YPG’s message to the Turkish state on Afrin: “You are dreaming”
YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mehmud stated that after turning armed groups into a bargaining chip by acting as the merchant in the Arab Spring, the Turkish state is now negotiating Afrin against Idlib.
People’s Defense Units (YPG) Spokesperson Nuri Mehmud stated that the Syrian civil war, dubbed to be “over”, has flared up again in recent weeks and that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is negotiating over Afrin. Mehmud sent a message to the Turkish army that “dreams of entering Afrin in one week” that they “will be greatly mistaken”.
The Syrian Baath regime’s operation to clear the northern Idlib province of Al Qaeda-based Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (Al Nusra) and Ahrar Al Sham organizations with aerial support from Russia has drawn the attention back to Syria. The Baath regime marching on Idlib has caused concern in Ankara. The Turkish army entered Idlib over the “no-conflict zone” agreement made among Iran, Russia and Turkey during the Astana 8 talks, and accelerated the plans to attack Afrin together with terrorist organizations in the region.
YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mehmud spoke to the ANF about the Baath regime’s Idlib operation, a possible invasion attempt against Afrin, which is back on Erdogan’s target, and the US-led international coalition’s statement that “an army of 30.000 is being formed”. “The AKP government sees Idlib as a last chance for itself. If they can manage trade and commerce over Idlib and Afrin, they think they can survive,” said Mehmud and added that despite Erdogan’s comment that they “pose a threat”, the heroic resistance displayed in Kobane by fighters who are defending Afrin today has “defended Paris, Moscow, New York, Cairo and even Ankara and Istanbul against terror attacks”.
Russian President Putin announced by the end of 2017 that the war in Syria is over, but in the first weeks of 2018 there were further conflict news from the region. The Baath regime has launched an operation on Idlib with Russia’s support. The Turkish state, who entered Idlib under the guise of no-conflict zones formed as part of the Astana Accord, has protested this operation. What is the poitical and military state in Idlib now?
As it is known, the Turkish state wanted to be a model for the Middle East. They had built their political project formed for this purpose over Ottomanist sultanate and Sunni sectarianism. They trusted the Ikhwan al Muslimi line in particular. In Tunisia and Egypt, parties named the Justice and Light Party and the Justice and Development Party in the same line.
TURKEY MISCALCULATED IN SYRIA
When the first protests began in Syria, the then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Syria and met with Bashar Assad, asking him to make peace with the Muslim Brotherhood. AKP Leader Tayyip Erdogan’s calculation was to rule over the Middle East. When he visited Middle Eastern countries, he acted like he was visiting a province in Turkey. That was the image he created. But the Middle East has other expectations. The hope of Middle Eastern societies was the Arab Spring.
The Turkish state considered the intervention on Syria to be a very simple situation. They thought of the region as their back yard. Their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood fractured Syria. Many armed groups emerged in Syria. These were all moved into Syria over Turkey. When the alternative project started to develop, they left Damascus and started to fight us in Serekaniye. Many documents were recovered at the time that showed this attack had been organized by the Turkish state.
ISIS INCREASED THE TURKISH STATE’S HOPES
When the “Arab Spring” or the concept of nationalism experienced defeat in Serekaniye, ISIS emerged. It was us who exposed to the world for the first time that Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham were controlled by Al Qaeda. In Kobane, ISIS increased the AKP government hopes. It reached such a point that the Turkish President said, “Kobane is about to fall”. When the terrorist organizations of the Turkish state were defeated in Kobane and our forces advanced to Manbij, the Erdogan government started to negotiate the “Arab Spring”.
And they negotiated the armed groups around Homs, Aleppo and Damascus in return for invading Bab, Azaz and Jarablus. The Syrian regime, Iran, Turkey and Russia were present at the negotiation table. Now they want to do the same negotiation in Afrin and Idlib, namely they want Afrin in return for giving up Idlib. For the Erdogan government, it is not so important if they do or don’t enter Afrin, their main goal is to void the project developing in Northern Syria. As it is known, the project brought to life today in Northern Syria has destroyed the ISIS terrorism and the understanding of nationalism, voided the gang groups and developed a perspective for a solution to the Syrian crisis. And it has created an example for the peoples of the region on what foundations a revolutionary understanding should develop upon.
Why is the Turkish state disturbed by the Damascus regime carrying out an operation in a Syrian province against jihadists in the Al Qaeda line?
