Shortly before the end of the ceasefire in northern Syria, Turkey has threatened further fighting. The Turkish government will resume the offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia if its fighters have not left the northern Syrian border areas by 18:00 local time (16:00 CET). This was announced by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
If by the end of the 150 hours the YPG does not withdraw from the border strip of "444 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide", ie from the river Euphrates to the Iraqi border, then Turkey will cleanse the area itself of "terrorists", so Çavuşoğlu , Russia should not be in the way then. The Russian government had previously warned the YPG that the Russian and Syrian troops stationed in the region to control the withdrawal would not provide protection
Last week, Turkey signed an agreement with Russia as the protector of the Syrian government, which was to give the Kurdish militia YPG 150 hours to withdraw. The agreement also states that following the complete withdrawal of the YPG, Russia and Turkey will jointly patrol parts of the buffer zone. This would bring Turkey close to its so-called security zone. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had said over the weekend that so far the withdrawal is "on schedule".
Another Turkey agreement with the US concerns part of the border area between the Syrian cities of Tall Abyad and Ras al-Ain. Citing Kurdish sources, the US said that all fighters left the area at the end of the withdrawal period. "Individual" fighters are according to Çavuşoğlu still on site. Turkey would also "neutralize the terrorists who are still there or those who have not yet left."
The majority of Germans want to exclude Turkey from NATO
Meanwhile, there is a clear majority in Germany for excluding Turkey from NATO because of its invasion of northern Syria. In a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency, 58 percent said so and only 18 percent against. An even larger majority of the 2033 respondents are in favor of a harsher stance by the German government against Turkey: 61 percent are in favor of economic sanctions and 69 percent are in favor of a complete arms export ban.
After the start of the Turkish offensive, the government had only restricted arms sales. As a possible economic sanction a stop of the Hermes guarantees in the discussion, with which German exports into Turkey are secured.
The demands for an exclusion come mainly from the Left Party, but also SPD parliamentary leader Rolf Mützenich had questioned the NATO membership of Turkey. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, on the other hand, said during his visit to Turkey: "Turkey is and will remain an important Nato ally for Germany."
Hardly support for Bundeswehr deployment in Syria
An exclusion of Turkey from NATO would also be highly complicated and is considered unrealistic, since it is not provided for in the NATO Treaty of 1949. Therefore, this agreement would have to be amended only with the approval and ratification of all Member States.
The push by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to set up a security zone under the control of a UN protection group in northern Syria is well received by 30 percent of YouGov respondents, with 39 percent rejecting it. An involvement of the Bundeswehr in such an operation support only 26 percent, 50 percent are against it, 24 percent did not provide information. Maas had already distanced himself from the proposal, for which he was criticized by the CDU and FDP.
About two weeks ago, Turkey invaded northern Syria to drive the Kurdish militia YPG out of the area. The Turkish government considers the YPG as a terrorist organization. Previously, allied with the Kurds US troops had begun with their withdrawal from the area. Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia have agreed to jointly control the northern Syrian border region with Turkey.