YPG Spokesperson: Turkey wants to use Talal Silo against Zarrab
YPG Spokesperson pointed out that the Turkish state is looking for a second ‘Invasion of Iskenderun’ and said the AKP government is thus looking to prolong its life by both gaining territory from Syria and destroying the democratic life emerging in Efrîn.
ANF spoke with YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mahmud about the joint press statement with Russia, the priorities of the post-ISIS period, the invasion attempt against Efrîn, the relationship with the US and the international coalition and the backstory of the Talal Silo incident.
Highlights from Mahmud’s answers are as follows:
“There is a federal system in Northern Syria. We believe that a federal and united Syria will solve the problems of all ethnic and faith groups in Syria.”
“Right now, together with the US and the international coalition, we are in the process of completely eliminating ISIS in Syria. At the same time, the support Russia will offer to the ongoing struggle against ISIS is important for us.”
“When Turkey was not accepted by the West, they turned to Asia instead. But they weren’t loyal to that relationship either. Their intention to invade Syria has caused the stillbirth of this relationship.”
“The AKP is looking to prolong its life by both gaining territory from Syria and destroying the democratic life emerging in Efrîn.”
“The government in Turkey wants to use Talal Silo as blackmail against the Raza Zarrab case in the US.”
The interview with YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mahmud is as follows:
In your recent joint statement with the Russian general, you announced that the east of Deir ez-Zor has been cleared of ISIS. Can we say that ISIS has completely been eliminated from Syria with this operation?
ISIS can’t be considered an organization that exists on a solely military basis. ISIS emerged as a mindset. They organized in the area with vast resources for over 6 years. They had acquired very advanced weapons. They were waging a dirty war with advanced technique. That is why it can’t be said that ISIS has been eliminated solely through the victory in Deir ez-Zor. On the contrary, ISIS still holds a certain area in Syria, both to the east and west of the Euphrates. ISIS still hasn’t been completely eliminated in Syria. It wouldn’t be appropriate to assume so, and that line of thought would not serve the process either. Because ISIS is still on the field in the military sense. There needs to be a great war against that. The international powers need to see this. The world needs to take a stand against this international terror.
"RUSSIA’S SUPPORT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS IS IMPORTANT"
In the joint statement we held, we announced that ISIS has been eliminated in the area we made a deal with the Russians in the war against terror. But ISIS is still present in Syria, and as long as that is the case we will fight against them. Our strategy of a joint struggle against ISIS together with the US and the international coalition continues. Right now, we are in the process of completely eliminating ISIS in Syria together with the US and the international coalition. At the same time, the support Russia will offer to the ongoing struggle against ISIS is important for us.
"THE RAQQA VICTORY PAVED THE WAY TO DIALOGUE FOR A SOLUTION"
On one hand, there are military victories against ISIS. Raqqa has fallen, and the Deir ez-Zor operation has reached a certain point and is about to be completed. What will the principles be in the post-ISIS period of searching for a solution to the Syrian crisis?
After the liberation of Raqqa, ISIS is now about to be eliminated in the military sense. That is why the international community and we can now talk about a solution to the Syrian crisis through dialogue. Right now, we are in preparation for what can be done in the post-ISIS period. What kind of a Syria will be constructed? Answering this question is important. There is a federal system in Northern Syria. We believe that a federal and united Syria will solve the problems of all ethnic and faith groups in Syria. To create such a solution, we must develop a great fight and alliance against the mindset ISIS has created. ISIS had formed their forces in Syria. The international community must see this fact.
The obstacles on the way to a solution to the Syrian crisis won’t disappear when ISIS is eliminated in the military sense. After ISIS is eliminated in the military sense, they will organize in different ways. Some regional forces already support this, and don’t want a democratic solution to emerge from within Syria. For instance, Turkey and other status quo favoring powers in the region don’t want a solution. They want Syria to return to the old status quo after ISIS is over, they want the revolution that happened here to cease to exist. The whole world must take this fact into consideration. The revolution for democracy and freedom continues. And the solution lies in developing a federal, democratic and united Syria.
