BEIRUT – Kurdish militias denied on Wednesday Turkey’s claims that the Islamic State terror organization was present in Afrin, northeast Syria, the site of a Turkish military operation.
Turkey launched on Saturday a military offensive called operation “Olive Branch” in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin against the Kurdish YPG militias, which form the majority of the multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces in control of swathes of territory in north Syria
A spokesman for the YPG, Nuri Mahmud, told EFE that when Ankara claims IS members are fighting with the YPG, it is trying to hide the fact that IS fighters, as well as militants from other groups, are among the ranks of the Syrian rebel factions supporting the Turkish military.
According to Mahmud, Turkey wants to camouflage the presence of fighters from the IS, the Nusra Front (formerly al-Qaida’s affiliates in Syria, now called Tahrir al-Sham) and other radical organizations among the Syrian factions working alongside the Turkish army in northern Syria.
Syrian opposition factions are currently working with the Turkish army in the offensive against Afrin.