“We have now put a comma down and God willing we will make a full stop. We won’t be limited to this [operation]. There will be extensions. They will also be sorted out. Our intention is not invade but to carry out operations to cleanse terrorists and eliminate terrorist threats to our country,” These are the words uttered by the Turkish number one Erdoğan at a ceremony held for newly appointed judges and prosecutors on March 19 in Ankara. When Turkey launched the “Operation Olive Branch”, Turkish authorities objectives was to clear the border of “terrorists” and to eliminate potential threats to its national security. That was what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. He also stressed that the Turkish army is not in Afrin as an “invasion” force.

However when continued “We have completed an important stage of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ by taking control of the city center of Afrin. We will continue this process until we have entirely abolished the corridor through Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli,” it becomes clear that Turkish authorities are not going to stop anytime soon their invasion, bombing and shelling of areas still held by any members of Turkish opposition movement and in the frame of the operation, 3622 YPG members have been killed so far. Ankara considers the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be the Syrian arm of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), a Turkish separatist group. Turkish authorities denounced the Kurds were using their toehold in Afrin as a base to launch attacks on Turkey. But reality is that the operation, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch”, is an attempt to carve out a 30 kms “safe zone” within Syria to protect the Turkish border.

After Afrin, Sinjar in northern Iraq might be on the cards and Turkish President Erdoğan has been quite clear about it when he said “We have told the central [Iraqi] government that the PKK is establishing a new headquarters in Sinjar. ‘If you can deal with it, you handle it. But if you cannot we will suddenly enter Sinjar one night and clear this region of terrorists. If we are friends, you will make it easy for us. We told all this to previous Iraqi central governments as well. If things are furthered prolonged then another ‘Operation Olive Branch’ will be carried out there,” The Kurdistan Workers ‘Party is the parent organization of the YPG. Reports claimed that the PKK was working to turn the province of Sinjar along the Iraqi-Syrian border into a new stronghold. Those reports prompted recent months discussions between Iraqi and Turkish officials.

The YPG formed the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Force which the US backed, supported and armed during the action to oust IS from Syria.

What is going on in Afrin gives all the ingredients of what could be assimilated to ethnical cleansing. Videos and still images showing bodies of children killed and the bombing and shelling of houses or bodies of Kurdish herded away seemed not have moved anybody. Things would have been different had it been images coming form Eastern Ghouta. Every western Television newscast and newspapers would have made them their front page and breaking news. After all it’s only happening in Afrin so who cares? Afrin and not in Eastern Ghouta. Same country 200 miles apart, same horrors, same innocent lives taken away by people who decided overnight they could redesign the world map in this area with the guarantee they could do it in all impunity. The Turkish government said Afrin would be returned to its real owners yet it rose no skin hair what might be hidden under this declaration. So why is Afrin being ignored? The link could be made that Afrin’s atrocities has gone unreported in comparison to Eastern Ghouta because it is a previously U.S backed forces that is at fault. On the other hand, Eastern Ghouta is under siege by Assad and Russian troops which presents an easy opportunity for the US government, and their western allies to distract the public with an Russian/Assad issue whilst a equally appalling military operation is happening a few hundred miles away by US backed forces. Days after the invasion of Afrin Erdogan said: “55 per cent of Afrin is Arab, 35 per cent are the Kurds.” It is becoming clear that Turkish authorities agenda is clear and suffers no doubt. Oust Kurds and establish a powerful Sunni Arab bloc north of Aleppo, which could be easily under its influence.

The world powers can continue to switch their focus from what alongside refugee gush from Mediterranean, constitute one of the biggest challenges of all time and pretend as if the threat is not yet on the western countries’ doors. Meanwhile Innocent souls will continue to be wasted on the altar of the total disinterest and partisan interests. Call it Real Politics.





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