Turkiye Warns of Potential Military Action Over Kurdish Elections in Syria

Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkiye is prepared to launch a new offensive in northern Syria if Kurdish-led groups proceed with planned local elections. Turkiye views these actions as a threat to its and Syria's territorial integrity, fearing the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

PTI | Ankara | Updated: 30-05-2024 18:29 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 18:29 IST
Turkiye Warns of Potential Military Action Over Kurdish Elections in Syria
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Turkiye will not hesitate to carry out a new offensive in northern Syria if Kurdish-led groups - which Ankara accuses of linked to outlawed Kurdish militants - go ahead with plans to hold local elections in the region, Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

A Kurdish-led autonomous administration that controls northern and eastern parts of Syria has announced plans to hold municipal elections on June 11. The vote to choose mayors will be held in the provinces of Hassakeh, Raqqa, Deir el-Zour and eastern part of Aleppo province.

Turkiye, which has launched military operations in Syria in the past, considers the move as a step by Syrian Kurdish militia toward the creation of an independent Kurdish entity across its border. It has described the planned polls as a threat to the territorial integrity of both Syria and Turkiye.

"We are closely following the aggressive actions by the terrorist organization against the territorial integrity of our country and of Syria under the pretext of an election," Erdogan said after observing military exercises in western Turkiye.

"Turkiye will never allow the separatist organisation to establish (a terror state) just beyond its southern borders in the north of Syria and Iraq," he said.

Turkiye considers the Kurdish militia group, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, as a terrorist group linked to an outlawed Kurdish group that has led an insurgency against Turkiye since 1984. That conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, has killed tens of thousands of people.

The YPG however, makes up the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF - a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State group. American support for the SDF has infuriated Ankara and remains a major source of contention in their relations.

Turkiye has carried a series of military operations in Syria to drive out Syrian Kurdish militia away from its border since 2016, and controls a swath of territory in the north. Turkish leaders frequently speak of plans to establish a 30-kilometre deep safe zone along its border in Syria and Iraq, where the PKK has a foothold, to protect its borders.

"We did what was needed in the past in the face of a fait accompli. We will not hesitate to act again if we encounter the same situation," Erdogan said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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