Erdoğan says Turkey patient on Syria, for now

Militants of the al-Nusra Front are seen on the Syrian side of the border in this July 22 photo taken in the Turkish town of Akçakale. Clashes between the al-Nusra Front and Kurds continue along the border.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled that Turkey could take action as clashes between Kurds and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front fighters rage just over Turkey's border with Syria, saying his government remains patient regarding developments on its borders but that he couldn't say how long that patience would last.
“The developments in Syria have crossed our borders and caused deaths in our country. We are patient for now. But how long [we will stay patient?]” Erdoğan said during a speech at the Haliç Congress Center on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Turkish army has said it is retaliating against attacks from the Syrian side of the border as clashes between Kurdish militants and al-Qaeda affiliates intensify in northern Syria.
The army said in a statement on Monday that it has taken necessary security measures against threats from across the Syrian border. The army said its units are returning fire across the Syrian border according to its rules of engagement.
Turkey has continued to reinforce areas of the Syrian border where clashes are taking place. Turkish forces frequently exchange fire with Syrian gunmen, most likely militants from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
On Monday, Cabinet members were expected to discuss the crisis in Syria.
Frustrated by the tension along Turkish-Syrian border, Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), argued on Sunday that the capture of the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn by the military wing of the PYD presents a clear risk of fomenting separatism in Turkey and urged the government to announce a military intervention if the PYD declares autonomy.
Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Faruk Loğoğlu said on Monday that Turkey should protect its borders and citizens, adding that the Turkish-Syrian border was out of control. "Turkey's aim should be to end the clashes in Syria and put an end to the violence. The wider aim should be the protection of the territorial integrity of regional countries. Turkey's Syria policy should also be based on this aim. In the event of a military intervention in Syria, what would the next step be? Is Turkey going to occupy Syria and stay in the country?"
Referring to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's call on the United Nations Security Council to act, Loğoğlu said that a decision to intervene was unlikely to come from the Security Council.
"Davutoğlu's statements are the reflection of desperation and the dead end that foreign policy has come to. Waiting for a step like intervention from the Security Council is being a daydreamer," Loğoğlu added.
Addressing the spillover effects of the Syrian crisis, Davutoğlu said last Thursday that Turkey would maintain its firm stance against any kind of terrorist dominance near its borders.
"This paints a striking picture of how much the crisis in Syria can affect us and our citizens. Once again, we call upon the international community to act. … If the UN Security Council is to do the job it is required to do, then the moment is now," Davutoğlu said.

Opposition army chief pledges to resist ‘planned' Kurdish state in Syria

Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, head of the Syrian opposition's Supreme Military Council, has said that the opposition will never recognize a Kurdish state in northern Syria -- which some, he added, are planning -- and stressed that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) would battle any group that wants to divide Syria.
Speaking on Turkish TV on Monday, Idris said, “The main goal of the PYD is to found their own state, ‘Western Kurdistan.'”
“They are receiving support from the Syrian regime and Kurdish militants based in Iraq and Iran, and the PKK.”
“But this is so clear that we won't ever accept or recognize such a state. We will fight anyone who is making efforts to divide Syria,” he said, adding that the opposition's struggle with the PYD would continue.
“We've already begun to shift some of our troops to Rasulayn [which is now under PYD control.] We won't wait until the PYD gets stronger. We also told them [the PYD] that we won't recognize a Kurdish state,” Idris said.
Heavy clashes between the PYD and FSA continue in Rasulayn (Serekaniye in Kurdish). Rasulayn is an area of Syria's al-Hasakah province a few hundred meters from the Turkish town of Ceylanpınar, Şanlıurfa province.
Idris is currently in Ankara to talk with Turkish officials as concerns over the possibility of a PYD-controlled autonomous Kurdish region in Syria have risen in Turkey. Many are worried that the emergence of Kurdish autonomy in Syria could embolden PKK terrorists fighting for autonomy in Turkey.

'PYD filled void FSA left in Rasulayn'

Idris said the PYD won ground in Rasulayn by filling the void the FSA left in the region after it shifted troops to the al-Malikiyah and Qamishli regions, also in al-Hasakah.
“We have now a very heavy fight in al-Malikiyah. We are trying to take control of a military airport at Qamishli. We have directed our troops and focused on these regions. The PYD took a chance and got control of Rasulayn,” Idris said.
Idris also said that the FSA is losing ground in their battle with the Syrian regime, while they are also struggling armed groups like al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate, in addition to the PYD.
Al-Nusra, Idris said, is fighting for control over Syria's oil, natural gas and grain stocks.
Meanwhile, al-Nusra leader Abu Mussab, who was recently kidnapped by PYD fighters, was freed on Sunday, according to Reuters. However, pro-opposition activists gave conflicting reports of how the Islamist brigade commander in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad near the Turkish border came to be free.

Kurdish activist says Syria developments could hinder settlement process

Meanwhile, Seydi Fırat, a member of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), has said that the PYD is preparing to declare autonomy.
“The [PKK terrorism settlement] process has the potential to get blocked. The KCK [an umbrella group of the PKK] is concerned about speculations on Turkish support for attacks [on Kurdish regions.] The developments in Syria also have the potential to block the [PKK terrorism settlement] process,” Fırat told Turkey's Bugün daily.

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