Operation Olive Branch conducted by Turkey has proved that following the defeat of Daesh, there is no need for the presence of the PKK’s Syrian offshoot the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the region, experts said in a panel titled, “The Political and Military Consequences of the Afrin Operation” organized by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Ankara.
“Turkey’s determination and capabilities were seen as a result of the operation in Afrin. Following the defeat of Daesh, it is understood that there is no need for the PKK regarding providing security in the region,” Mesut Özcan, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Center for Strategic Research (SAM), said at the panel on March 29.
In the face of growing security threats posed by the terrorist PKK/YPG, Turkey launched an operation into Afrin Syria on Jan. 20 and took control of the Afrin city center on March 18.
“In 2014, the PKK/YPG projected itself as the only capable force fighting against Daesh in Syria. Unfortunately, the U.S. bought into this false idea,” Özcan said, adding that when Daesh is eliminated it is also understood that this claim was false.
Prior to the operation, Turkey had been long criticizing its ally U.S.’s partnership with the YPG and stressing that arming the terrorist groups would further put the region at risk. Despite Turkey’s criticism, the U.S. continued its relation with the YPG arguing that “it has been efficient in the fight against Daesh.”
Can Acun, a Middle East expert, stated in the panel that: “The July 15 failed coup attempt has pushed Turkey to directly eliminate security threats through cross-border operations, and the Afrin operation can be evaluated as part of this incentive.”
Acun added that Afrin was a strategic recruitment hub for the PKK, and it was used as a base by PKK partisans.
Assed Baig, a reporter for TRT World, said the people of Afrin did not want the YPG in the region, however, this was not represented in Western media. “When we went into Afrin, we were told that some residents openly expressed their disapproval of the YPG and asked them to leave. This is not reported in the West. A biased propaganda is going on for the YPG,” Baig said.
[Daily Sabah, 31 Mart 2018]