The Turkish government sees Idlib as a last chance for itself. If they can manage trade and commerce over Idlib and Afrin, they think they can survive. AKP officials have made their approach known with comments like, “the existence of Northern Syria means we cease to exist.”
The recent attacks on Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham by the regime, Iran and Russia in Idlib have brought the “no-conflict zones” agreement reached in the Astana talks by the same forces to almost the point of falling apart. The Turkish state organized all gang groups in Syria, the Euphrates Shield groups, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham and Ahrar Al Sham gangs under a joint umbrella. The real reason for the Syrian Baath regime’s possible defeat in Idlib won’t be the armed groups there, it will be the Turkish state. With this leverage they hold, the AKP regime is trying to pressure Syria, Russia and Iran to make these states accept their policies.
As the Idlib operation started, Erdogan put the invasion of Afrin on the table again. Is it a coincidence that Erdogan targets Afrin at the same time the Syrian regime marches on to Idlib? Or, are the two directly related?
Erdogan’s comments and the activity that is happening show that he has been given hope. He is voicing his threats at a higher volume. Apparently, forces that calculate for the possibility of the Baath regime being defeated in Idlib are leaving the door open for an agreement with the Erdogan regime. The whole world and the international public should be conscious of the option of a negotiation over Afrin and Idlib.
AFRIN IS NOT ALONE
Regional forces that have a simple approach towards Afrin should know very well that Afrin is a continuation of Kobane. The peoples of the world who fought with Kobane have the same position for Afrin. Afrin is not alone. It’s not a far fetched possibility that states who assume they can protect their interests through the Afrin and Idlib negotiation take on the same character as ISIS. Because Afrin is the hope for the peoples of the world who want democracy, peace and a solution.
For this reason, in the eyes of the international public, Afrin is no place to show a simple approach. On the other hand, Afrin has organized itself quite well for defense. If the Turkish army thinks they can enter Afrin in one week, they are dreaming. The Turkish army should see the reality of the peoples of Turkey before all. The peoples of Turkey never abandoned Serekaniye or Kobane. They have protected the resistance in a very sacrificial manner and played a serious role. The peoples of Turkey had great support to Serekaniye and Kobane against terror. That is why the army that should be defending the peoples of Turkey is being used in line with the interest of the AKP government.
INTERNATIONAL FORCES’ POSITION: “WAIT AND SEE”
But international forces, who should be conscious of the dirty negotiations of the AKP, are now taking the position of “wait and see”. They are calculating which side will be in their interest to take. For that, there are many shy statements made. They are very blatantly prioritizing their interests. The situation in Afrin and Idlib is the Syrian peoples’ struggle to win or lose the Peoples’ Spring. International forces should see that Erdogan is trying to create in Afrin the tragedies in all Syrian provinces, in Kobane, Homs, Hama and in some provinces of Turkey. There is a dirty negotiation. The people of Afrin will resist.
The hope of the peoples of the region is Northern Syria and Afrin. This fact should be known well: The fighters who defend Afrin today have displayed great heroism in Kobane against international terror. They resisted valiantly and proved that terrorism can be defeated. The fighters of Afrin defended Paris, Moscow, New York, Cairo and even Ankara and Istanbul in Kobane.
MASKS FELL DOWN IN SEREKANIYE AND KOBANE
International forces should center on the interests of the people. Whoever objects to this reality will be considered the ones to have killed the hopes of the peoples. Idlib and Afrin will be the places where this is put to the test. Erdogan’s Free Syrian Army (FSA) mask fell down in Serekaniye and ISIS mask in Kobane. Now, with no mask, he is directly involved. The Turkish parliament should be discussing Turkey’s issues, but they are discussing the intervention on Afrin. This has no legitimacy. Like Iran and Russia, forces that have interests in Syria are being forced to give up Afrin in return for Idlib.
It seems highly unlikely that the Turkish state launches an operation on Afrin without approval by the US and Russia. Has Turkey’s invasion of Afrin been allowed?
Forces like the US and Russia also have a huge responsibility. But it makes us think that they haven’t taken a desired stance to date. Turkey may threaten the US and Russia with endangering their interests. So these forces may be acting more cautiously to protect their interests. We believe that interests of both forces would lie with standing with the peoples of the Middle East.
