SDF top official says Turkey wants to disrupt fight against ISIS
Mazloum Abdi, the General Commander of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said in a live cast Friday that Turkey has been waiting for the right moment to launch a military campaign against SDF in north Syria, and that one of their objectives is to disrupt the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
The top official of SDF, the land force in the International Coalition's fight against ISIS in Syria since 2015, said:
"As you know, Turkey began to make its threats two months ago. They began preparations to launch an attack into north and east Syria. The threats were voiced directly by Turkish President Erdoğan. These threats still continue. They have been carrying on with their preparations along the border. They have a military build up along the border now."
"We believe that Turkish forces have not yet launched an attack only because they did not have the opportunity. We think that they only postponed the attack, and will act as soon as the conditions are ripe (...) They are engaged in final preparations. The attack might be launched within a short period of time."
Noting that the International Coalition, led by the US, had a positive stance regarding the situation, Abdi stressed that this was not sufficient since Turkey was determined to attack.
"We cannot fight in two fronts at once"
"One of Turkish administration's objectives is to disrupt the fight that we have been waging against ISIS in coordination with the International Coalition. And if they do launch a military operation, they might achieve their objective," he said.
"Our forces will not be able to fight in two fronts at once. They cannot fight simultaneously against Turkish forces and ISIS. Our preparations, particularly at this stage, are focused on a possible Turkish attack."
Asked whether they were engaged in talks with the Syrian government for cooperation against a Turkish attack, Abdi said:
"We do not have a direct contact with the Syrian regime. We cooperated with Syrian forces in an earlier occasion on efforts by Russia. We have a similar situation now. Syrian President recently said in one of his addresses that Syrian forces will respond to Turkey's attacks. We think this is positive."