Washington has been incomprehensibly failing to appease Ankara's security concerns and opts to continue its support for the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), a source of threat to the national security of its NATO ally Turkey.
Following the seizure of the last Daesh bastion of Baghouz, U.S. officials reassured their allies on the ground on Sunday through the celebrations held on Saturday in the Al-Omar oilfields for the honor of the fall of Daesh. A band in red uniforms of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by the YPG, played the U.S. national anthem in front of the country and the organization flags. William Roebuck, the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (another acronym for Daesh), also attended the celebrations and promised not to halt its support for partners in Syria in the fight against Daesh despite the fall of Daesh.
The U.S.' Syria policy, especially its military support for YPG terrorists, has been a cause of tension between Ankara and Washington. Ankara argues that one terrorist group cannot be used to fight another. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people in its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey. The U.S., however, while listing the PKK as a terrorist group, is maintaining its steadfast military support for the terrorist organization, by providing truckloads of military supplies and military training, under the pretext of fighting Daesh at the expense of losing its NATO ally.
In December, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Washington would pull out its troops from Syria, saying that Daesh has been defeated. The withdrawal decision was quickly also interpreted as an intention to halt U.S. support for the YPG. Yet, a growing number of inconsistent statements from the White House indicate that the cooperation still remains an issue of concern.
The celebrations, where the flags of SDF and YPG were raised together, also underlined how Turkey's security concerns are legitimate - as the most-wanted PKK terrorist in Turkey Ferhat Abdi Şahin, codenamed Şahin Cilo, dared to address Ankara, by saying that it should withdraw from Syria, notably, northwestern Syria's Afrin during his speech.
In a bid to consolidate its power in the regions under its control, the group adopted oppressive practices against locals who refused to accept them. Although numerous human rights organizations have documented the YPG's violations of human rights including torture, recruiting child soldiers, deliberate disruption of education and health services, the Western media have long been turning a blind eye to such atrocities by the YPG and instead choose to glorify the terrorist organization as "freedom fighters." Western media also tried to hinder Trump's pullback decision by constantly publishing news on "how the decision betrays Washington's vulnerable ally." As part of garnering public support for the organization, Western media outlets do not hesitate to romanticize the image of the terrorists, including women, and present them as if they are the "heroines" by constantly publishing reports and shooting documentaries about their struggle. The portrayal of women only aims to create an illusion that the terrorist organization gives importance to gender equality by including a high number of female militants, despite abundant examples of how women are exploited in the terrorist organization's camps.
In the wake of the YPG threat near its borders, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and many other Turkish officials vowed to launch an operation to the east of the Euphrates, which is under the YPG's de facto control, "very soon." Following Trump's announcement of the withdrawal, the long-awaited operation was put on hold until U.S. troops leave the region. However, Turkey has been mobilizing its troops to be ready for every possibility. In the past two years, Turkey launched two cross-border military campaigns to completely remove Daesh from Turkey's southern border and prevent YPG militia from unifying its cantons while providing a terrorist-free zone in Syria for refugees to return their hometowns.
In relation to the issue, Erdoğan reiterated late on Sunday in a televised program that the preparations for the operation to the east of the Euphrates have almost come to an end and underscored that Ankara may suddenly decide to move in one night.
"The terrorist presence across our borders is unacceptable regardless of the terrorists' identity. We will continue our fight against terrorism in any case. All the tribes, Turkish, Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen, also want YPG oppression to end," Erdoğan said. The power vacuum sparked by the Syrian Civil War gave the YPG an opportunity to practically apply its form of governance and form communes as dictated by its ideology. On July 19, 2012, the group began their efforts to gain autonomy by establishing a de facto autonomous region in Syria. The YPG and PKK's ultimate aim is to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria.
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