"THE AKP HAS BEEN BEHIND THE ATTACKS SINCE DAY ONE"
You pointed out that there are some forces that don’t want a solution. The Turkish state has long been planning to invade the Efrîn area. What is the latest situation there?
Erdoğan and his party who are in power right now in Turkey had claimed to be an alternative for the Middle East in their early years. They believed that all states in the Middle East would fall like dominoes and the system they themselves formed would prevail. The model they wanted to develop was attempted in Egypt and Tunisia. That is why this government was against a “peoples’ spring” from the beginning. They called it the “Arab Spring”. They were against the “peoples’ spring” developed in Rojava and Northern Syria indirectly in the beginning.
For instance, when the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attacked Serêkaniyê, they had the AKP government behind them. Despite that, the peoples of Turkey went to Serêkaniyê to be human shields. Many revolutionaries from Turkey came and joined the Rojava revolution. There was a similar process in Kobanê too. We exposed that terrorist organizations like the Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham behind the attacks in Serêkaniyê. Whereas in Kobanê it was ISIS that attacked. The peoples of Turkey again defended Kobanê as human shields. The then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan said “Kobanê is about to fall” at that time, showing that he was behind the attacks.
"AKP IS IN A FIGHT FOR ITS LIFE"
The AKP government belived they owned Syria. But when the developments turned out different than what they were expecting, when Turkey saw that they can’t defeat the revolution of the “peoples’ spring” in Serêkaniyê and Kobanê, they started to give huge concessions to Russia, Iran and Syria. They sold out terrorist organizations like the Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham, dubbed the FSA, in Aleppo, Homs and Zebedani to enter Jarablus, Bab and Azaz. Right now they want to do the same thing in Idlib, they are giving great concessions to attack Efrîn. They entered the areas they did as an invading force. Turkey’s current position is the invader. The attack against Efrîn is in essence an attack against democracy and against the solution model developed for Syria’s problems. This attack harms the attackers more than anybody else. Turkey is in a state of a lack of democracy right now.
The government in Turkey has a great role in the destruction of Syria. The Turkish army is being used to serve the interests of the government right now. This army was used in the destruction of Sur, Cizre and Nusaybin too. The AKP government is in a fight for its life. And the Turkish army, which is supposed to exist to defend the peoples of Turkey, is only concerned with defending the government in Turkey. They both attack the peoples of Turkey and the democracy developing in the region.
"THEY WANT TO HIDE THEIR DEFEAT THROUGH THE ATTACK ON EFRÎN"
Could Erdoğan make the army attack Efrîn to protect his power? Wouldn’t the outcome of such an attack be harsher?
The AKP government has been busy with diplomacy for a while now. They give great concessions in every meeting, wanting to create a basis to attack Efrîn or Northern Syria in return. They were defeated in the Raqqa process too. They wanted to enter Raqqa as well, but the world did not let that pass. That is why the AKP government right now wants to use all the resources of the peoples of Turkey to develop an attack on Efrîn. They want to include Efrîn in the invasion of Idlib, Bab, Azaz and Jarablus and create another Iskenderun, or Cyprus. They want to hide their defeat in Syria under a façade of heroism, and they aim to do that by grabbing territory from another country and adding that to Turkey’s lands. They think they can camouflage their defeat in the region this way. The AKP government is looking to prolong its life by both gaining territory from Syria and destroying the democratic life emerging in Efrîn.
"TURKEY WASN’T LOYAL TO THE WEST OR TO ASIA"
Will international powers like the US and Russia greenlight an attack on Efrîn?
