Jan 30 2018

Assad can't be trusted with Turkey border - adviser

Syrian President Bashar Assad cannot be trusted with security in northern Syria because his family have a long history of supporting Kurdish terrorists, according to Ilnur Çevik, a journalist and senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s military campaign in the region is aimed at restoring Syrian demographics and ending the threat posed to Turkish territory by the group, Çevik said in the Daily Sabah newspaper.

“With the Afrin campaign "Operation Olive Branch," Turkey is spoiling the game for Assad, the PKK and even for the Americans,” he said. “Turkey aims to stamp out the PKK from Syria and hand over the lands back to their rightful owners, the Arabs, Turkmen and the Kurds.”

The main Kurdish fighting force in Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) belongs to the same umbrella organisation as the PKK. The YPG has the same ideological leader – Abdullah Ocalan – and has provided vital support to the United States and its allies in defeating Islamic State. The PKK has fought a three-decade war for Kurdish autonomy from Turkey.

Washington has knowingly or unknowingly helped the PKK and YPG expand their territories into Arab and Turkmen lands – the Kurds of Syria form 8 percent of the population, but the United States has let the PKK invade 25 to 30 percent of Syrian territory, Çevik said.

Assad’s father sponsored the PKK and used the group to further Syria’s claims to the Turkish region of Hatay, before harbouring Ocalan in Damascus, he said.

Diplomatic pressure from Turkey forced Ocalan to move on, before he was captured in Kenya, with U.S. help, in 1999, three years before Erdoğan came to power.