Turkey to attack Kobane in February, warns Mazloum Abdi

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The Turkish military is planning to launch a new operation to attack the Kurdish town of Kobane in Rojava, northeastern Syria, in February, said the General Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazloum Abdi.

During an interview with Al-Monitor on January 15th, Abdi said he expects a new attack by Turkey on Kobane, warning that Ankara should not punish the Kurds in Rojava to compensate for its “failure” in maintaining peace and security in its country.

“We take Turkey’s threats seriously. We expect an attack in February. The town of Kobani is a likely target because of its symbolic meaning for Kurds the world over,” Abdi told Al-Monitor.

The Turkish offensive puts the progress achieved in Rojava in serious danger, as it distracts the SDF’s ongoing anti-ISIS operations in Rojava that aim to root out ISIS sleeper cells, leading to a resurgence of ISIS cells in the region.

According to Abdi, to strengthen his election campaign, President Erdogan is looking to exploit the situation in Rojava for his own gain. He is doing this by escalating the tension between Turkey and the region.

“President Erdogan wants to rally nationalist support and he appears to believe that attacking Rojava again can serve this purpose,” added Abdi.

We are determined to resist until the end

Mazloum Abdi (Kobani), commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

Abdi said that they are committed to pursuing peaceful resolutions. If they are attacked they will fight back with all their strength. “We are determined to resist until the end,” Abdi added.

Responding to allegations of having connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey claims poses a serious threat to its national security, Abdi affirmed: “We are not the PKK. We have no organic links to the PKK. We reject these accusations.”

The skies over Kobani, Manbij, and Tell Rifaat, all of which Turkey is targeting, are controlled by Russia. Turkish air forces cannot provide support for its troops without Moscow’s permission. Therefore, the success of any Turkish military campaign in these regions is contingent upon Russia’s approval.

Just three days after Abdi made his comments, a high-ranking Russian military delegation visited the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) in Kobane on Tuesday.

They discussed bilateral relations in the education, health and security sectors. The AANES urged the Russian delegation to prevent Turkish attacks on civilians and infrastructure in the region, according to a statement from the AANES.

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