Saturday, April 1, 2017

Long-Term Occupation of Syria: No withdrawal from Syria before settlements built, local forces trained

Turkey has “successfully accomplished” its months-old military operation into northern Syria, but troops will not be withdrawn soon from the regions under Ankara’s control as it seeks ensure life returns to normal in the area, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.

“Residential areas need to be established there. The U.S. says the same thing. Second, local forces that will be deployed to provide protection here need to be trained and equipped. We will evaluate reducing the number of troops or withdrawing entirely only after local forces are fully able to control this area,” Çavuşoğlu told Ankara bureau chiefs aboard a flight to Brussels late on March 30.

Çavuşoğlu and U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson also discussed during the latter’s visit to Ankara on March 30 the establishment of what Tillerson called “interim stabilization zones” inside Syria for Syrians to be able to return their country. Çavuşoğlu said they proposed working together and encouraging European countries to participate in the project.

However, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara told Tillerson that regions under the control of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) could not be considered “safe zones.”

 “He asked us ‘why’ and I explained to him. We are hosting around 300,000 Syrian Kurds who came to us from YPG-controlled regions. The majority of them were forced to leave their homes by the YPG as they do not have the same ideology as this group. [The displaced] don’t accept YPG oppression,” he said, citing examples from Tel Abyad and Afrin.........


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