YPG Commander: Only Kurds put forth a project for a solution in Syria
YPG Commander: There are plans made over people’s blood, immoral political scenarios are prepared, but despite all that, MSD and SDF will determine the future of Syria with their political, military and diplomatic efforts.
YPG Aleppo General Commander Kawa Heleb stated that the spirit and will created by Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan was achieved after great resistances, and added that the solution project to end the current war in Syria and to build a democratic Syria was again put forth by the Kurdish people.
YPG Aleppo General Commander Kawa Heleb spoke to the ANF as follows.
Aleppo was one of the most critical centers of the Syrian war. In Aleppo, for 6 years there was intense fighting among gang groups allied with SNC (Syrian National Coalition) and the Baath regime. What was Aleppo’s structure and why was it important?
Aleppo is a mosaic of peoples, and has been the center of trade for the Middle East historically. Aleppo is also the historic home of Muslim Brotherhood and an important Ottoman city, therefore had strategic significance.
Aleppo is divided into two, the East and the West - and not only geographically, but culturally as well. Eastern Aleppo consists of working classes from Kobanê and Afrîn. There are also Sunni Kurds and Turks. Western Aleppo is rich and has the bourgeoisie. Western Aleppo is home to middle classes and state supporters who don’t care about political slogans and just want stability to grow, like anywhere else in the world.
Aleppo had the world’s attention for 6 years, when there were plans being made over the city and relentless fighting between the regime and the gangs, and the gangs and the YPG/YPJ forces.
Six years later, the Syrian state, as a result of the operation developed with Russia’s partnership, cleared Aleppo of SNC gangs. What happened that allowed the Syrian state to take control in Aleppo?
After the insurgency of 2011, there was a great war in Aleppo. There was the Syrian state in Western Aleppo and SNC gangs in Eastern Aleppo. We took a position of defense for our people in locales like Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya against all attacks, in accordance with the third way strategy.
Eastern Aleppo was truly captured by armed local forces in Andan, Hritan, Azaz and Heyan in 2012. But the international and regional forces that terrorized the popular insurgencies demanding change and transformation in 2011, and the jihadist gang groups waging their proxy war destroyed the local forces that took over Eastern Aleppo.
The prominent clans of Eastern Aleppo were targeted by gang groups and thus changed sides for the Syrian state, to start acting in unison with them. Tens of thousands of Aleppans sought to migrate after this. Thousands of Aleppans took refuge in the areas under our forces’ control, and thousands more migrated in and outside the country.
Despite that, thousands also had to live under the invasion, torture, massacre and ideology of the gang groups. The gang groups looted everything in the area they invaded and exported them for dirt cheap to Turkey, to be sold in markets there. That destroyed the economic power of the people.
Many groups that emerged as so-called opposition split into dozens of other groups because of the looting. With Ahrar Al Sham and Al Nusra gaining influence in the region, other gang groups lost their footing. Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham forced a new lifestyle on both other groups and the local people in this way.
All these pushed the local population to side with the state and brought about the state control of Aleppo.
Starting with Sheikh Maqsoud, there were intense attacks on the free areas under control of your forces. What is the latest situation in Sheikh Maqsoud and Aleppo?
We as the People’s Protection Units YPG and YPJ have taken on the duty of defense so our people won’t be impacted by the destructive nature of the war. We took up protection in Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya neighborhoods to try and keep the war away from these areas. And I can say we did mostly manage this. When all of Aleppo was burned and looted, areas like Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya defended by YPG/YPJ became a safe livable space for Aleppans escaping war. Thousands of people returned to life in areas under our control.
But these safe spaces were attacked by mainly ISIS and SNC gangs many many times. They wanted to invade and de-Kurdify the peoples’ safe havens Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya. The Kurdish people and Aleppans who took refuge in these lands were subjected to gang attacks. Our peoples were massacred and put through torture.
But our people never submitted to any attack by any forces. Our peoples fought and resisted shoulder to shoulder with YPG/YPJ fighters. And in the end, the peoples were those who prevailed. YPG/YPJ forces who resisted, who gave their lives were those who prevailed. Those who knelt were the Turkish state and the SNC gangs. Our peoples came together with the YPG/YPJ from 7 to 70 in Sheikh Maqsoud and other free areas, and they continue to live in peace, security and prosperity.
There were liberation operations by your forces on the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo in the past months. Why were these liberation operations needed? What was their purpose?
Our peoples who lived under SNC gangs’ invasion for more than 6 years in Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods repeated their previously made calls for us. Especially due to the increasing pressure from the SNC gangs, people in eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo were calling on us for liberation almost every day in the November-December period.
As the People’s Protection Units, we answered our people’s calls, and launched liberation operations on the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo under SNC gangs’ invasion. As a result of the liberation operations we launched, we cleared several neighborhoods of SNC gangs and liberated them.
What do you think of the invasions and attacks by the Turkish state in the region?
The Turkish state is experiencing a total block in domestic and foreign politics. They resorted to such an invasion to get over that block.
