Muslim: They will be completely defeated in Efrîn as well

PYD Co-chair stated that the final phase of Turkey’s attack plan is Efrîn, saying: “If they attack, they will be completely defeated. Like ISIS was defeated in Kobanê and that brought about their end, Efrîn will bring about the end of Turkish aggression."

Following the increase in attacks on Efrîn and Shehba regions, with a decision taken during the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation Constituent Assembly’s third session, the founding of the Shehba Canton has been announced.

Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-chair Salih Muslim spoke to the Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper and stated that the final phase of the Turkish state’s attacks has been directed at Efrîn and that they are prepared. He said: “ISIS was their proxy, like they lost in Kobanê the Turkish state will lose in Efrîn. We have no doubt about this.”

Muslim mentioned the meeting to be held in Riyad on August 15 regarding the Geneva talks and said: “If there is going to be a solution, we have to be present in the meeting.”

Salih Muslim’s answers to the newspaper’s questions, translated by ANF English service, are as follows:

In Rojava, after the Cizîrê, Kobanê and Efrîn cantons, the Shehba canton has now been declared. What led to this declaration?

Turkey had a plan, namely to destroy the Kurdish people, even completely annihilate them if possible, or at least change the demographic structure of the region, starting from Shengal, Kirkuk and Efrîn. As soon as the Syrian crisis began, they enacted this plan, starting from Kobanê, Cizîre and Serêkaniyê. They were leaving Efrîn and Serêkaniyê for last, but now things have changed. They failed in Shengal, they didn’t prevail in Mosul and Kirkuk, all tools they used in Kobanê have been completely defeated. Now the final phase of their plans has been put in motion. The final phase is the Efrîn issue. Now they tried a little bit in Shehba, they invaded some areas, an area of 2000 square kilometers. They want to now turn towards Efrîn, and that is what we object to. Like the tools they used in other places failed, these will certainly fail as well.

I’m not sure to what extent they are familiar with the balance here, but we are resisting and we have our people behind us. We have organized our people. They will not prevail in Efrîn. ISIS was their proxy, like they lost in Kobanê the Turkish state will lose in Efrîn. We have no doubt about this. There needs to be resistance, and we do what is necessary. We are prepared. Like ISIS was defeated and their end has come, Turkish animosity and Turkish aggression will be ended in Efrîn.

What level of preparation do you have against attacks?

Our people are organized, they are capable of protecting and defending themselves. The conditions are not in favor of Turkey. They will face defeat there if they make an attempt, which they have. They are still carrying out daily attacks and artillery fire via their men on the border. They have some mercenaries and gangs they organized in Shehba like the Sultan Murad, Sultan Muhammed Rifat and Sultan Suleyman brigades. They support them. But the people there resist. Most of the organizations there are local forces like the Jaysh al Thuwar and Jabhat al-Ahrar. They defend their own lands.

There are reports claiming Turkey’s new command ranks are preparing for a war against the YPG. Turkish President Erdoğan just said some days ago that the Euphrates Shield invasion operation will continue “with new maneuvers”. What does that mean? What is the new plan?

These are threats. They brought a “sultan” to Turkey! This “sultan” is the one-man ruler of Turkey since 2002. He has amassed all authority. Changes like the ones in the Supreme Military Council work to strengthen the Sultan, the one man. This is chaos for Turkey. This is pushing Turkey towards a bind. Being so removed from democracy and humanity is not a good path for Turkey. We see the outcomes of this. Nobody in the world takes them seriously. If like this they can’t achieve a domestic peace and resolve the Kurdish issue their aggression will continue.

But we say what we are required to: If they truly attempt to attack us, they will certainly be defeated. We will resist. We are not afraid of such threats. We will do whatever is necessary against threats like this.

Our call for our people is: Don’t mind the speculations. Our people are organized, and victory will be ours. They know how far we have come in the military and political sense. Our people should trust in themselves. We want to live in peace along with other peoples. This is one of our principles. The gains of the Kurds belong to all peoples and organizations. We want them to be sure of this.

There is word that Russia insists the PYD join the Geneva talks. Last week in a summit in the Philippines, it is rumored that Lavros relayed this demand to Turkey. Will the Geneva talks continue with or without you from now on?

We said this in the beginning, if the Geneva talks are to bring a true peace to Syria, then all forces need to be at the table. Now they didn’t want us to be there, so that means they don’t want peace, or at least they don’t want a solution. If they are truly looking for peace and a solution, the parties who have influence must be present in both the military and political areas. Most recently there was a meeting for the Syrian Coalition in Riyad. They will meet again on the 15th. They will make new decisions, and those who want an actual resolution in these meetings want Kurds to attend as well. They say the Democratic structure or Northern Syrian Forces and the Syrian Assembly should be there. If there is going to be a solution, we have to be in the meeting. The Syrian peace can’t be removed from us, that is impossible. So they are reviewing the participants. They make a move, it doesn’t work, they try again, it’s a matter of trial and error. If the coalition wants to do serious business, we have to be in the meeting. If they want a solution, we will certainly be there.

What political, social, economical and defense outcomes will come of the declaration of the canton?

In the past in Shehba, there was a Kurdish majority with a significant Arab and Turkmen population. Powers have pitted these people against each other through centuries, but that will end. Shehba will be part of the democratic model, like Manbij and Girê Spî (Tal Abyad). There will be an organized people and when they are organized they will be able to defend themselves.

What do you think of the international and regional powers’ approach towards the cantons?

The cantons will become a model throughout the Middle East. But not a nonexistent, imaginary model. A real one. Like they operate in Europe, there will be cantons in the Middle East. The key is that it is in the Middle East. We are building the social communes of the cantons. Right now these social communes exist in countries like Belgium. When it’s in the Middle East, everybody is awestruck, like it’s a new thing. But it isn’t. We are talking about cooperatives. We see it with the Catalans, the most successful economic model is the cooperatives. Why wouldn’t we have them as well? We are trying to implement this now. We are taking advantage of others’ experiences and we are building something for the first time in the Middle East. This will bring about stability.