HPG commander warns Turkey about continued attacks in Kurdistan Region

Head of the People's Defense Forces (HPG) Murat Karayilan (File)

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SULAIMANI — Head of the People's Defense Forces (HPG) Murat Karayilan argued in an interview published on Wednesday (July 1) by media outlets affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that Turkey wants to conquer the Kurdistan Region and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

“The aim of the enemy is to create a supposedly conflict-free zone. They did the same thing in Rojava,” Karayilan said, using the Kurdish name for northeastern Syria.

“They want to set up a safe zone from Khwakwrk [in Duhok governorate] to Afrin and, if they succeed, they will conquer the whole region and the Kurdistan Region also,” he added in the interview.

The HPG is the armed wing of the PKK, which has been waging a decades long fight against Ankara to achieve Kurdish rights in southeastern Turkey.

On June 15, Turkey ramped up air and ground assaults on targets in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq in new operations known as “Claw-Eagle” and “Claw-Tiger.”

Following the ground assault, Turkey strengthened its position in the northern part of the Kurdistan Region by setting up several additional bases. Ankara has justified the new operations by arguing that they are necessary to combatting the PKK.

Five civilians have been killed in Turkish airstrikes and several other wounded since the operations began. The PKK has also suffered a number of casualties.

Karayilan warned that if Turkey continued its attacks that there would be retribution.

“If there is a unified policy, a national unified policy, then the neighboring countries cannot attack and separate us to conquer us,” Karayilan said of resistance efforts against the attacks.

(NRT Digital Media)