Earlier this month, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units retook the Kara-choh oilfield from Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State. Located in Syria’s Hasakah province, the field provided Daesh with vast amounts of crude that was sold on the illegal oil markets.
This is only one example of the YPG’s success in combatting the terrorist group across northern Iraq and Syria. The Kurdish fighters have proven themselves to be one of the most effective ground forces in Syria.
In light of this fact, the Russian government has been pushing for the YPG’s inclusion in Syrian peace talks. But Turkey views the presence of Kurdish forces along its border as a threat, and has refused to acknowledge the YPG’s effectiveness.
"Turkey will be supporting any initiative for a political solution in Syria, except the only criteria we want is that the moderate opposition should be represented by their own will and initiative. There should not be any representation of terrorist groups around the table," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said during the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"Some circles, including Russia, they want to spoil the opposition side, putting some other elements in the opposition side like the YPG, which has been collaborating with the regime and attacking the moderate opposition."
Turkey’s opposition threatens to delay the UN-hosted peace talks, extending the violence in Syria. Davutoglu said that he already met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier to discuss his concerns.
The prime minister’s comments follow a familiar pattern of anti-Kurdish policies implemented by Ankara.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Turkish troops had crossed into Syria. While ostensibly aimed at liberating the city of Jarabulus from Daesh, the decision came as the YPG was preparing to launch its own operation against the city.
Ankara may be more interested in keeping the YPG from gaining a foothold near the Turkish border. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long warned that a Kurdish advance west of the Euphrates would result in a military response.
Reports also indicated that the Turkish military did not engage Daesh, and that members of the terrorist organization remained unresponsive to the Turkish presence.
The Erdogan administration has also launched brutal operations against Kurdish communities within Turkey. These security raids have left hundreds dead, including civilians, and resulted in the arrest of a number of Turkish academics who have vocally opposed the government’s treatment of Turkish Kurds.