Turkish forces will not stay in Syria’s Afrin, says Turkey spokesman
Ankara (Reuters) : Turkish forces will not stay in Syria’s Afrin and will leave the area to its “real owners”, Ankara’s main spokesman said on Monday, after Turkey’s military and its Syrian rebel allies stormed the town over the weekend.
Bekir Bozdag, a deputy prime minister, also told reporters that Turkey had considerably condensed threats to its borders after capturing the town of Afrin. He said Turkey had collected “most” of the weapons given to Kurdish fighters by the United States, after the YPG left weapons behind as they fled the town.
Most of the city’s 350,000 residents have fled since Turkey and allied Syrian rebels on January 20 launched an air and ground went offensive to chase out the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The battle for Afrin, a once-stable pocket of northwest Syria, has opened a new front in Syria’s multi-sided civil war and highlighted the ever-greater role of foreign powers such as Turkey in the seven-year-old conflict.
Ankara says Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters are an extension of a militant group waging an insurgency inside Turkey, and vowed to crush what it described as a “terror corridor” of YPG-controlled territory along Turkey’s southern border with Syria.