SDF Commander Akif Hesekê: We will end the invasion

SDF commander Akif Hesekê talks to ANF about the Turkish occupation plans and the prospects of the resistance in northeast Syria and Rojava.

In an evaluation of Turkey's occupation attacks on Northeast Syria, Akif Hesekê as one of the commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated that not only the achievements of the Kurdish people are at stake but the common achievements of all people living in the region. In the interview to ANF, he spoke about the Turkish occupation plans and the prospects of resistance against them.

Why did the Turkish state set Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) and Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) as the first targets of attack in its occupation plan for Rojava? What strategic role does this region play?

In 2011 a revolutionary process has begun in Rojava. This revolution was realised by millions of people and thousands of martyrs. In the course of the revolutionary process, defeat was also inflicted on the ISIS and similar groups in Rojava. After that, a life based on the brotherhood of peoples was created in the region, which meant prosperity, peace and security. For the Turkish state, the defeat of the ISIS has been a great danger. It saw it as its own defeat and drew up a new extermination plan against the region, incorporating the jihadists who had surrendered to it.

This annihilation plan included an offensive with jihadist groups on northern and eastern Syria. The first invasion took place in Afrin. From the outset, the aim was not only to occupy Afrin, but to destroy the achievements made in the entire region. The attacks were intended to be extended further. For this reason the occupation attacks were directed against Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. Of course the threats of Erdoğan and his gangs continue. The ISIS also wanted to dominate this very region.

The reason why Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî in particular are attacked so strongly is because people of different ethnic and cultural origins have lived together peacefully here and the region is considered the cradle of human history. We too have started our struggle in the region of Serêkaniyê and our resistance continues. That is why the region is under attack. The Turkish state wants to prevent this development and let our struggle fail. Another reason is the intention to break the connection between the Cizîrê and Kobanê regions and gain control over the M4 road. Turkey's tactics follow the logic of "divide - attack - occupy".

The M4 road south of Girê Spî has recently been subject to massive attacks by the Turkish state. What is Turkey's aim in taking this road?

Erdoğan has made diplomatic efforts abroad to get support for its plan to settle refugees in northern Syria. Following the initial outcomes, he occupied an area with a military invasion. As is well known, the attacks began on a special date. 9 October 1998 marks the beginning of the international conspiracy against Abdullah Ocalan, and that is exactly when the invasion began. After Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, the real target is the M4, because it is of strategic importance. It is an international connection road, which is important for traffic and trade, as well as for military purposes.

The road connects the Cizîrê region with Aleppo, Damascus and Kobanê. To control the region, this road is important. For this reason, Turkey also speaks of a safe zone extending 32 kilometers inland. This mileage is part of the occupation plan, which includes control of the M4. Taking this road is intended to prepare the occupation of the entire region and to cut the connection between Kobanê and Cizîrê. At the same time, the road represents an important supply route for the people in the region. For this reason, Shergirak and Ain Issa are also under attack. The Turkish state and its mercenaries are attacking this SDF-controlled traffic route in a very planned manner.

The SDF have made agreements with several states to stop the invasion. A ceasefire was discussed. To what extent has a ceasefire really taken place?

With the resistance of the SDF in Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, a ceasefire was declared between the US and Turkey. This matter also concerned us and we were involved in the process. The results of some talks were officially announced through the media. In practice, the ceasefire agreement was not implemented by the Turkish state and the gangs. The attacks are ongoing. This means that international forces such as the US and Russia are overlooking the aggression. The attacks carried out during the agreed ceasefire are taking place with their consent. They also give Turkey advantages in the technical field. In public, they behave differently.

What are your arguments for resistance in the early days and in the future? How will it continue? Can you say something about the prospects and methods of your struggle?

The state of war in the region continues. The Turkish state wants to extend its zone of occupation and continues its attacks to this end. Its annihilation plan is not yet complete. As SDF, we do not accept the occupation nor ongoing attacks. Our attitude is designed to fend off the occupation of our land and the destruction of our achievements. Our main goal is to push the gangs out of the region and end the occupation. Although the attacks have been partially stopped for tactical reasons, we all know that expansionist efforts will continue.

At the moment, preparations are being made for this. Along with this, methods of psychological warfare against the population of northern and eastern Syria are also being used. The Turkish state wants to revive the ISIS, and to create such an atmosphere in the region. The latest attacks are based on this. As SDF, we will continue our struggle, updating the tactics according to the circumstances. I have to say it again, the target of the attack is not only the Kurdish people, but the common achievements of all the peoples of the region. The target is the will of the people.

The people also continue to offer resistance. During this period of resistance, people had to leave their homes because of the occupation, children were injured and died. This means that the resistance continues and the occupation is rejected. As SDF, we pursue the goal of ending the occupation on the basis of self-defense and liberating our country from the Turkish state and its gangs. The occupation will be ended together with the population and the people will continue their lives in the liberated areas.

What influence does the Turkish invasion have on the struggle against the ISIS? How do you fight the ISIS members who have resurfaced?

Behind the occupation is the intention to take revenge for the defeat of the ISIS. The ISIS was defeated thanks to the will of the people and the struggle of the SDF, and the attacks of the ISIS were repulsed in the region. The Turkish invasion seeks to revive the ISIS manner in the region. This is the real goal. In the beginning it was supposed to be done with the ISIS, but this attempt failed. Now the goal is intended to be achieved through other jihadist groups. Not only here, but also in Idlib, in Libya, in Iraq and in Syria there is a connection between gang organisations and the Turkish state. Turkey provides material and military support.

The international forces are also aware of this. The situation is also evident through the gang organizations here. The occupation is carried out with gang groups. Naturally, therefore, attacks are increasingly taking place in the region, as can be seen from the attacks on civilian population in recent times. Our fight against them will be continued together with the local people in each area with various methods. The SDF Command has also already commented on this issue. For us there is no difference between the Turkish state, the ISIS and Arteşa Azad [Free Army]. Their goals are the same. Our goal is the end of the occupation and the liberation of our country from the Turkish state and its gangs.