human rights watch

torsdag 29 oktober 2015

Turkey to Kurds ''If you attack ISIS, we will attack you''

Turkey to Kurds ''If you attack ISIS, we will attack you''
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey had struck Kurdish fighters (YPG) in Syria twice after they defied Ankara's warning not to cross west of the Euphrates river.

Washington has supported Kurds in Syria as an effective force in combating Islamic State militants, complicating its relationship with longtime ally and fellow NATO member Turkey.

"We have said 'Kurds will not cross west of the Euphrates, we will hit them the moment they do' and we have struck them twice," Davutoglu told AHaber Television late on Monday, without saying when the incidents took place.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected claims that he supports the Islamic State organization (ISIS), suggesting that those who suspect him should look at his “face” before deciding. Asked to respond to opposition claims that his government backs ISIS, Davutoglu said: "Do I look like I support ISIS?"

Two senior Turkish officials told reporters that Ankara had warned the United States and Russia earlier this month that it would not tolerate Kurds encroaching on territory in northwestern Syria close to its border.

The Kurdish forces (YPG) said in statements over the weekend that the Turkish army had twice attacked its positions near the border towns of Tel Abyad and Kobani. ''Turkey shot at its forces in the town of Tal Abyad twice Sunday, mostly with machine guns, after the town was included into a Kurdish enclave.''

Tel Abyad, on the border with Turkey, was captured in June from Islamic State by Kurdish forces (YPG) backed up by U.S.-led air strikes. Last week a local leadership council declared it part of the system of autonomous self-government established by the Kurds.

That has infuriated Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who on Saturday accused Kurdish groups of trying to grab control of all of northern Syria, adding that Ankara would not allow that to happen. Syrian Kurds have established three autonomous zones, or "cantons", across northern Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011. They are aiming to establish their own state.

The Kurds has been a key ally for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria. Turkey differ on this issue and sees all Kurds as terrorist. The City of Jarablus is the last city bordering Islamic State with Turkey. The only way for the Kurds to take Jarablus from ISIS is by crossing the Euphrates river. If Jarablus is taken by Kurdish forces, all oil supply from Islamic State to Turkey will stop.

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