Kurdish solidarity in Turkey’s restive southeast frustrates its Syria policy


Turkey has reservations about the viability of a ceasefire plan for Syria due to continued fighting on the ground, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Friday, hours before a U.S.-Russian deal was due to take effect.

A “cessation of hostilities” agreement in Syria is due to take effect at midnight (2200 GMT on Friday).
In a public cemetery next to a military air base in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, flags of a Syrian Kurdish militia are draped over numerous tombstones.
Davutoglu said Turkey would closely monitor how the ceasefire would be implemented, adding: “We support the ceasefire under any circumstances”. It is hoped the deal will allow aid to be delivered to desperate Syrians.
Death notices posted online by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a key USA ally in the fight against Islamic State in north Syria, show about half of those killed on its front lines in the last three months alone were Turkish-born.
Turkey regards the YPG and its political wing Democratic Union Party (PYD) as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. “They went back and forth across the borders, and they brought their wounded people for medical care etc. But Turkey has understood what a big danger it was to let Daesh do this”, Yasar Yakis said on the sidelines of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Moscow. It has recently been supported by Russian airstrikes in Syria as it seeks to gain further ground while rebel groups face a Syrian government offensive.
“We, in the People’s Protection Units, give great importance (to the plan), and we will abide by it completely, while reserving the right to respond to any aggressor in the framework of legitimate self-defense”, YPG official Redur Xelil was quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday. Kalin said Turkey would respond to any incidents threatening its national security by applying its rules of engagement.