FILE PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rodi Said/File Photo

After U.S. withdrawal, expert warns of ethnic cleansing

Mon, Oct. 7, 2019
CAIRO - 7 October 2019: Syrian political analyst Ghassan Yousef warned in a phone interview with Extra News on Monday that an ethnic cleansing is likely to occur in Northern Syria, where Turkish forces are allowed to enter after the retreat of the U.S. troops.

Yousef explained that Turkey does not accept the current borders agreed upon in the Treaty of Lausanne as it occupies Sanjak of Alexandretta. The treaty was signed during World War I in 1923 between Turkey on one side, and Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, and now-disintegrated Yugoslavia to determine the borders of modern Turkey, according to Britannica.

The expert said that Turkey also perceives Syria’s Latika, Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqah, Deir El Zour, Hasakah, and Iraq’s Mosul, Kirkuk, Erbil as Turkish territories, and plans to put them under Turkish sovereignty by 2023. Turkey wants to settle Turkmens in those areas, and relocate Syrians who do not accept Turkish presence. The expert warns that terrorists who were brought by Turkey from different countries to Syria may be settled in those territories. “The matter is very dangerous. It threatens Arab borders and not just Syrian ones,” Yousef asserted

Turkey has been calling upon Syrian refugees to return to their homeland, and opened many crossings for that purpose, including Kasab Crossing located in Latakia, which is controlled by the Syrian state. However, Turkey does not seem to want them to return because it declared it would create a green zone for returning refugees to northern Syria. Such zone is expected to harbor terrorists, who belong to Syria, China, Chechnya among others, and their families, the expert suggested. “The fact that the United States is leaving captured Islamic State (IS) militants to Turkey means that such elements will be settled northern Syria giving legitimacy for their presence,” Yousef explained.

The majority of Syrians who escaped to Turkey in the wake of the Syrian Civil War belong to the opposition and some of them were even involved in hostile acts against the Arab Syrian Army, while others had ditched the compulsory military service. Nevertheless, the Syrian state has been eager to facilitate their return and not to persecute them. The expert clarified that there is a reconciliation law that ensures all returning refugees are treated equally; however, those who joined the Free Syrian Army and fought as if they were Turkish soldiers against their own state will definitely not be allowed to integrate in the society.

In a similar context, a Syrian boy aged 9 committed suicide in northwestern Turkey’s province of Kocaeli as he had been subject to ostracisation at school because he was Syrian, as reported by Ahlavi citing Oda TV. The body of Wael al-Saoud was found hanging at the door of the cemetery. His father, Mostafa, said they had come to Turkey because they thought they would be welcomed since the neighboring country has been encouraging them to leave their homeland after the civil war broke. However, Mostafa said Syrian refugees have been just used in internal political disputes.

The United States earlier announced it would withdraw its forces ahead of a Turkish military offensive on YPG-held areas northeastern Syria. Turkey classifies the Syrian Democratic Forces (YPG) as a terrorist organization that is affiliated to Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
 
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