The Turkish state has been a party in this war since the war in Syria started. The Turkish state openly supported gangs like ISIS, Al Nusra, Ahrar Al Sham, Jaysh Al Islam, Sultan Murat Brigade and others in the war in Syria, and used them against the Baath regime and the revolutionary democratic forces of the Syrian peoples.
The animosity of the Turkish state towards Kurds and the Kurdish Freedom Movement in Northern Kurdistan was transferred over to Syria and Rojava and was doubled there. The most important reason behind the Turkish state’s attacks on Northern Syrian soil is to prevent Afrîn and Kobanê cantons from joining.
You said the Turkish state doesn’t consider ISIS, Al Nusra, Ahrar Al Sham and other such gang groups as a threat to them. But as it is known, ISIS carried out attacks in Turkey. They also carry out attacks in Al Bab on the Turkish state and their allied gangs. What do you think about that?
The Turkish state doesn’t see gang groups like ISIS, Al Nusra, Ahrar Al Sham, Jaysh Al Islam, Sultan Murat Brigade as a threat to them.
They seem like they are fighting ISIS gangs now. This is actually geared to save the ISIS gangs. Mind you, ISIS is only in the Shehba region in the Northern Syrian territory now. The revolutionary, libertarian people’s forces pushed ISIS gangs out of their lands. The only reason the ISIS gangs are still in Shehba is the Turkish state.
The Turkish state sees the Kurds, who are trying to bring together different ethnic and faith groups and build a free and mutual life system based on equality, freedom and justice, as a great threat. That is why they invaded Jarablus and Al Rai. That is why they want to invade Bab. But they don’t have the power to do so, nor do the international powers allow this.
On the other hand, it would be good to remember this. Today, the AKP and Erdoğan ruling the Turkish state have a desire to return to Ottoman times in the region. So it’s not enough to only consider current political and military developments when looking at the Turkish state’s invasions in the region. It should be remembered that the Turkish state’s invasions in the region have a historical background.
I want to ask, considering the Jarablus and Al Rai invasions and invasion attacks on Al Bab, what is the Turkish state’s end game?
As you know, there has been a civil war going on in Syria for the last 6 years. This 6 year period has clearly shown that the only thing international and regional powers and the gang groups who carry out their proxy war is more blood, death and tears.
Neither the international and regional powers and those who carry out their proxy war on the field have put forth a project for a solution that will serve the interests of the peoples of Syria up to date. These powers have continuously excluded the true representatives of the Syrian peoples and subjected them to attacks. But the true representatives of the Syrian peoples haven’t given up and they have come up with political and military solutions.
For example, in Northern Syria, there is an effort to build the Democratic Federal System that takes into account all colors of society. All ethnic and faith groups in Syria have started to breathe easy with this system. This model is also the first revolutionary democratic step in the Middle East.
With the liberation of Manbij, the Democratic Federal System got stronger. The Turkish state was very disturbed by the launch of the operation to liberate Raqqa, and they moved to disbanding the revolutionary democratic people’s forces and to crush and smother them. That is why they targeted the people’s forces in Manbij and Shehba. Right now these attacks continue in waves. What the Turkish state really aims for with the invasion of Jarablus and Al Rai and invasion attacks on Bab is to destroy the democratic federal system and take the will of the people hostage.
Just recently, the Northern Syria Democratic Federation Constituent Assembly held their second meeting. The social contract for the democratic federal system was approved in this meeting. What do you think of the Democratic Federal System?
The peoples saw that the Rojava Revolution put forth the only solution project for the peoples with their military and political practice. The canton system and the democratic autonomy system are some of these projects. The people supported this system and decided on the democratic federal system so it would be more inclusive.
The democratic federal system isn’t the system of the powers, it is a system for the people and the society. Against the power struggle between the regime and the so-called opposition, it is the only project for a solution that defends the rights and freedoms of the peoples of Syria. Everybody should read this as so.
Instead of a central despotic power and mindset, the democratic federation showcases the will of each region and the peoples who live there. The democratic federal system mainly constitutes a system where the peoples are the ones with the power to decide.
The democratic federal system is a concrete step to strengthen the foundations of a common life among peoples, turning ethnic, religious and sectarian problems into not conflict but peace. In this sense, the democratic federal system can be a solution to problems the peoples of Rojava and Syria experience in every area.
How will the war in Syria end? Who is doing what for the future of Syria?
The war in Syria seems like it won’t go away in the short and middle term. On the matter of the future of Syria, it is apparent that the only force to put forth a project for the future of Syria are the Kurds and their allies.
The Kurds have created a status that includes all differences. Not the Turkish state, or Bashur Kurdistan, or the crooked gang groups allied or unrelated to them trying to pass themselves off as the Syrian opposition won’t have a say in the future of Syria, that much is clear.
There are still plans of interest over Syria and the peoples of Syria, over peoples’ blood. There are immoral discussions and immoral scenarios. But despite all these, the military, political and diplomatic efforts of the MSD and the SDF will determine the future of Syria.