03:24 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) drive a tank in the al-Zohour neighbourhood of northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh (File)

    Kurds Push For a No-Fly Zone on Turkish-Syrian Border

    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    The Syrian Kurds have called for a no-fly zone to be set up on the border with Turkey after the Turkish Air Force carried out airstrikes against the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) spokesperson Nesrin Ebdullah told Sputnik Turkey.

    "We demand this. We want to be protected from the threat of aerial operations. We demand guarantees that we would be secure. Our people must be safeguarded against aerial operations. Today Turkey carried out an aerial operation. No one knows what would happen tomorrow. The coalition forces must protect us and the territory we have liberated. The [US-led] coalition must take action," she said.

    The YPJ is the female equivalent of the People's Protection Units, with both organizations serving as the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), one of the leading Kurdish political forces in Syria.

    Ewwas Eli, a senior member of the PYD, shared these sentiments, saying that the Kurds want a security zone to be established in northern Syria.

    "We have long made similar requests. We want a no-fly zone along the border [with Turkey]. Let this area be off limits to any planes. This is what our people want. However, no steps have been made in this direction so far. The coalition forces must protect our border. They must not allow airplanes to fly there," he said.

    In late April, Ankara carried out several airstrikes against YPG targets in northern Syria, pledging further anti-Kurdish operation in the future. Turkey views any Kurdish supposedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as terrorist organizations.  President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters have also maintained that the Syrian Kurds are fighting for greater autonomy, if not independence, which could fuel unrest in southeastern Turkey, mostly populated by the Kurds.

    Nesrin Ebdullah mentioned that the Syrian Kurds asked the United States to provide air defense weaponry.

    "The coalition forces must give us armaments so that we could protect our people from airstrikes. We request weapons capable of tackling military aircraft," she said.

    Nesrin Ebdullah maintained that Ankara's efforts aimed at weakening the Kurds have affected the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, sparking a broader crisis in the country plagued by a six-year long war.

    On Saturday, the Russian plan aimed at creating de-escalation zones in Syria went into force. However, the four safe areas established under the deal, which was also sponsored by Turkey and Iran, do not appear to cover territories under Kurdish control at the moment. Maps showing exact borders are expected to be ready in a month, but their location has been alredy unveiled.

    De-escalation zones are said to cover for large areas, including northern Idlib province and parts of neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces, as well as the northern part of Homs province, Eastern Ghouta and an area in southern Syria near the border with Jordan.

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    Tags:
    no-fly zone, Syrian Kurds, Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Womens' Protection Units (YPJ), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Nesrin Ebdullah, Ewwas Eli, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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