The democracy developing in Northern Syria has given hope to the whole region for the resolution of problems. We will never forget the efforts of the peoples of Turkey for the Northern Syrian revolution. We have never posed a threat over Turkey’s border, that is a manipulation of the AKP government. We are ready to resolve the current issues in the framework of democracy and freedom without war. We are not a system that is closed to dialogue, we don’t reject any side. As ISIS was a terrorist organization, we got rid of them through war. After ending ISIS, we are trying to resolve the issues through democratic methods.
INVESTING IN ERDOGAN WILL THREATEN RUSSIA’S INTERESTS
If there is an attack like the ISIS attack, if our ideas are not respected, we will resist until the end. Especially Russia, the side most likely to hold negotiations, should not allow these dirty games. Turkey is putting the most pressure on Russia. And Russia should take on an approach that is appropriate for the requirements of the time against this pressure. Because investing in Erdogan may serve Russia’s immediate interests, but in the long run it will threaten them. They should abandon the wait and see approach and, without a doubt, should develop the initiative to protect the society, freedom and democracy. Unfortunately they have not displayed the expected stance yet. If the Turkish state attacks, the responsibility of these forces will be more than anybody else.
Erdogan distorts the truth. Any parties that want can come and inspect the border. No threat has developed against our neighbors from our borders. On the contrary, we have protected our neighbors from terrorists.
TURKEY IS TEARING APART THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF SYRIA
Are the forces that will be present in the meeting in Afrin and Idlib settling accounts before the Sochi meeting?
Turkey is trying to prevent some 40% of the peoples of Syria from participating in the Sochi meeting. In truth, it is Turkey who is tearing apart the territorial integrity of Syria. Erdogan sees provinces like Bab, Azaz, Jarablus and Idlib as part of Turkey. He considers himself the owner of those areas. If the Syrian peoples don’t participate in the Sochi meeting, it will be impossible for the meeting to produce solutions. That is why there is a negotiation between regional and global forces around the Sochi meeting. Representatives from Iran, Turkey, the Baath regime and Euphrates Shield are going to be in the meeting. And Russia is gaining prestige over this. Other than these groups, there are no other parties in Sochi.
What result will come out of a meeting to be held with people who don’t represent the will of societies?
There can only be negotiations over Idlib and Afrin. A solution to the Syrian crisis won’t emerge out of Sochi, but an anti-Kurdish alliance may develop between Turkey and Iran. And Russia will play host to it. ISIS has been ended, and all parties say they want a change. They say they are open for dialogue. We also say we are open to dialogue, so why are the issues in Syria not resolved through dialogue? That means there are other plans. They have no intention to find solutions for Syria’s problems, they are watching out for the interests of foreign forces.
Thus there should be a shift in approach, and societal interests should be prioritized. Otherwise society will resist and that fire will burn everyone. All parties should act responsibly in this matter. In Sochi and in similar meetings, if there are attempts to find solutions for some foreign puppets, that won’t convince the peoples of Syria.
No steps can be taken without accounting for the will of the Syrian and Northern Syrian peoples. The Baath regime claims to have liberated the Deir ez-Zor province. They claim to have supposedly saved the city from ISIS. But the people of Deir ez-Zor, Al Buqamal and Mayadeen have crossed into Northern Syrian territory. Over half a million people have crossed into Northern Syria. The regime has liberated empty cities and the concrete. The people are afraid to go there. So, how will the regime represent Deir ez-Zor? The same thing also goes for the people of Aleppo, Homs and Damascus. Similarly, can the groups that call themselves the opposition but are in bed with the Turkish government represent society?
THE “NEW ARMY” IS NOT NEW
The International Coalition statement announced that an army of 30.000 was to be founded to defend the Northern Syrian borders. What should we take from this announcement? Is a new army being founded from scratch?
This is not a new situation. It is not an army. This force was already formed. The borders of Northern Syria are already being defended by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the YPG and YPJ forces. That is not a new thing, we have been defending ourselves for 6 years. We acted together with the US in the fight against ISIS and we have eliminated this terrorist organization. After the defeat of ISIS, our partnership continues over the strategy to bring stability to Syria.
The US and coalition forces have repeatedly announced aid for the SDF, and the aid has been received. The US announcement was probably in this framework. But the Turkish state is manipulating this statement. They are trying to turn it into an excuse for their aggression. So it’s not a new thing. Similar statements have been made by the US countless times in other ways. We have never attacked any state with the aid provided by the US, we ended ISIS terror with it. But the Turkish army came and invaded Bab, Jarablus, Azaz and Idlib. If they can, they will annex these areas like they did in Iskenderun.