Did Turkey receive a green light to launch an operation in Northern Syria? Ankara’s unexpected decision to welcome Sweden and Finland into NATO led many observers to believe that it got tacit approval from western countries for an invasion in exchange.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that Ankara would complete the 30-kilometre-deep security belt along the country’s border with Syria, as soon as possible.
Whether rumours of green light are true or not, the Kurdish-led Syrian democratic forces (SDF), as well as civil society in the NE, are moving to prevent an attack.
According to the Kurdish agency North Press, 250 European and Syrian figures warned on Tuesday of the disastrous consequences of any possible Turkish invasion of northern Syria, calling for some outstanding issues to be addressed through dialogue.
The 250 personalities signed a petition to the international community, warning of endangering regional and international security and increasing the risks of global terrorism in the event that Turkey launched any attacks on northern Syria, according to what was published on the Syrian democratic council (SDC, the political wing of the SDF) website.
The petition said that the area targeted by Turkey has more than 27 detention centers for ISIS militants in addition to camps for their families. These centers and camps are threatened by the loss of security control. It also warned of a new wave of refugees, whose numbers are estimated at hundreds of thousands, towards Western European countries.
Still according to North Press, on Tuesday, political parties and forces operating in north and east Syria called on the U.S.-led Global Coalition and Russia to impose a no-fly zone in the region in order to prevent Turkey from launching a new invasion that will harm the lives of millions of residents.
This was included in a statement by 32 political parties and forces, in which they demanded that Syrians inside and outside Syria carry out activities and campaigns, calling for stopping Turkish military escalation and holding Turkey accountable for crimes committed against humanity in Syria.
In a speech after charring a government meeting, at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed on June 27th his threats to launch a new military operation in northern Syria.
Recognition of the AANES
The Kurdish agency also reported that last Friday, Hubert Cooreman, ambassador of Belgium in Lebanon, pledged to seek recognition of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and its democratic project and offer it security and economic support.
This came during a visit by a Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation headed by Cooreman to northeastern Syria during a meeting with the co-chair of the Executive Council of the Jazira Region, Nazira Gawriya, in the city of Amuda.
Earlier, the AANES handed over six Belgian women and 16 children family members of the Islamic State Organization (ISIS) held in Syria to the Belgian government.
But will the recent diplomatic breakthrough between Turkey, Sweden and Finland impede these efforts by the SDF? According to the international news website The Guardian, NATO’s secretary-general said that Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum “that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism.” Still according to The Guardian, Turkey had threatened to block the accession of Sweden and Finland unless it received assurances that these countries were willing to address “support” for Kurdish groups it designates as terrorist, in particular the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).
Nevertheless, according to North Press, the ruling party in Sweden stressed that its country’s stance on northeast Syria would not change, said Shiyar Ali, representative of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) in Sweden, Thursday.
Ali told North Press in a phone call that meetings with political parties are ongoing. He also stressed that tomorrow there will be a meeting with a Swedish government delegation to discuss the recent agreement with Turkey.
Hassan Muhammad Ali, a member of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), said on Wednesday that the SDC has contacts with both Sweden and Finland to know about their real attitudes and about what is happening behind the scenes.
The AANES representative in Sweden cited an official in the Swedish ruling party as saying, “Erdogan sees the Swedish policy in Syria according to his whims.”
He stressed that Erdogan had repeatedly tried to list the YPG and PYD on the list of terrorists, in addition to obtaining international approval to launch a military operation in Syria’s north, but he could not obtain a green light.
He added that his country is of humanitarian heritage and supports human rights all over the world which makes it impossible for Sweden to abandon its stance based on Erdogan’s demand.
He noted that Sweden supported not only the Kurds in Syria but also the Ukrainian people.
The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.