AANES disappointed over Sweden’s new stance to ‘placate’ Turkey

AANES disappointed over Sweden’s new stance to ‘placate’ Turkey
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The de facto political body reigning in Northern Syria denounced new Swedish Foreign Minister’s pledge to distance Sweden from Kurdish fighters in the region

Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) said on Saturday that the statement by the new Swedish Foreign Minister was disappointing and made to “placate Turkey” in order to approve Sweden’s membership in NATO, ANHA reported

A press release by the AANES Foreign Relations Department said the administration was “disappointed by the statement of the new Swedish Foreign Minister, Mr. Tobias Billström,” about halting support for the Kurds in Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). 

Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday his country will distance itself from the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria as it tries to win Turkey's approval to join NATO.

"There is too close a connection between these organizations and the PKK ... for it to be good for the relationship between us and Turkey," Billstrom told public service broadcaster Swedish Radio.

“The military forces of North and East Syria (NES) supported by the Global Coalition against ISIS have been fighting against ISIS to maintain international peace and security. It is unfortunate that such a statement aims to placate Turkey to approve Sweden’s membership in NATO. We understand the interests of Sweden, but it should not be at the expense of the peoples who are fighting against global terrorism that threatens the entire world,” the statement said. 

Sweden and Finland applied for joining NATO in May, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but Turkey, a members of the alliance holding veto power raised its objections over the two Nordic countries’ bids, citing their alleged support for terrorism. At the end of June, Ankara lifted its veto following a trilateral memorandum signed with Swedish and Finnish governments, which Stockholm and Helsinki confirmed to address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects. The two NATO candidates also lifted arms embargoes against Turkey that was imposed in 2018 after Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria. 

The AANES, a political entity established in the region during the Syrian civil war under the leadership of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), is regarded as a security threat by the Turkish administration.