Muslim: Resettlement of Syrian refugees is part of Erdoğan’s extermination plan against Kurds

Salih Muslim said that the Turkish government's goal to "return 1 million refugees" aims to change the demographics of the occupied areas. Muslim reported persecution in areas occupied by Turkey, forcing the local people to flee.

Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, attacks on Rojava have escalated. In addition to thousands of artillery attacks, dozens of drone strikes are carried out in the region. At the same time, the Erdoğan regime is planning to settle refugees from Syria in the region. In an interview with ANF, Salih Muslim, a member of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) Co-Presidency Council, assessed the Turkish state's invasion attacks on southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) as well as northern and eastern Syria.

Muslim stressed that Erdogan's plan, which he stated with the words, "We are ready to send 1 million refugees to Syria," is also part of the plan to exterminate Kurds.

Evaluating drone strikes and international forces' silence, Müslüm stressed the importance of developing a solution against drones.


First and foremost, why was Zap targeted, and what is its relationship to Rojava?

We cannot consider the invasion attacks of the Turkish state on the guerrilla areas in Zap or Southern Kurdistan independently. These invasion attacks are part of the "defeat plan" that has been in force since 2014. The Turkish state is waging a total war of annihilation against the Kurds. In 2014, this plan was started with the attempt to completely wipe out the Kurdish population in Rojava, then they wanted to turn to the Kurds in Northern Kurdistan and then attack Southern Kurdistan.

As a stage of this plan, the popular resistance in Northern Kurdistan and Rojava will be suppressed by occupation and attacks, thus isolating the Kurdish freedom movement in the mountains. In Southern Kurdistan, the Sri Lanka model is currently being implemented, in which everything is directed against the mountains in order to destroy the PKK guerrillas. This plan has been pursued since 2014.

Turkey let ISIS attack Rojava, but the ISIS attacks met resistance and were crushed. The plan was not successful. For this reason, the Turkish state had to invade Syria itself. On August 24, 2016, Turkish troops, starting from Jarablus, first occupied Shehba, followed later by Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. The regions were occupied with a massive attack. However, the attacks did not stop there; every day Rojava is attacked by drones and artillery.

In 2015-2016, the Turkish state also attacked Northern Kurdistan cities such as Nusaybin, Şırnak and Amed. The world public saw that the Turkish troops committed even worse massacres and left destruction than ISIS. Now the Turkish state is trying to explain to everyone: "We have emptied Bakur and Rojava, they are only on the mountains in South Kurdistan, we will destroy them, and we will put an end to the Kurds with this."

But not everything goes as the Turkish state plans. We are the other party to the war. Our hands are not tied. In Rojava, we and our people are resisting. Tens of thousands of people are in captivity in Northern Kurdistan, fascism is massive, but resistance continues there as well. Hundreds of thousands of people filled the squares on Newroz and continued the resistance. For this reason, the Turkish state is intensifying its attacks on Rojava at the same time as the attacks on Zap. It is about the annihilation of the Kurds. But the struggle continues.


To what extent do people here support the guerrilla resistance?

The PKK has a history and a base. It has developed in Kurdistan and the people and the PKK have become one. The guerrillas in southern Kurdistan and in Zap are not only made up of people from the north. The guerrillas have a base. The fighters who are resisting in Zap and South Kurdistan today have joined the guerrillas from all four parts of Kurdistan. These mountains are the mountains of Kurdistan. The guerrillas have been there since 1982, they have taken their place there. The movement has become a popular movement. The people are behind this movement and the guerrillas.

Also, the PKK guerrillas are not only Kurds; there are also Arab and Syriac fighters and people from other nations. In the course of this war, dozens of fighters from Rojava and the autonomous region of northern and eastern Syria have died. Among them are Kurdish, Arab and other martyrs. In this context, this war is not a war that will be confined to the mountains. The war of the Turkish state is designed to destroy the peoples. It is a war against the paradigm of the free coexistence of peoples. And the peoples of Rojava and northeast Syria have accepted this paradigm.


But we also see that the KDP is cooperating with the Turkish state in these attacks. What does this mean for the status of South Kurdistan?

Unfortunately, some regional forces in South Kurdistan have so far supported the Turkish state and are acting in concert with it. Turkey's plans are obvious. They do not want the Kurds to achieve a status. The Turkish state's plan in Iraq so far is to destroy the status of South Kurdistan and federalism. Representatives of the fascist Turkish state announce daily on television that they will make Kirkuk the 82nd province of Turkey. I'm not sure which province they will make Mosul. Of course, this is not just gossip. Turkey is behind all the chaos in Iraq.

Turkey is not only concerned with fighting the guerrillas. Why else does it have some 40 permanent bases in southern Kurdistan? Why has it established a base in Bashiqa? The Turkish state's goal is to occupy South Kurdistan and abolish the existing status. For Turkey, it does not matter who is friend or foe; a Kurd is a Kurd and should have no status. I don't know why the KDP wants to ignore and hide this.

The Kurds have never had their eyes on anyone else's property, they have always been in a position of legitimate self-defense. But the Turkish state has closed all doors of dialogue. It wants to end the existence of Kurdish politics, diplomacy and institutions. The guerrillas protect themselves and the people by fighting on this basis. This is also the case in Rojava. The People's and Women's Defense Units (YPG/YPJ) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are in legitimate self-defense.

