to Isis elements. It also includes former elements in al-Nusra and al-Qaeda that we fought in 2013 and 2014," he said.

Turkey denied the charges, but videos filmed in the north of Syria in possession of the SDF, seen by Sky News, show that militants fought alongside the Turkish army.

With regard to Isis prisoners held by the SDF, Kobani said his forces could not hold them for long.

In conclusion, the commander of the SDF warned that Isis would launch a major attack in one of the western countries, similar to the attack on the Manchester Arena in Britain in May 2017, in which 22 people were killed.

"This is possible, it is one of the things that may happen in the future, we do not know the fate of these prisoners in Syria, and the changes in the balance of power here," Kobani said

The Turkish army have displaced half a million Kurds

In another context, the SDF said on Thursday in a separate statement that the Turkish army and factions loyal to them had displaced half a million Kurds.

The SDF said last week that Turkey had occupied 1,100 km2 of territory since the ceasefire, killing 182 and wounding 242 of our fighters since the agreement. It has also displaced 30,000 civilians from their homes since the ceasefire.

A statement published by the general command of the SDF on Thursday said that Turkey is violating the ceasefire and deliberately increasing the scale of the humanitarian disaster.

"The Turkish state, its army and its armed factions did not abide by the ceasefire that was concluded between them and the US and in consultation with the SDF on October 17th, despite our forces fulfilling all the obligations stipulated in the agreement.

"They continue to occupy Syrian territory outside the area of military operations agreed upon in Ras al-Ain, Tall Abyad, Tall Tamr, and they displace and kill residents despite the withdrawal of our troops," according to the statement.

"The Turkish state has occupied since the day of the ceasefire and until now a geographical area estimated at 1100 km2 comprising 56 villages in addition to many farms… in the north of the town of Ain Issa, east of the city of Kobani, east of Ras al-Ain and northwest of Tal Tamr.

"The Turkish state and its factions, through their repeated violations since the day of the ceasefire declaration, caused the displacement of nearly 30,000 civilians, in addition to the death and injury of dozens of others," the statement said.

Middle East