Turkey is not going to hand over the Syrian area of Afrin to the Damascus government if it’s able to capture it, according to Ilnur Cevik, a senior diplomatic adviser to Turksih President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On January 20, the Turkish Armed Forces and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army launched a military operation [dubbed Operation Olive Branch] to capture this area from Kurdish forces, mostly the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG is a core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Ankara describes the YPG as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) involved in a long-standing insurgency against the Turksih government.
“With the Afrin campaign “Operation Olive Branch,” Turkey is spoiling the game for Assad, the PKK and even for the Americans. Turkey aims to stamp out the PKK from Syria and hand over the lands back to their rightful owners, the Arabs, Turkmen and the Kurds.
So those who think Assad should regain control over Afrin and all the border areas across Turkey should think twice because this will never solve the vital security interest of our country,” Cevik wrote in his article entitled “The Assads hate Kurds, love PKK” on January 29.
Cevik’s article reflects the public rhetorics of the Turkish authorities on the conflict in Syria. While Ankara particiaptes in the Astana and Sochi formats backed by Tehran and Moscow, according to repeated statements of top Turksih officials, it is not going to cease its plans to expand its influence in Syria as much as its possible.