UPDATE 1145 GMT: Demonstrations are being held across Idlib Province for the third Friday in a row, proclaiming the Syrian Revolution and resistance to any Russia-regime attack:
In Khan Sheikhoun:
Kafranbel: 14 Sep 2018
8 years and still the same Expression, millions voices : Step Down Assad" pic.twitter.com/1tf7hEQE8G
— Hamza (@X00996) September 14, 2018
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Bolstering its decision to take a stand against a Russian-regime offensive against Idlib Province in northwest Syria, Turkey has declared that the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG — whom Ankara calls “terrorists” — may join any assault by Moscow and Damascus.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (pictured), in a letter to The New York Times, wrote on Thursday:
New reports suggest that the YPG, a terrorist group operating from Syria that has received arms and aid paid for by American taxpayers, has forged an alliance with Mr. Assad and is sending troops as part of a deal brokered in July to help him recapture Idlib from the rebels.
Çavuşoğlu tried to use the issue both as leverage for the US to join resistance to conventional as well as chemical attacks on Idlib and northern Hama Provinces, the last major opposition-held territory in Syria, and to distance Washington from its backing of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Fostered by the US in autumn 2015 as the Americans switched their support from Syrian rebels, the SDF has taken much of northeast and east Syria from the Islamic State.
But Turkey has intervened in northwest Syria alongside rebels against ISIS from August 2016, then advanced with rebel forces to capture much of the Kurdish canton of Afrin in March 2018.
Çavuşoğlu said in his letter:
Having YPG forces operating from Syria, just miles from the border of Turkey, is untenable. It’s time for Washington to assess who its real allies in the region are.
Ankara considers the YPG, and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.
The PKK has battled Turkish forces for more than 30 years in a quest for separation.
Over the past week, Turkey has stepped up its supply of weapons, armor, and equipment to rebels in Idlib, as well as maintaining its political resistance to a Russian-regime offensive on the area with an estimated 3 million people. The effort appears to have stemmed preparations by Moscow, whose aerial operations are necessary for any regime advance, as well as by Damascus.
There has been no Russian-regime bombing and shelling of Idlib and northern Hama since Monday, following an escalation in attacks that had killed and wounded scores of civilians and displaced more than 30,000 people.