Turkish-Syrian accord negatively impacts Syrian Kurds: AANES

Turkey’s previous assurances to protect Syrian rebels had led to expectations now perceived as unfulfilled due to ongoing negotiations. [Getty]

Syrian Kurds in northeast Syria are growing concerned over clashes between Turkey and Ankara-backed Syrian forces, emphasising their non-military intentions towards the Turkish army and rebel-held areas in the northwest of Syria.

In Afrin, northwest Syria, four protestors were killed and more than 20 others injured on Monday during clashes between armed demonstrators and Turkish forces, according to reports from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The violence erupted in areas controlled by rebels backed by Ankara.

Fatehullah Husseini, representing the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) in Iraqi Kurdistan, attributed the unrest to Turkey’s recent diplomatic moves with the Syrian regime. “The recent unrest in Afrin, al-Bab, al-Rai, and Azaz is a direct result of Turkey’s closer ties with Damascus, which has demanded Turkish withdrawal from all Syrian territories,” Husseini told The New Arab in an interview.

He noted that Turkey’s previous assurances to protect Syrian rebels had led to expectations now perceived as unfulfilled due to ongoing negotiations.

Husseini clarified that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently have no military plans aimed at Afrin, stressing their commitment to self-protection and anti-terrorism efforts under their agreement with the US-led coalition.

Warning of potential repercussions, Husseini cautioned that any Turkish-Syrian agreement on northwest Syria would primarily impact Kurds, including AANES and the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, where Turkey has intensified operations against PKK bases.

Acknowledging ongoing negotiations between AANES and the Syrian regime, Husseini expressed frustration over Damascus’ limited commitment to advancing talks. He stressed AANES’s role as representatives of all peoples east of the Euphrates and urged respect from Damascus and the international community for their aspirations.

Mazloum Abdi, SDF General Commander, stated on the X platform that “national dignity and the independence of Syrian decision-making” are goals that unite Syrians, regardless of their differences. He condemned the attacks on Syrians in Turkey’s Kayseri province, calling for the “necessity of protecting their lives and dignity.” Abdi reaffirmed that AANES welcomes all patriotic Syrians, extending a hand to “save our country and our people.”

The Arab Liaison Committee on Syria, which includes the foreign ministers of Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt, as well as the Secretary-General of the Arab League, is set to meet in Baghdad in the coming weeks.

Baghdad’s role in regional diplomacy is expanding beyond the Syrian conflict. Baghdad is currently known to be playing a role in the “rapprochement” between Syria and Turkey.

Protests erupted across rebel-held northwest Syria following reports of attacks on Syrian properties in Turkey’s Kayseri province. The unrest began after a Syrian national was accused of child harassment, leading to violent demonstrations and retaliatory actions against Turkish institutions.

Turkish authorities responded by detaining 67 individuals involved in the riot in Kayseri, where tensions flared with locals attacking Syrian-owned businesses and homes. Social media videos circulated showing fires set amidst the unrest.

The developments underscored heightened tensions in the region, with Syrian Kurds and their allies navigating complex geopolitical dynamics amid ongoing conflicts and diplomatic manoeuvres between Turkey, Syria, and Kurdish groups.

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