Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced on Monday that Turkish government plans to move the Tomb of Süleyman Shah and an accompanying army unit in the Kurdish-controlled northern Syria back to its former site further south.
PM Yıldırım said that the tomb of Süleyman Shah, the 12-century grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, was to be relocated to the eastern bank of the River Euphrates “after things get back on track,” 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of the Kurdish town of Kobani.
Its former site in Qaraqozaq is Turkey’s only enclave in another country recognized in a 1921 treaty with the then French colonial rulers in Syria.
Online news outlet Kurdistan24 has reported that for that to happen, Turkish army will either have to fight the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara government now labels as a terrorist group, or cooperate with them, as it did in 2015.
In February 2015, about 600 Turkish troops along with 40 tanks and a hundred more armored vehicles accompanied by warplanes made an incursion into Syria and entered Kobani in coordination with YPG and local Kurdish administration there.
They moved the tomb to a field near the Esme village mere meters away from the Turkey-Syria border in Kobani canton, newly liberated from an all-out months-long siege by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). YPG, supported by US and coalition warplanes, was then battling the ISIL militants around the tomb that remained untouched until its demolition by Turkish forces themselves who evacuated it.
However, that was half a year before the collapse of peace talks and a ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Turkey says is the parent organization of the YPG. Ankara did not renew the treaty with the Syrian state regarding the status of the new field it acquired and the one it abandoned.
It is not clear if the empowered Damascus government reviving from years-long civil war, the self-declared Kurdish autonomous region, or the US-led anti-ISIL coalition would agree to the Turkish plan of getting back the track of land it apparently gave up.