Turkey wants 'secure strip' within Syria
Iran Press TV
Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:22AM
Turkey has demanded the creation of a "secure strip" inside Syrian territory that covers the anti-Damascus militants' most-heavily-depended-on supply route.
'What we want is to create a secure strip, including (the town of) Azaz, 10 kilometers deep inside Syria and this zone should be free from clashes,' Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Syrian troops and Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters have retaken the town, located near the northwestern Syria city of Aleppo.
The militants had been depending on the corridor to ship arms from Turkey into Aleppo, where the Syrian Army and Russian aerial backup have been increasingly eating away at their turf. Having lost the route, they would have to look elsewhere for supplies, thus failing to rapidly rearm.
After the town fell back into Syrian hands, Ankara also moved to threaten sending ground troops into Syria on the purported mission of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.
The Turkish official, though, said that creation of such a safe pathway would prevent Kurdish fighters from, what he called, attempts at shaking up the demographic makeup there. 'There is a game being played with the aim of changing the demographic structure. Turkey should not be part of this game.'
Over the past few days, Turkey has been shelling the positions of fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the northern parts of Syria.
Ankara regards the YPG and YPD as allies of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
The YPG, which controls nearly Syria's entire northern border with Turkey, has been fighting against Daesh.
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