Kurdish fighters with the support of Syrian opposition forces and airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has advanced further toward Tal Abyad and is on the brink of pushing the ISIS militants, who control the region, out. However, the ISIS threat seems to be replacing that of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as it has begun to make life harder for the residents in the region.
It is reported that Kurds fighting ISIS took hold of 20 villages in southwest of Tal Abyad, forcing the ISIS militants to retreat. Turkmens, who have been suffering at the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime as well as ISIS, have allegedly added the PYD to the list of threats against the community. Upon pressure from the PYD and the U.S.-led airstrikes, 28 Turkmen villages have reportedly been evacuated. Allegations are that 9,000 Kurds from northern Iraq and Kobani will be placed in Tal Abyad. Unnamed sources have claimed the ultimate purpose to establish a buffer state to form an alternative route for Kurdish oil that flows through Turkey to reach international markets. The issue was taken up at a meeting held between officials from Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the General Staff. According to the assessments, Arabs and Turkmens who are located between PYD cantons are forced to flee the region with the excuse of an operation against ISIS.
The target of the airstrikes is predominantly Tal Abyad located between the Jazira and Kobani cantons. The second target of the coalition appears to be the region between Kobani and Afrin cantons. There are Turkmens and Arabs who live in regions where there have been airstrikes and there have been allegations of forceful demographic changes in the region.
The PYD, for the first time, has annexed four villages. Since the turmoil began in 2011, it has been the first achievement of the group. The PYD also expanded the borders of Kobani by 10 kilometers. It also allegedly presses other villagers to leave the area intimidating them that they could be killed if they stayed. The majority of Turkmens from the area are seeking refuge in Turkey. Sources say that if the PYD seizes Tal Abyad, thousands will be placed in the town and the region will become Kurdish. Some say the purpose is to get rid of the vacuum between the Afrin, Kobani and Jazira cantons and bind them with eliminating the Turkmen and Arab population there through forced migration. If the three cantons can be combined, a buffer state could be established.
The support the PYD receives to make this come true is allegedly to discard Turkey, which agreed with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani to transit the oil it produces through Turkey and form an alternative route.