News / Middle East

Ankara Worried by Kurdish Gains in Syria, Observers Say

Kurdish Gains in Syria Prompt Fears in Turkeyi
X
July 19, 2013 9:49 PM
Syrian Kurds have taken control of a border crossing into Turkey, which fears the gains could embolden its own Kurdish separatists. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, analysts warn the northeast of Syria could become a new battleground.
Henry Ridgwell
After days of clashes with Islamist opposition groups, Syrian Kurds seized control of the border town of Ras al-Ain Thursday.
 
With only a razor wire fence separating the town from Turkey, Turkish troops fired over the frontier after rocket-propelled grenades and bullets landed on their territory, killing two Turkish citizens.
 
"Turkey is taking and will continue to take every precautionary step that is necessary to protect its citizens and its territory," said Ankara's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a statement Friday.
 
The Kurdish fighters belong to the PYD party, which Turkey calls a "separatist terrorist organization."
 
According to Robert Lowe of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, Ankara fears PYD’s growing strength in Syria.
 
"They’ve always been hostile to the Kurdish population in Syria gaining or improving its position in that country," he said. "So they’re looking on with some concern, if not hostility, especially as the major Kurdish group in Syria is closely aligned to the PKK in Turkey, the largest, most powerful and armed force."
 
The fall of Ras al-Ain comes at a sensitive time as Ankara holds peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), says Fadi Hakura of policy institute Chatham House.
 
“Already the PKK issued what they called a final warning to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey to take some concrete steps forward in the peace process or otherwise the engagement will grind to a halt," he said.
 
With bigger battles to fight elsewhere, Syrian government forces have given the Kurds a large degree of autonomy, but they are now being drawn in to battles over territory, says Lowe.
 
“There’s competition for control of those border crossings to Turkey and the access into Syria," he said. "There’s competition for control of some oilfields where some Kurds live in large numbers, and this is strongly opposed by Islamists.”
 
Opposition Kurdish groups claim Turkey is aiding Islamist groups in Syria such as the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, Hakura says that Ankara denies the charge.
 
“Many of the Islamist-based fighters in Syria happen to be in northern Syria," he said. "The only way that such Islamist fighters could enter into Syria is via the Turkish-Syria border."
 
Lowe says there will likely be more Islamist-Kurdish battles like that for Ras al-Ain.
 
"It’s possible for groups who have weapons to simply try and take control of a border post or of the smuggling networks to try and gain power and resources," he said. "So I fear that we’ll see an increase in these clashes."
 
Turkey has called on the United Nations to take action after violence spilled over its borders, saying the time for the Security Council to do its job is now.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: celik from: ca
July 20, 2013 10:52 AM
I guess its karma for turkey, 12 million kurds will be free.

In Response

by: Hawkar from: Southern Kurdistan
July 24, 2013 6:58 AM
20 million Kurds in Turkey, around 7 in Iraq, 5 million in Syria, and 8 in Iran. they all seek reunification!


by: Abdul Bahk from: Syria
July 19, 2013 5:59 PM
yeah... they should be worried... the day of reckoning is fast approaching for Turkey...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid