First Published: 2018-01-17

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish 'scourges'
Head of Kurdish People's Protection Units says his forces are ready to defend Afrin, Manbij against Turkish assault.
Middle East Online

Ready for the fight

BEIRUT - The head of a powerful Kurdish militia hit back on Tuesday at Turkish threats to attack its forces in northern Syria, pledging to "cleanse" the area of Ankara's "scourges".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday vowed to soon launch an operation against towns in Syria held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers "terrorists".

The YPG, a key US ally in the fight against jihadists, controls key urban hubs in northern Syria including the towns of Afrin and Manbij.

In an interview published Tuesday with Kurdish news agency ANF, YPG chief Sipan Hemo said his forces stood "ready" to defend those towns against a Turkish assault.

"Our forces will be able to cleanse the area from Erdogan's scourges, just as we were able to cleanse it from Daesh," Hemo said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

"This is what the war in Afrin will be like," he said.

With US backing, the YPG has cleared swathes of territory in northern and eastern Syria from IS and has established semi-autonomous rule in those areas.

And at the weekend, the US-led coalition fighting IS said it was working to create a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria that would deploy along the Turkish frontier.

Ankara immediately objected to such a move out of fear the new force would be comprised of the YPG, which it accuses of being a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has waged an insurgency in Turkey since 1984.

Erdogan has long threatened an operation against the YPG's enclave in Afrin but has stepped up his threats in recent days.

On Tuesday, he warned an assault on Afrin could take place "tomorrow, (or) the day after, (or) within a short period".

"We will foil Erdogan's filthy plans. We will turn those plans to major victories for the people of the region, the Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish people," Hemo pledged on Tuesday.

Erdogan has said the Afrin operation would be undertaken "together" with Syrian rebels, whom Ankara has backed in other operations against the YPG and IS.

 

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers

Netanyahu confidant to testify against him

Iran emergency teams recover bodies from plane crash site

Ten dead in more Syrian regime strikes on East Ghouta

Bahrain activist sentenced to 5 years for Yemen tweets

Lebanese president makes landmark visit to Iraq

US declares readiness to talk Mideast peace