Assad Knew About Euphrates Shield, Ankara Aims to Prevent ‘Kurdish Corridor’

Turkish PM says all relevant parties, including the regime of Bashar Assad, were informed of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish corridor

Turkey issued a strong warning to Kurdish Forces in north Syria, asking them to immediately move north the Euphrates or become another target, and have called on Washington to abide by its promises in this regard.

Turkish deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the main target of Operation Euphrates Shield launched by Ankara last week in north Syria was to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish corridor stretching from Iraq to the verge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking in Ankara on Monday, Kurtulmus said that all relevant parties, including the regime of Bashar Assad, were informed of Turkey’s operation in Syria.

The Turkish prime minister’s office had denied on Monday claims saying Turkish forces were targeting civilians in Syria.

Kurtulmus said: “Turkey is not an invader, and does not launch wars. Russia had informed Syria about the operation and we are certain about it.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had accused the Democratic Union Party (YPG) of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” of people, including Kurds, who “do not think like them.”

Cavusoglu said that Operation Euphrates, which is conducted by Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets, aim to “clear ISIS” from the region.

“The YPG will be targeted until it moves east of Euphrates,” the Foreign Minister said.

Speaking during a joint press conference with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders in Ankara, Cavusoglu said Arabs were the majority in the Syrian city of Manbij. “We should secure the return of the residents who were forced to leave,” he said.

PYD leader Saleh Muslim told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Despite their disputes and divisions, Iranian, Turks and Syrians all agree to attack Kurds in light of a Russian-U.S. silence.”

On Monday, fighting escalated between Kurdish Forces in north Syria and Syrian opposition factions backed by Ankara in west Euphrates, to replace the original battles that should have aimed to attack ISIS members in the area.

According to some observers, the upcoming crisis would take place in the city of Manbij, which was previously liberated from ISIS by the Manbij Military Council backed by Syrian Democratic Forces.

Leading Kurdish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Manbij Military Council will face any attempt from the Turks or their linked factions to control the city,” adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were ready to support the residents of Manbij in this battle.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, factions backed by Turkey were capable to advance in at least 21 villages in the west and south countryside of Jarablus, since the start of the operation.

In Kabul, the Afghan Intelligence had arrested Qurban Ghalambor, representative of the office of Iranian Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei and the Office of Shiite Reference Ali al-Sistani.

A government source said that Ghalambor was arrested earlier this August in front of his house in the Herat district, in western Afghanistan, near the Iranian borders. The source said Ghalambor was tasked to send fighters to Syria and Iraq.

Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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