Syrian Kurds, Kurdish activists on the social media and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been calling for establishing a no fly zone since 26 April, under the hash tag #NoFlyZone4Rojava, after Turkish air strikes hit a YPG base near Derik last week killing over 20 YPG fighters.
“The first time for declaring ‘no-fly zone’ was in Northern Iraq in 1991. From that time the Kurdish people were safe. Now also here in Rojava, all people ask the world to create a no-fly zone in areas under SDF/YPG control,” Abdulselam Mohamed (40), a teacher at the Rojava university in Qamishli, told ARA News.
“This is because the Kurds are very strong on the ground and haven proven themselves in the fight against Daesh [ISIS],” he said. “For that reason, Daesh is being defeated, and this is not good for Turkey that is the father of terrorism in the Middle East.”
“So, Kurds are asking for a no-fly zone to be protected from Turkey, otherwise they will withdraw from fighting Daesh [ISIS] in Raqqa and this is what Turkey wants, because we are a partner of the international coalition against Daesh. Thus, the coalition must do something for like what they did for the Kurds in Iraq in 1991,” he told ARA News.
“The Kurds are asking for protection from Turkish attacks, since otherwise planes will attack again,” journalist Rody Naso told ARA News. “The Kurds are concerned, but we are not afraid. It was a big mistake of ISIS to fight against the Kurds [in Kobani]. Otherwise, ISIS would have controlled all Arab areas.”
“A #NoFlyZone4Rojava will help keep millions alive and a stable Northern Syria would mean stability for the entire region,” the official account of the YPG tweeted on 26 April.
However, Nicholas A. Heras, Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), told ARA News that there is already a de facto safe zone.
“The U.S.-led Coalition has already established a de facto safe zone in the Federal Region of Northern Syria east of the Euphrates. The Turkish military wants the U.S. military to withdraw from the Syrian-Turkish border regions east of the Euphrates because Erdogan wants to create a buffer zone controlled by Turkey on the entire length of the border,” Heras said.
“The U.S. military won’t do that because the Americans realize that Erdogan wants to create a Turkish versus Syrian Kurdish war in northeastern Syria to kill the SDF,” he said.
“Turkey has to tread carefully here because the U.S. military is more than willing to work with the Turks to implement a comprehensive strategy to stabilize Syria after ISIS, but not at the expense of the SDF,” Heras told ARA News.
“The Americans have made it clear in communication with Turkey, both in public messaging such as in aftermath of the April 25 airstrikes, or through back channels that the SDF is America’s ally in Syria and the red line that Turkey should not cross,” he said.
“So long as the U.S. military is invested in Syria, in SDF controlled areas, there will for all intents and purposes be a safe zone there,” he said.
On Friday, pictures were spread on social media by local journalists showing American vehicles on the Syrian-Turkish border. However, this was not confirmed by the U.S. army.
Meanwhile, the YPG said the Turkish army continued to attack YPG forces and said they will strongly answer these attacks.
“Following this brutal attack, the Turkish state launched attacks on many of our forces along the border of Rojava. From the Canton of Efrin to the Canton of Cindirês, and to Dirbesiyê of the Cizre Canton, many points of our forces were attacked by the Turkish army,” the YPG said in a statement.
“Our forces have responded strongly to these attacks of the Turkish state. In the conflicts over the border, the Turkish army was inflicted heavy blows,” the YPG said.
“The attacks of the occupied Turkish state did not stop at all despite the fact that not all the attacks of the Turkish army until now have been answered, and we have tried to develop good relations with the Turkish state,” the YPG concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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