Kurdish commander in Syria expects Turkish offensive in February
As the Turkish government yields to Kremlin demands for rapprochement with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there is growing concern among Kurds that this could allow Turkey to attack Kurdish-controlled areas in Northern Syria, according to an article in Al Monitor.
Turkey has carried out three major attacks against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since 2016 because of their close ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is at war with Turkey. The goal is to establish a 30-kilometer-deep "security belt" along the 900-kilometer-long border with Syria.
SDF commander Mazloum Abdi downplayed the fact that he and numerous leaders were active in the PKK. He said he was Syrian and worried about the future of Syria.
Speaking to Al Monitor’s Amberin Zaman, Abdi said Turkey should not punish Syria’s Kurds over its own failure to bring long-shelved peace talks with the PKK to a successful conclusion.
"We take Turkey's threats seriously. We expect an attack in February. The city of Kobani is a likely target because of its symbolic importance to Kurds around the world. Turkey is heading towards elections and we know that President Erdogan wants to rally nationalist support and he seems to believe that attacking Rojava again can serve this purpose," Kobane said.
Abdi said Turkey attacked civilian infrastructure, power plants, and oil facilities, causing significant damage.
"Turkey must stop punishing our people and other Kurds living beyond its borders for not solving its own Kurdish problem through peaceful, democratic means," Abdi said.