ANKARA: Turkish forces will not remain in Syria’s Afrin and will leave the region to its “real owners”, Ankara’s main spokesman said on Monday, after Turkey’s military and its Syrian rebel allies stormed the town over the weekend.
Bekir Bozdag, a Deputy Prime Minister, also told reporters that Turkey had significantly reduced threats to its borders after capturing the town of Afrin. He said Turkey had collected “most” of the weapons given to Kurdish fighters by the United States, after the YPG left weapons behind as they fled the town.
Meanwhile, The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Monday for greater access to the civilian population of Afrin, declaring that the Turkish Red Crescent lacked credibility among the Syrian Kurds after Turkey’s military operation.
ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking on return from a two-week trip to Syria, Iraq and Iran, told reporters in Geneva: “…the credibility of a Turkish Red Crescent working in Afrin with the Kurdish population is close to zero”.
The ICRC is helping some of the thousands of displaced civilians who have fled Afrin to villages near Aleppo, but needs regular access to Afrin, where civilians have the right to neutral, impartial aid and the right to leave or stay, he said.