On Tuesday evening Turkey reportedly deployed 1,000 troops into Syrian territory near Jarablus in order to keep Kurdish People’s Protection Units away from the Turkish border.
Turkish authorities are doing this under the cover of supposedly fighting ISIS militants in the area, but as yet they haven’t killed or captured any ISIS militants.
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The troops have reportedly crossed into Aleppo province, according to Hawar News, along with military vehicles, heavy equipment, and mine detection gear to dismantle minefields installed by Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State.
Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the global coalition would take action against Daesh in Jarablus. Erdogan also made mention of media reports of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) Westward push toward the Turkish border.
The operation is ostensibly aimed at combatting Daesh, who have fortified Jarablus. But sources tell Sputnik that Ankara may be more interested in preventing the YPG from gaining a foothold in a region of strategic importance. Hawar also reports that the Turkish troops have not engaged Daesh militants in the area, and that members of the terrorist organization have remained unresponsive to the Turkish presence.
Turkey has long been fearful of YPG’s presence along its border, and has warned the group that any advance west of the Euphrates could result in a military response.
The Turkish government has also been engaged in security operations against Kurdish communities inside the country since July. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that those operations – which have left hundreds dead, including civilians – are nearing an end, but political activist Taylor Goel has told Sputnik that the peace process is more about theatrics.
“Solving the Kurdish problem has nothing to do with peace. It is a peace process in name only, and a scapegoat for the ruling party,” Goel said.
“The current peace process only serves to legitimize the actions of AKP [the Justice and Development Party]. The government may stop its campaign, but it’s important to remember that this is a peace process in name only.”
The Erdogan administration has also cracked down on academics calling for an end to Ankara’s brutal treatment of the nation’s Kurdish population. Last week, 18 academics were arrested on charges of “terrorist propaganda” after signing a petition expressing their concerns.
“President Erdogan’s actions demonstrate that the criticisms being made by academics are accurate,” political activist Kevin Zeese told Sputnik. “He wants to suppress the truth and is abusing his power trying to quash legitimate political discourse.”