FSA reiterates willingness to eliminate YPG threats

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander said Friday that the terrorist People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, uses the fight against Daesh as a pretext for its presence in Syria, stressing that they are ready to launch an operation in regions such as Tal Abyad, Raqqa and Hasaka "where Daesh does not exist."

"Preparations are already underway; we have many well-trained fighters. Our military training has been continuing," Ahmed Osman, a commander in the Sultan Murad Brigade, told Anadolu Agency (AA), referring to a possible military operation east of the Euphrates.

The commander of the Sultan Murad Brigade, which is fighting under the umbrella of the FSA, underlined that the only problem is the existence of U.S. forces in the region. Osman added, "I'm hoping the U.S. withdraws and the Turkish army backed by the FSA expels the PKK from areas east of the river, where it is pretending to be fighting Daesh."

Despite Turkey's repeated criticism, the U.S. has been partnering with the YPG in Syria using the fight against Daesh as a pretext. Officials in Turkey have been stressing that U.S. support to the terror group poses a great security threat to Turkey. Considering that Daesh has been receding as an immediate threat, Ankara stresses that the fight against Daesh cannot be used as a convenient alibi by the U.S. to justify its support to the YPG.

Osman pointed out that U.S. support to the terrorist group has delayed the operation that would be launched east of the Euphrates.

Touching on Turkey's previous operation in Syria, Osman said Operation Olive Branch cleared one part of the border. "Now, there is civil government working efficiently. Many Turkish nongovernmental organizations have been supporting various projects,"

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove the YPG from Afrin. The Turkish military and the FSA entered Afrin town center and liberated it from terrorists on March 18. Following the operation, Turkey has been involved in efforts to rebuild the town's infrastructure and health and education institutions.

Osman also underlined that the Bashar Assad regime has never sought a political solution to the country's seven-year conflict.

"The regime's only goal is to re-establish control of the country through a military solution," he said. "Damascus doesn't care about the Astana, Geneva or any other talks. Regime officials only attend these meetings as a result of Russian pressure. The regime doesn't want negotiations that would mean granting the people their rights," Osman underscored.

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