Over 1,000 youths and veterans in Azerbaijan have requested to join the Turkish military’s cross-border anti-terror operation in norther-east Syria, an Azerbaijani official has stated.
The Azerbaijan-based news site Musavat reported yesterday that Emin Hasanli, a member of the Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organisations, announced that the “Azerbaijani people, youth, veterans, martyrs families and non-governmental organizations heartily support Turkish operations in Syria.”
Hasanli added: “Turkey and Azerbaijan have been brotherly states. Therefore, Azerbaijan will always stand with Turkey.”
The support from Azerbaijani youths and veterans comes a week after the launching of the Turkish operation into north-east Syria, during which the country’s primary motive is to clear the Kurdish militias from its border region, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The groups are currently entrenched east of the Euphrates River in Syria, and Turkey sees them as a national security. Ankara’s ultimate aim is to establish a safe zone in the north-east of Syria to house around two million Syrian refugees.
The military operation that is taking place is the third and largest Turkish incursion into northern Syria, following on from Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 and Operation Olive Branch in 2018. The commencement of the operation comes after months of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning that he would conduct the operation if the United States (US) did not agree to cooperate on the safe zone, prompting an agreement to be struck in August. Turkey grew disappointed and impatient in the US’ delays in establishing the safe zone, however, and decided to take its own course in setting it up.
Following the announcement and launch of the Turkish operation, there have been numerous countries and players both supporting and opposing the move, with many Syrian opposition groups pledging their support and participation in the operation. Spain has also recently announced its support for the operation, making it the first European and Western nation to do so.
Support from Azerbaijani nationals for the operation is not a surprise due to the deep ethnic, cultural and political ties that exist between Turkey and Azerbaijan, particularly because both countries are part of the global community of Turkic nations.