YUKSEKOVA – The Turkish government is worried about the advance united Kurdish groups are making in North-east Syria. The Kurdish flag was raised on several government buildings in Kurdish towns in the region. ‘Syria shouldn’t fall apart but must stay united’, Ankara has warned the Syrian opposition, according to reports in Turkish media on Tuesday.
Syrian Kurds took the opportunity to take control in several Kurdish towns over the last couple of days, since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was forced to relocate his troops from the North of the country to Damascus after violence increased there.
Towns were taken over by Kurds without much trouble. Kurdish media report there are negotiations going on about a peaceful change of power in the biggest city in the Kurdish region, Qamisli, right on the Turkish border. The Kurds told the Syrian opposition to stay away from the area.
In towns that were taken over by the Kurds, not only the Kurdish flag was seen but often also flags with the portrait of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the armed Turkish-Kurdish movement the PKK, who is serving a life sentence in a Turkish jail.
Turkey’s fear is that there will be another semi-autonomous region right across its border, alongside the autonomous Kurdish region in North Iraq. The PKK, which is reportedly joining the fighting in Northeast Syria, would have a new base there from where it could carry out attacks on Turkish soil. On top of that, Ankara is afraid that the developments will increase the Kurdish call for more self government in Turkey.