The true face of the AKP comes more and more into the light every day. Before the developments of the last 6 years in the Middle East came to pass, Turkey was trying to join the European Union. At the time the international community supported Turkey as well. But later Turkey’s relationship with ISIS, Jabhat Al Nusra and Al Qaeda was exposed. These gang groups crossed into the Middle East and Syria through Turkey. And most recently, with the referendum that brought the one-man dictatorship, the world saw the true face of the AKP government. It came to light that all they did to comply with EU criteria had been a farce.
When Turkey was not accepted by the West, they turned to Asia instead. But they weren’t loyal to that relationship either. Their intention to invade Syria has caused the stillbirth of this relationship.
"DEMOCRACY WILL COME TO THE REGION FROM WITHIN SYRIA"
Turkey, Russia and Iran had reached an agreement in Astana to create “no conflict zones”...
The Astana talks have since been voided. According to the agreement, Turkey was supposed to enter Idlib as an “observing force”, but they invaded the region with tanks and artilleries. They used Russia, Iran and Syria. Right now, when you look at Idlib and Azaz you can see that the Turkish state system has been set up there, and the Turkish flag is flown.
These areas are governed by Turkish district governors. What is happening in Idlib goes against the wishes of all powers in the region. But regional status quos, Iran and Turkey, want to hinder the success of the developing democratic system in Northern Syria and reinstate the old status quo. So global powers like the US and Russia must be aware of this fact. Democracy in the region can’t be developed with these people. The greatest experience is happening within Syria. If this experience succeeds, democracy will prevail in the region.
Turkish soldiers are accompanied by Al Nusra in Idlib now. The government in Turkey is like a tight rope walker. They are in relationships with the US, the EU, NATO, Russia and terrorist groups at the same time. There have been many documents proving their relationship with terrorist organizations. The AKP government is using their relationship with gangs as a method of threat and blackmail.
"JOINT FIGHT AGAINST ISIS CONTINUES"
The Turkish state engaged in intense diplomacy to prevent the US providing weapons support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US made conflicting statements on the issue, the White House announced that “support had been cut off”, while the Pentagon issued a statement that “weapons support will continue”. How is the relationship with the US on the field?
Our partnership in the fight against ISIS continues. This relationship will continue until ISIS is eliminated. This is a process about the domestic security of Syria. For instance, there are no more direct battlefronts left with ISIS gangs in Raqqa, Hesekê, Kobanê and many other areas. Today there are only fronts in some desert areas along the Iraqi borders. But ISIS has cells in the region. That is why both the Pentagon and the White House announced that there is weapons support for the SDF to achieve domestic security within Syria. Our joint fight with the US continues on the Iraqi border areas where the battle continues and against hidden ISIS forces.
Former SDF spokesperson Talal Silo is in Turkey now. He has made some statements to the press. What is the backstory in the Talal Silo incident?
Talal Silo had been having problems financially and with his family. His two children are studying in Turkey. The incident appears to be a MİT operation. They created pressure over Talal Silo through his family and forced him to go to Turkey. This was adjusted so it coincided with the start of the Reza Zarrab case in the US. The claims voiced by Talal Silo now are not new. A closer look at Turkish media will reveal that these claims had been voiced before. These are claims the Turkish government has been making for years. What is happening now is this: A text was prepared and Talal Silo is being forced to read it.
"THEY WANT TO USE TALAL SILO AGAINST ZARRAB"
That is why they are talking about the special war the Turkish state is engaged in against the revolution in Northern Syria through Talal Silo this time. They want to put the US in a bind. They want to use Talal Silo as leverage against the Reza Zarrab case where the AKP government’s corruption is exposed step by step. They are thus attempting to show the US that their support for the SDF is not legitimate.
This is also an operation against the US. It has two goals. First, they claim that it is not the SDF or the YPG but the PKK who is in Northern Syria. Second, they want to prevent the weapons support by asking why the PKK is given weapons. The victories achieved against ISIS by the YPG-YPJ and the SDF forces with the US and the international coalition ensures safety for the whole world. The government in Turkey wants to void this success. In this sense, they want to use Talal Silo as blackmail material against the Reza Zarrab case in the US.