So far, Turkey has not accepted South Kurdistan's federal status. It does not even mention the name of the region or the term "Kurdistan". We consider the coming and going of the South Kurdistan representatives in Ankara as an indictment. The Turkish state has always looked down on them with contempt. In fact, it even wants to destroy them. It is playing with how it can humiliate the Kurds, how it can turn them against each other and use them for its interests.


More deadly attacks by Turkish drones are taking place. Isn't the airspace over northern and eastern Syria actually under the control of the coalition, the U.S. and Russia?

We must face the truth. Turkey's atrocities in Rojava are not being seen. This goes against all humanity. In its war against the Kurds, Turkey knows no moral, legal or international standards; it attacks cruelly. It has done so throughout its history. These attacks are continuing and increasing.

The U.S., Russia and others only occasionally issue statements, express concerns or verbally condemn the attacks. The Turkish state does not understand these references, it only understands the war. Neither the U.S. nor Russia will fight Turkey for us. They think only of their own interests. It is only the guerrillas who respond in the language that the Turkish state understands. The guerrillas are not fighting against Turkey because of hostility or with the intention of destruction, but solely on the basis of legitimate self-defense. Because the Turkish state wants to prevent the Kurds from getting a status, it wants to destroy them. We also see what Turkey is doing to the population in North Kurdistan, to the prisoners and to Kurdish politicians.

Although the international powers have made some statements against Turkey's attacks, they are putting weapons in the hands of this brutal and immoderate state. This also applies to drones. We need to take defensive measures. For example, these drones launch and attack Russian soldiers in Ukraine. But Russia says nothing about this. Relations are based on interests. They say, "If there is a loss on one side, there is a gain on the other." But in these drone attacks, our people are being killed. In this regard, we have to take our own measures, defend ourselves and find a solution to the drone attacks.


Erdoğan has announced his intention to settle one million Syrian refugees in the occupied territories in Rojava. What do you think is behind this?

This idea of Erdoğan is part of his anti-Kurdish extermination plan. In order to eliminate the Kurdish identity, it is first necessary to make them forget themselves, in other words, to assimilate them. If you can't eliminate them with that, you expel them; if you can't, you murder them. Turkey is pursuing all three approaches simultaneously. It is pursuing assimilation policies in northern, southern, and western Kurdistan. We see that the Turkish state is opening new Turkish schools every day in the occupied areas in Rojava. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds had to flee from al-Bab, Jarablus, Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî due to the attacks and occupation. The Turkish plan is to destroy the Kurds through war, to expel them and to change the demography in the places they occupy. And the Turkish state is already doing that.

We want the people who had to flee to be able to return to their places of origin. But they cannot return as long as the places are occupied. Those who return are tortured and murdered by the Turkish state and its mercenaries.

Turkey has settled Arab and Turkmen jihadists and their families in Afrin. These mercenaries come from Ghouta, Damascus and Idlib. Now the Turkish state is building large camps and villages of prefabricated houses for them. So far, the money is coming from the Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, from Muslim Brotherhood facilities in Kuwait, Qatar, and the Gulf States. This money is being used to work on changing the demographics of Afrin and the other occupied areas.


Erdoğan and Turkish fascism work very systematically. They set Syria on fire and expelled the people. They use the refugees in Turkey for their interests. While people from Syria who could raise the money were brought to Europe for five to ten thousand euros by smugglers controlled by Turkish intelligence, Turkey has received 40 billion euros from Europe by threatening the refugees. The money is not used for refugees as intended. It goes mainly to the war in Kurdistan. Now, Muslim Brotherhood money is being used to build houses in the occupied territories for the refugees in order to change the demographics of the region.

About 300,000 Syrians have been granted Turkish citizenship and Turkish identity cards. Who are these people? They are the rich, doctors and similar people. In other words, people from whom Turkey expects to benefit and who will be used in the elections. What remains are those who are considered useless, those who cannot go to Europe. They are sent to the regions occupied by Turkey and used against the Kurds. Already 120,000 of them have been recruited and turned into a reserve occupation army. The Turkish state even sent them to Libya and Azerbaijan. Now some are said to have been sent to Ukraine. In other words, Turkey is very systematically using Syrian refugees for its own interests.

Oppression, torture and war. Even the mercenaries are fighting each other. People are fleeing from the occupied zones and coming to our areas. Not only Kurds but also Arabs are fleeing here.


What do you propose the political forces in Rojava do against these plans?

We must resist both the Turkish plan to annihilate the Kurds and the use of the "return" of Syrian refugees. The displaced people from Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê are not giving up their homes. They wait from morning to night to return and work to return. We must tell the world what the Turkish state is doing in the occupied territories and that there is no peace there as claimed. It is legitimate for us to oppose this plan with all the means at our disposal. We will do so.

In conclusion, I would like to say the following. We have no choice but to resist. We should not have any expectations from the outside, that is, from the international powers or states because no one but ourselves will do anything for us. If we organize and defend ourselves more strongly and thwart the Turkish annihilation plan, everyone will recognize us. But without us, no one would do anything. The enemy is cruel and knows no measure. No one should deceive himself in this regard.


There is also another fact: Turkey has been attacking us for so many years. It receives money from everywhere for these attacks. But it is still on the verge of collapse. Why? Because we resist, the plan does not work. But the Turkish state does not stop continuing its attacks. The war it has been waging against the Kurds since 2015 is a huge war. Even between two states, there is no war that big. Even states can not withstand this war that Turkey is waging against the Kurdish people. But Turkey is losing because the Kurdish people are resisting. This resistance will continue and will be successful.