Northern Syria – threatened by a new conflagration? An interview with Hüseyin Çiçek

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Foto: ©Denise Kopf

On Wednesday, 16 October 2019, political scientist Hüseyin Çiçek, together with Gudrun Harrer (Der Standard), Walter Posch (Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management at the National Defence Academy Vienna) and Jörg Winter (ORF Istanbul), discussed in the Journal-Panorama of the Austrian radio station Ö1 the military operation of Turkey against the Kurdish YPG militia, which had started one week before. Here you can listen to the interview in full length. Here you can listen to the interview in full length.

The background: On Wednesday last week Turkey started a long planned military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia, which controls a large area on the border to Turkey in Northern Syria. Ankara feels threatened by the Syrian Kurds and justifies the internationally controversial deployment with self-defence. The attack was triggered by the surprising withdrawal of US soldiers from the region, which led US President Donald Trump to accuse him of abandoning his allies in the struggle against the IS. And indeed, the Syrian Kurds were in an almost hopeless situation: in their distress, they had even called Syria’s ruler Bashar al Assad and his troops to help. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is unimpressed by this and by threats from the EU such as sanctions and limited arms supplies, while in Northern Syria about 160,000 people are already fleeing from bombs and marauding jihadist units active on the side of the Turkish army. And also in the course of the fighting fled members of the IS spread fear and terror.