MSD Co-chair Ehmed: We are the true opposition in Syria
MSD Co-chair Ilham Ehmed stressed that Turkey “bought” al-Bab by making a deal with ISIS and that some forces were trying to convince the Syrian Regime for fragmentation.
Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) Co-chair Ehmed spoke to the ANF on the second congress they held recently, Turkey’s invasion of al-Bab and Syrian territory and the international community’s silence on this invasion.
Remarking that they are the true opposition in Syria, Ehmed stressed that Turkey “bought” Bab by making a deal with ISIS and that forces were trying to convince the Regime for fragmentation. She said they won’t allow fragmentation, and added that attacks by the Turkish state and the gangs increased migration.
“WE WILL EXPAND”
Ehmed remarked that important decisions were made in the second congress, Stating that they defined a goal of expanding to all of Syria, but they had the priority to first open representation offices and centers in liberated areas. She said important individuals and groups joined them between the first and the second congress, and continued:
“Although the council efforts were narrow in the process between the two congresses, important individuals from the Syrian opposition, whose names I won’t cite for security reasons, and institutions and groups have joined us. This means an expansion in the region. We have made a decision to improve our organization throughout Syria and to expand. The planning for this has been done. In the near future we will work on this. For that, both the political committee and the presidential committee have been expanded.”
“THERE IS A HYPOCRISY”
Ehmed stressed that they held both their congresses in Syrian territory where they want to develop a solution, and continued:
“Which one of the supposed Syrian opposition has held one meeting of theirs in Syria up to now? We are the political umbrella organization of the SDF. Our presence is accepted by the international powers as well. Relationships and talks develop over this. This is how we are received in meetings and relations. But we haven’t been included in so-called solution conferences and talks like Geneva. We think there is a hypocrisy there. It may be because of military and political pressure by some forces like Turkey, there may be some calculations there. Because of this, occasionally approaches like ‘not now but in the future’ emerge. We consider these diversion tactics. It seems that this situation will become clearer in the coming period. Because we are at the end of everything.”
“TURKEY IS MAKING THE INVASION OFFICIAL”
Ehmed also touched upon Turkey’s invasion on the first day of the Geneva conference and said that a new handover mise-en-scene is being enacted. Ehmed commented on Turkey’s de facto invasion from Jarablus to Bab: “What happened in Bab is quite tragic. Calculations and negotiations by the regional powers over Syrian lands is not in the interest of the Syrian country or the peoples. This brings forth new conflicts. The peoples of Syria are the ones suffering the most damage from these negotiations and calculations.”
“TURKEY BOUGHT AL-BAB”
Ehmed stressed that the reason al-Bab was let go in a handover ceremony between Turkey and ISIS on the first day of the Geneva conference was to strengthen the groups allied with Turkey and continued:
“Invading al-Bab on the very day the Geneva conference started aims to strengthen the SNC and their armed groups. More accurately, it is done to strengthen the armed groups allied with Turkey in Geneva.
Al-Bab was bought by Turkey. It was sold in a negotiation between ISIS and Turkey. Turkey bought it. And this is dealt with like a victory and a success.
ISIS didn’t leave al-Bab. They changed their name. Just like in Jarablus, this is another deception. Footage from Jarablus shows without a doubt that those people are ISIS. What has changed is the flags and the name. The people are the same. The mindset is the same. Practices are the same. There have been countless marches and insurgencies against these practices and mindset in Jarablus. The people are not accepting the practices of ISIS-in-disguise.
Al-Bab was evacuated and torn to the ground. They are conducting negotiations over a city turned to ruin.”
“TURKISH OUTPOSTS LEGITIMIZE THE INVASION”
Ehmed also spoke on the outposts Turkey started building in Jarablus, Rai, Azaz and Shehba after the invasion, and said they wanted to fragment Syria through these. Ehmed pointed out that the construction of the outposts continued in plain sight of all, and continued:
“With the invasion, Turkey started to build outposts. These outposts and the invasion are a danger for Syria as a whole. These outposts are built while the Regime and Iran watch, with the approval of Russia. These outposts are being built with some forces approving this military situation. With this, the Syrian crisis deepens. Also, this is a move to legitimize the invasion. Now some forces consider Turkey as violating Syrian territory without permission. Like they entered Iraq unofficially, now they want to create the same situation in Syria. They are building outposts. They are building military headquarters and stockpiling forces. They are trying to make everybody accept the invasion they are trying to legitimize. They mean to say, ‘We are here and we are not leaving’. These steps taken by Turkey are a great danger for Syria. Not just for Efrîn and Shehba. There needs to be a stance against this from Syria in general. We are working on bringing this stance out.”
“THEY ARE TRYING TO MAKE THE REGIME ACCEPT THE FRAGMENTATION OF SYRIA”
Ehmed also pointed out that with the outposts, the Regime is pressured and demanded to submit to the fragmentation of Syria, and continued: “In short, they want to divvy up Syria. What the regime has now will stay with the regime. The areas Turkey invaded will stay with Turkey. This policy of allocation will pave the way for the fragmentation of Syria. These people are trying to push Syria to fragmentation. That is not an acceptable situation. We as the Syrian Democratic Council will stand against this. We will try to raise awareness on this danger and we will try to organize them. We will strive to keep the unity of Syria. We are fighting and we will fight for a democratic Syria, not a fragmented Syria with each country claiming a part of it. If the Regime is involved in these negotiations, that is not right, and we don’t accept that. If Russia is involved, it’s not right and we don’t accept that. If the US and Turkey are involved, that is not right and we don’t accept that.”
“ATTACKS BY THE TURKISH STATE INCREASED MIGRATION”
Ehmed stressed that with al-Bab, the migration issue increased, and that hundreds of thousands of people crossed over to Efrîn and Manbij. She said the UN approached the migration issue hypocritically, and continued:
“The issue of the migrants is always on our agenda. The UN insists on considering our region as not a migrant zone. But it is our region that millions of people see as safe and seek refuge in our region, from Daraa to Latakia, from Idlib to Damascus, from Aleppo to al-Bab. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Êzidîs have sought refuge in our region after the genocide, but the UN is still ignoring them. Most recently, after the Turkish state and their gangs attacked al-Bab, hundreds of thousands of people took refuge in Efrîn and Manbij from al-Bab and surrounding villages, Jarablus, Rai and Azaz.
No aid has been provided for these migrants as of now. Of course this is a conscious thing. One can even consider it a plan. The plan is to try the people who seek refuge from this war in our regions with hunger. They flee the war and come to the safe area. When they come to our region, they are starved and forced to migrate to Turkey.”