Turkey 'Stuck in Quagmire' After Launching Al-Bab Offensive – PYD Co-Chairman
Turkish forces andtheir rebel allies have been engaged in a weeks-long operation to push Daesh out of al-Bab, but the town located in northern Syria remains under the militants' control. Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Sputnik that Ankara has become bogged down in a "quagmire."
"Turkey has found itself in a 'quagmire' by launching the operation in al-Bab. It will be very hard for Ankara to get out of it. Chances that the operation will be successful appear to be slim. We cannot be sure about anything at the moment," he said.
Ankara launched Operation Euphrates Shield on 24 August to push Daesh out of cities and settlements located on Syria's border with Turkey. The military intervention has also been aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and taking the border region under control.
In recent weeks the Turkish military and its local allies have focused their efforts on pushing Daesh out of al-Bab. On Friday, Turkey's Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that the Syrian rebels entered the city and were engaged in street fighting. The operation has slowed down as Ankara is trying to minimize civilian casualties, he added.
In late December, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the battle for al-Bab was close to an end.
Muslim also commented on Ankara's discontent with Washington's assistance to the Syrian Kurds, particularly the People's Protection Units (YPG).
"The YPG is fighting against Daesh. Turkey doesn't want Daesh fighters to suffer a defeat since it is keeping in touch with the group. This is why Ankara does not want the United States to provide weapons to the YPG. The YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are the most efficient land-based fighting force against jihadists. The SDF has delivered crashing blows to Daesh," he noted.
Muslim further said that the PYD has warm relations with Russia and the United States.
"A representative office of the Syrian Kurds has been opened in Russia. Claims that the PYD's mission in Moscow was closed are not true. The office is open and operational," he said. "Our ties with the United States are developing in a positive way. According to information we received from the SDF leadership, the United States has provided military assistance to the SDF."
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