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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Turkey, Russia Sign Secret Deal Over Military Offensive Against Kurds

Politics

7Dnews London

Sun, 11 Aug 2019 19:04 GMT

Ankara and Moscow have signed a secret agreement that allows Turkish-backed militias to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria, in exchange for Turkey's abandonment of Idlib, a senior Turkish opposition legislator has said.

According to a parliamentary question, a copy of it was obtained by The Stockholm-based Nordic Monitor, Ünal Çeviköz, deputy chairperson of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Turkey and Russia have signed a secret agreement allowing the Free Syrian Army forces (FSA), backed by Turkey, to attack areas controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. 

According to Çeviköz, a former ambassador, Turkey had to agree in return to withdraw its troops and military equipment from Idlib, the last stronghold of Syrian opposition. 

On May 6th, Çeviköz presented a parliamentary question asking Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu if the claim is true. The minister refused to answer the question, although he had to provide an answer within two weeks, according to Article 98 of the Turkish Constitution. 

Turkish-backed militias have launched simultaneous attacks on YPG-controlled territory, and captured some villages since 2018. This deal may have forced Russia to remain silent during the attacks. 

Çeviköz also accused the Turkish government of intervening in Syrian domestic politics, and asked for information about a possible date of direct contact with Syria, and the security measures that prevent terrorist groups from entering Turkey if forced to leave Idlib. And also what is the reason for accepting the extremely difficult task of ensuring the separation of extremist groups, from moderate opposition groups, in line with the Astana / Sochi peace process, to resolve the Syrian conflict. 

Since Turkey views Kurdish terrorist groups as a threat to its national security, Turkey has long threatened to attack the YPG, which controls large swathes of northern Syria. To this end, the Turkish government focused on gaining support from international actors in Syria for its military interventions, the Nordic Monitor said. 

Tensions between Washington and Ankara escalated on Monday, August, 5th, as Turkey announced its plan to invade Syria and began to gather large numbers of troops and military equipment along the border of northeastern Syria, in preparation for an attack on Syrian-backed Kurds, who supported by the U S, helped to defeat Isis. 

The US and Turkey have disagreed over the Kurds, a Middle Eastern ethnic group, in years past.  

Such an incursion would be an important escalation of the ongoing friction between the two NATO allies, and would threaten not only the Kurds, but also US forces in the region, Foreign Policy (FP) reported.  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed on Tuesday August, 6th, that Turkey would pay a higher price later, if it does not do what is necessary for northern Syria. It is not the first time Turkey has threatened an invasion. However, this time, the threat is imminent, according to US, Turkish, Kurdish and European officials, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the issue. This problem is critical to understanding the recent decline in US-Turkish relations.

Washington sees its support for the Kurds as reflecting the various imperatives of the US military, which has mostly seen the Kurds as the most available fighting force in Syria. Since President Donald Trump announced last year his intention to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, Washington and Ankara agreed to establish a safe zone inside Syria on its northeastern border with Turkey, but they did not agree on the depth of the area, and the troops it would oversee.


Middle East Europe