Syrian Turkmens fear expulsion at hands of YPG

Turkmens living near the Syrian-Turkish border fear for their safety as YPG forces continue to advance along border

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Life under ISIS and new clashes between ISIS and Marxist pro-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces have left Syrian Turkmens native to the northern border town of Tal Abyad fearing they will be forced out of their home.

Ershad Salihi, a leading figure from the Iraqi Turkmen Front, told the Turkish daily Hurriyet that the PYD is working on a “secret plan” to force Syrian Turkmens from their homes along the Syrian-Turkish border.

“Tel Abyad is a Turkmen region in Syria. First, ISIL was placed here. Turkmens were forced to live under ISIL. Then, using ISIL as a pretext, these places are being handed over to Kurds, with Turkmens being forced out of their homeland,” he told Hurriyet.

“It is certain that this is part of a project to found a Kurdish state in the region,” he said.

“We call on Turkmen business people in Turkey and other countries to support Turkmens in the region.”

His remarks came as YPG fighters, aided by air strikes from the US-led anti-ISIS coalition continue to make advances towards the oil-rich town of Tel Abyad.

The YPG’s advance has forced thousands to flee the town into Turkey.

Syria is believed to be home to between 100,000 to 200,000 ethnic Turkmens.

The YPG is the Syrian branch of the outlawed PKK, an armed group recognised by the US, EU and Turkey as a terrorist organisation.

TRTWorld and agencies