Why is the Afrin situation a threat to Turkey?
Turkey discusses with Russia and the U.S. a possible military operation against the PYD/PKK near Afrin, Syria, as Ankara considers them to be terrorist organizations.
Anadolu Agency reports in its article Why is the Afrin situation a threat to Turkey? that the PYD/PKK terrorist organization has become a major threat to Turkey by occupying the majority of the adjacent Syrian region border. Terrorists present in Afrin, Syria -- along the border -- also pose a threat to Turkey’s border cities, as well as areas liberated by the recent Operation Euphrates Shield and the Idlib de-escalation zone. It also has the potential to be a stepping stone for the terror group to reach the Mediterranean with the support of the U.S.
Since April 2016, the U.S. has provided the PYD/PKK with arms and vehicles, including multiple rocket launchers, missile launchers, 80- and 120-mm mortars, MK19 grenade launchers, U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, and reconnaissance vehicles -- as well as FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles, which the U.S. has several times refused to sell to Turkey.
The PYD/PKK has seized the border region with intense support from the U.S., from both land and sea. While spreading across the region, it became the terrorist group’s biggest aim to access the Mediterranean. The PYD/PKK wants to become a state and in the future get direct help from the outside world. Idlib stands as a barrier to the PYD/PKK, which wants to advance to the Mediterranean. The establishment of a de-escalation zone in Idlib, under the control of opponents of the PKK/PYD and anti-regime forces, conflicts with the terror group’s interests.
If the U.S. plan to form a border army is fulfilled, and nationwide clashes are suspended, the PYD/PKK would claim a large share in the new administration, with its armed presence growing stronger. On the other hand, the U.S. military presence -- which is integrated into the terrorists east of the Euphrates River -- is absent in Afrin. Thus, this makes the terrorist group more defenseless in the face of a possible Turkish operation into Afrin.