(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) As Syrian opposition forces fight against Daesh, Syrian Kurds cooperate with US to create 'northern Syria' region
The northern regions of Syria, which are mainly populated by Kurds, are being unified by the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in cooperation with the U.S. air force.
Over the past two weeks, the PYD's military wing, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG) has been carrying out operations with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the northeastern regions of Tal Abyad and al-Hasakah to push back Daesh.
The PYD currently controls Afrin town and Kobani city in northern Syria and al-Hasakah district in the far northeastern corner of the country.
Those three regions, located next to the Turkey-Syria border, are disconnected from each other both ethnically and geographically, with Arab and Turkmen communities living in between the areas.
As opposition forces in Syria continue their fight against the Bashar Al-Assad regime, the YPG's movement in Tal Abyad, backed by coalition airstrikes, is drawing attention.
The PYD raised their flag over Tal Abyad when they took control of the city, after lowering Daesh's flag € a scene that was visible from Turkey's Akcakale customs area.
Speaking about the PYD's deepening relations with the U.S., Mehmet Sahin, associate professor and vice chairman of the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking, told Anadolu Agency that "it can be clearly seen that the PYD is trying to legitimize itself by using Daesh," who he described as "useful terrorists" for the PYD.
- PYD ethnically cleansing Arabs, Turkmens
More than a dozen Syrian opposition groups released a statement Monday accusing the PYD of ethnically cleansing Turkmens and Sunni Arabs.
"YPG forces have implemented a new sectarian and ethnic cleansing campaign against Sunni Arabs and Turkmens under the cover of coalition airstrikes, which have contributed to the bombardment, terrorizing civilians and forcing them to flee their villages," the statement read.
Sahin said the PYD has already planned the forced migration of the non-Kurdish population.
"I had a meeting with canton (district) leaders in north Syria. I asked him about the future of the Afrin, Kobani and al-Hasakah regions and they said they will unite these areas," said Sahin. "They said: 'We will ask non-Kurdish people to accept PYD rule. If they accept, they will stay; if not, we will send them away with trucks.'"
Sahin said the forced migration has already started with more than 5,000 Syrian refugees fleeing airstrikes in the city of Tal Abyad and crossing into Turkey through the southern Akcakale border gate.
"The U.S. has supported this," Sahin said.
The U.S., which supports PYD under the pretext of fighting against Daesh, has avoided helping other Syrian opposition forces.
In June, the U.S. performed its only airstrike against Daesh in northern Aleppo, after other opposition forces expressed their discomfort over America's negligence toward them.
- A second nothern Iraq region?
After uniting Kobani and al-Hasakah in northern Syria, PYD will strategically look to unite Afrin and thus connect the region geographically.
Afrin is located in Idlib province in northern Syria.
One of the ways the YPG could join Afrin and Kobani would be to wage war against Syrian opposition forces, but not Daesh, by moving eastward from Afrin.
The other option is for PYD forces to move westward and clash with Daesh to reach Afrin.
U.S. airstrikes will once again be crucial in order to put these plans into action.
Serhat Erkmen, an associate professor of international relations at Ahi Evran University, said the PYD will have to fight against Jabhat al-Nusra in other areas, after clearing the region from Daesh with U.S. airstrike support.
If the PYD can unite the Afrin, Kobani and al-Hasakah regions, then Turkey's southern border with Syria will fall into the group's control.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted the situation in a live televised interview back in January 2015.
When asked about a second "northern Iraq" occurring in Syria, Erdogan answered: "Exactly. They want to make a set-up like this."