In a recent interview, Kurdish prime minister of the KDP (Kurdish Diplomatic Party) and former president Masoud Barzani said, “The deployment of the Peshmerga to help their fellow Kurds in Afrin against Turkey’s military operation will not help solve the problem.” The conflict in Afrin has stirred up a lot of sympathy and support for both parties involved in the fighting.

This however has not changed the fact that many do not want to get involved in the conflict. Barzani later stated, “We are deeply concerned. And we do hope that this military operation would stop as soon as possible, because the fighting and wars are not the solution to the problem,” and that, “Sending Peshmerga will not solve the issue there. The best assistance we can offer is trying our best to stop the offensive.”

In 2014, the Islamic State attacked the Syrian city of Kobane and brought the region to its knees. Following this, Barzani sent the Peshmerga to defend the city alongside the YPG. When this happened, Turkey sanctioned the movement, as the Deployment of Peshmerga would have to pass through Turkish territory to reach Kobane. There are alternate routes available this time around to the Peshmerga but Barzani is attempting to play off the perceived winner; that would be the NATO partner with the 2nd largest military in the world.

A representative and high-ranking member of the Kurdish Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) member, Mala Bakhtiar, spoke of the willingness by his party to send their Peshmerga to Afrin. He made it clear that their soldiers were prepared to fight against the Turkish military’s Operation Olive Branch, the chosen title for the Turkish forces’ efforts.