Turkey will not hand over Afrin to Assad – Erdogan advisor

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


According to Ilnur Çevik, senior diplomatic adviser to President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan, the Kurdish enclave of Afrin will not be handed over to Assad, if the Turkish Army and their allied Islamist proxy forces would capture Afrin.

However, so far Kurdish forces have resisted the Turkish attacks that were launched on 20 January, which led to the death of dozens of civilians in Afrin, including people displaced by fighting between the Syrian government and rebels in Idlib.

“So those who think Assad should regain control over Afrin and all the border areas across Turkey should think twice because this will never solve the vital security interest of our country,” he wrote on for the pro-government Daily Sabah news website on Tuesday.

“With the Afrin campaign "Operation Olive Branch," Turkey is spoiling the game for Assad, the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] and even for the Americans. 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,” Çevik added.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) has denied any links to the PKK and have pointed out that the Turkish government for years supported ISIS and continues to support Jihadist groups.

Furthermore, Kurds have warned that Turkey will not leave territories it has occupied since it’s Euphrates Shield operation launched in Augustus 2016.

Recently tensions have increased between the Syrian government and Turkey, after a Turkish convoy entered Southern Aleppo on Monday escorted by the Al Qaida-linked Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham.

3 Turkish soldiers were killed when an explosion targeted the convoy in the town of Atarib, Syria, Al Jazeera reported.

"The Syrian Kurds blamed Russia for allowing the Turkish attacks that were launched on 20 January. The Russian government told Syrian Kurds that they have two choices: either handover Afrin to the Syrian government, or be bombed by the Turks. The Kurds chose resistance."

“Russia is trying to threaten our people with Turkish aggression in the hope of making our people submit to its conditions,” Senior TEV-DEM official Aldar Xelil wrote in an op-ed for the Lebanese an-Nahar. 

The Barzani-backed Kurdish National Council (KNC) also suggested in a statement on 22 January that the Turkish attacks would ‘push the region into be handed over to the Syrian regime” and therefore opposed the Turkish attacks on Afrin.

Abdulbasit Seyda, former head of the Syrian National Council, who recently left the Syrian opposition due to its support for the Turkish attacks on Afrin, told the Region that the Turks attacks put more pressure on Kurds to hand over Afrin to Assad.

“It is not unlikely that the regime will enter this [Afrin] region with the help of its allies of the Iranians and the Russians,” he told the Region.

“This means that we worked to restore the region to the rule of the regime rather than keep it away from its direct influence,” he added.  

However, the local administrations have rejected any term of the Syrian government to Kurdish territories. But have expressed willingness to negotiate with the Syrian government in October last year if it accepts a federal system.

“If Turkey enters an area, it will not leave. Until now they have bases in Mosul in Iraq, and intervened in Cyprus and didn’t leave,” Abdulkarim Omar, head of Foreign Relations in Jazira canton told The Region about the Turkish interference in Syria, and the areas Turkey controls in northern Aleppo since it launched the Euphrates Shield operation in August 2016 and the recent attacks on Afrin.

“The Syrian opposition has given up everything for Turkey in order to fight the Kurds and their rights,” he said about the Syrian opposition that backed Turkish attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of Syrians in Afrin.