According to a senior official, Syrian Kurds have rejected the Turkish security zone in northern Syria, AFP reported.
Following a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday that Ankara would create a 32-kilometre safe zone in northern Syria. Erdogan’s spokesperson later elaborated that the security zone would be controlled by Ankara.
The spokesman further added that the Turkish military would coordinate their actions with locals.
The idea was initially proposed by Trump, who threatened on Twitter to “devastate” Turkey’s economy if Ankara attacked US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria. In response, Turkey said it may “remain hungry, without food and water”, but will still fight terrorists.
Last month, Donald Trump declared victory over Daesh in Syria, subsequently announcing the withdrawal of 2,000 US troops currently deployed in the Mideast country. The president stated that regional countries, including Turkey, would wipe out the remaining terrorists.
Trump, however, stressed that he sought to protect US-allied Kurds while gradually pulling the troops out of the country, with White House National Security Adviser naming the protection of Kurdish militia by Ankara a condition for the US withdrawal.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin hit back, saying it was a “fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian branch PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party]/YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units]”. Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey.