07:30 GMT +325 February 2017
    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, a Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier watches as in the background a flag of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, is raised over the city of Tal Abyad, Syria, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    This is the Real Reason Why Turkey Needs the Syrian City of Azaz

    © AP Photo/ Lefteris Pitarakis
    Middle East
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    Azaz has lately been at the center of the Syrian conflict. Kurdish forces need the city to seal the last stretch of the porous Syrian-Turkish border, while the Turks, according to adviser to the Syrian government Abdul Kadir Azuz, want Azaz to be able to provide assistance to radical groups fighting against al-Assad.

    The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) are reported to be staying on the outskirts of rebel-held Azaz. Turkish forces have shelled the YPG positions in the northern Aleppo province, particularly in this area, to prevent the Syrian Kurds from liberating the strategically important city.

    "Azaz is a key city on the way from Turkey to Syria, which allows Erdogan to meddle in Syria's internal affairs," Abdul Kadir Azuz told RT. "He wants to gain a foothold in Syria by controlling Azaz. If Erdogan loses Azaz, he would neither be able to influence the situation in Syria nor provide assistance to terrorists."

    This is the only reason why Azaz is so important to Turkey, he added. The city, according to Azuz, has no historic or economic significance.

    "Ankara provides aid to terrorist groups through checkpoints on the border with Aleppo. The Turkish government is able to provide supplies and medical aid to terrorists since it controls the checkpoints," he insisted.

    Syrians stand outside a damaged charity clinic for women and children following reported air strikes in the city of Azaz, on Syria's northern border with Turkey, on February 15, 2016.
    Syrians stand outside a damaged charity clinic for women and children following reported air strikes in the city of Azaz, on Syria's northern border with Turkey, on February 15, 2016.

    Last week, Rodi Osman, the head of the Syrian Kurds' representative office in Moscow, told RIA Novosti that as many as 2,000 Islamist fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey through Azaz.

    Turkey has been shelling Kurdish-held areas since February 13 in a controversial move that has been condemned by Russia and the United States. Both countries view the Kurds as one of their primary partners in tackling Daesh.

    Many countries have called on Turkey to seal the border with Syria to prevent Daesh and other terrorist groups from smuggling fighters, weapons and supplies in and out of the war-torn Arab country. Unlimited access to resources delivered to the battlefield through Turkey has largely been seen as key to the terrorist group's resilience and longevity.

    Ankara has so far failed to deliver on its promise, while the Syrian Kurds are close to taking the border regions under control.


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    Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), geopolitics, border, Daesh, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azaz, Turkey, Syria
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    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Let him be angry! Go YPG!
    • avatar
      Azaz is a town of less than 31,000 people under the control Al-Nusra and the FSA. A Sharia law has been enforced upon the population.

      The Kurds are closed to this town, and the Syria forces are far away in Latakia fight. Azaz is surrounded by the Kurds and presently the Kurds are being bombed by the Turks. The Kurds have been pressurised by the USA not to take Azaz. The Syria army must take first the city of Idlib or to take fully the city of Aleppo in order to take the town of Azaz. With the stop of hostilities agreement this seems to be unattainable.
    • siberianhusky
      When is Russia going to give some of their fabled new long distance heavy artillery the recently displayed during the latest Moscow parade to the Syrians so they can safely return fire on the Turkish artillery that are doing this.
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