Turkey Vows to Clean British Fighters in Syria, Labels them as Terrorists - HackTribune


Friday, 9 September 2016

Turkey Vows to Clean British Fighters in Syria, Labels them as Terrorists

Turkey Vows to Clean British Fighters in Syria, Labels them as Terrorists


Senior Turkish officials have said that the country’s military will continue its offensive in northern Syriaagainst ISIS and the Kurdish military wing, known as the YPG.

In August 2016, Turkey authorized its armed forces to cross into northern Syria and fight ISIS.

The Kurds are a minority ethnic group in the Middle East, mostly living within the borders of Turkey and Syria. There are others also living in Iran and Iraq, however, between Turkey and Syria, the Kurds have pressed for their own independent country, which would be called Kurdistan.

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The Kurds have opposed both Turkish and Syrian governments in their quest to gain their independence. When the Syrian civil war broke out, and with the emergence of ISIS, the group fought both Syrian government forces and the terrorist group. ISIS wants to seize Kurdish territories to expand their Caliphate, making the Kurds a primary target.

As the Kurdish became vulnerable to ISIS, some western fighters, especially from Britain, joined the Kurdish YPG to fight ISIS under the umbrella organization, the Syrian Democratic Forces. But because Turkish territory is part of which the Kurds want to make their independent homeland, this has set the Turks at odd with the Kurds. Turkey has even branded the YPG a terrorist organization.

After the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 the country’s position on the war in Syria is changing. Turkey has accused the United States of being complicit in the failed coup. It has prompted Turkey to repair its former cold relationship with Russia, pledging to play an active role to end the civil war in Syria.

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When ISIS recently intensified its suicide bombings on Turkish soil, the country’s military was authorized to cross into northern Syria and fight ISIS. Meanwhile, the YPG fighters, including the British so-called volunteered fighters, are based in northern Syria. As the Turkish fighters are pursing ISIS at the same time, they see the YPG as a threat.

In an interview with the Middle East Eye, Yunus Akbaba, the chief advisor to the Turkish Prime Minister said Turkey considers all so-called Western volunteers in Syria fighting alongside the YPG, as terrorists.

He said Turkey will push deep in northern Syria in order to get rid of ISIS and YPG fighters, including the Western fighters.

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The Middle East Eye reports that a week after the Turkish military crossed into Syria, the United States had tried to broker a ceasefire between the Turkish military and the YPG fighters. However, the Turkish rejected the proposal from the American government. Britain and the United States consider the YPG as freedom fighters.

Particularly for Britain, it has allowed its citizens to form the Bob Crow Brigade, who are now fighting alongside the YPG, and gradually integrate into the International Freedom Battalion.


This has further angered the Turks. The Turks now believe these Western fighters will one day threaten their sovereignty, probably after the war in Syria has ended.

“Turkey does not differentiate on the basis of nationality when it comes to membership in terrorist organizations. In the heat of battle we are not going to stop and ask the terrorists what their nationality is. Turkey will not hesitate to confront terrorist organizations within the scope of its operation. These are terrorist groups and anyone fighting under their banner will be considered terrorists,” Mr Akbaba said.

Akbaba further said if these Western fighters are killed by Turkish forces, the country cannot be held responsible for their death. He said: “It is the responsibility of the countries where they come from to prevent them from joining these groups. Turkish forces will confront them if they are fighting under the banner of terrorist groups, regardless of whether they are members of allied countries.”

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Yasin Aktay, a spokesman for the Turkish ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP), also said Western governments want to destabilize Turkey, hence their support for their citizens to fight in the Middle East.

“It is difficult to see what else could motivate them. They are under this illusion that they will help create this secular pro-Western Kurdish statelet in the heart of Islamic lands. These people are either motivated by a crusader mentality or are Western intelligence agents aiming to further the PYD/YPG project. All this talk of them being there to face the ISIS threat is nonsense,” he said.

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