On Monday Mevlut Cavusoglu accused both the US and Russia of failing to abide by their respective ceasefires and of failing to expel the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the safe zone along the Turkey Syria border.
Attack on Al-BabThe Turkish announcement came after an attack on Al-Bab last weekend reported by Reuters: “The Turkish Defence Ministry said on Saturday that a car bomb attack by Syrian Kurdish fighters killed 10 people and wounded more than 15 in the northern Syrian border town of Al-Bab, which Turkish forces seized in a 2016 offensive.”Note that the town is not in the safe zone but was seized by the Turks during an offensive back in 2016. Turkey is using the bombing as proof that the YPG are a terrorist organization.Turkey’s warningCavusoglu warned that if Russia and the US were not successful in expelling the Kurds that Turkey will launch a further offensive against northern Syria targeting the Kurdish faction. It seems that Turkey intends to take its offensive against the YPG further than the 30 km safe zone. It is emphasizing its narrative that the YPG are terrorists.An agreement last month required that the YPG be removed from the 30km safe zone bordering Turkey in exchange for Turkey ceasing its offensive. Turkey’s offensive began after the US withdrew its troops from the safe zone area. The withdrawal was seen by many as a betrayal of the Kurds who had been a key ally of the US in defeating ISIS in Syria:”Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a Turkish military incursion was broadly condemned by figures on both the right and the left, who viewed it as a betrayal of a U.S. ally.”Cavusoglu said: “If we do not obtain a result, we will do what is necessary, just as we launched the operation after trying with the U.S.”It is not clear what Russia or the US will do if anythingPresident Trump has declared the ceasefire and agreement a success in spite of Turkish complaints. In his recent meeting with Turkish president Erdogan Trump avoided bringing up any problems with their relation. Turkey has been up in arms with the US Congress over a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. The US Congress has also called on Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey because of its offensive: “Despite amicable relations between the presidents of the two countries, the U.S. Congress has passed a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Ankara, a NATO ally, over the offensive.”