Pro-Turkey demonstration in Tal Rifaat-Syria

Syrian protestors, including 400 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters held a demonstration today in Tal Rifaat in northwestern Syria calling Turkey to extend Operation Olive Branch into their city, reported Anadolu Agency. Turkish Chief Of Staff also posted a tweet about the demonstration.

The demonstrators who blocked the road between Aziz city and Sijo town were later convinced by Turkish military personnel and local security forces to end their rally, said Anadolu Agency.

The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (PYD) and its armed unit Kurdish Self-Defense Forces (YPG) took control of Tal Rifaat, a territory close to Turkish border in February 2016. Turkey considers PYD and YPG as the Syrian branch of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for more than 30 years.

Turkey’s military offense called Operation Olive Branch, backed by FSA fighters took start on January 20 to clear Afrin in northwest Syria from PYD-YPG forces. Turkey announced on March 18 that it seized the control of the Afrin city centre, a day after the Kurdish militia decided to evacuate the majority of the civilian population in the city.  

On Thursday, Al-Masdar News claimed that Russia and Turkey are negotiating the situation in Tal Rifaat, which hosts a Russian military base. Turkey is demanding the expulsion of Kurdish forces in the city and the return of displaced population who fled Tal Rifaat after the territory was seized by PYD-YPG.