SDF: 'In order to end ISIS, the source that feeds it must be dried up'
SDF Press Officer Ferhad Şami said that the Turkish state provided the greatest support to ISIS mercenaries attacking Hesekê and added that "in order for ISIS to end, first of all, the sources that feed it must be dried up."
Evaluating the ISIS attack on Hesekê and the danger posed by the mercenaries in the region, SDF Press Officer Ferhad Şami said that in order to end ISIS, other forces, beginning with the Turkish state, should be put on trial.
ISIS carried out an attack on the prison where their mercenaries are held in Hesekê's Xiwêran district on Thursday evening. In the ISIS attacks, three civilians and a member of the internal security fell as martyrs. Several ISIS mercenaries were also killed.
Pointing out that the ISIS mercenaries' attack on Hesekê was not an ordinary attack, Şami said that unless the ISIS problem is resolved, there will be a security threat everywhere, including in European countries.
Şami underlined that the attack was carried out on the anniversary of the occupation of Afrin, and added that the aim of ISIS and the Turkish state is to destabilize the North-East Syrian regions.
Ferhad Şami evaluated the attack of ISIS on Hesekê prison, the danger it poses in the region and the silence of international forces to ANF.
This is the first time that ISIS has attempted such a big attack since the defeat in Bahoz. Why do you think ISIS carried out such an attack at this time?
We cannot consider the attack by ISIS mercenaries on Hesekê prison as an ordinary attack. This is a very serious and dangerous situation. Because this is not a local or regional incident, it is a strategic one. ISIS wants to revive itself again. This attack should be considered as an effort by both ISIS and some forces that are working to revive ISIS. Therefore, we approach this situation very seriously and sensitively. We have always expressed this danger. ISIS may continue its attacks in the upcoming period as well. Because some forces consider this attack by ISIS just an ordinary local attack. They assess this just as an attempt to free some mercenaries from prison. But this is an ordinary and non-serious analysis of the facts. Because the aim of ISIS is to rebuild itself. This is a dangerous situation not just for Northern and Eastern Syria, but for the whole of Syria, Iraq and the world.
Is there a chance for ISIS to return to the levels of 2014? What is the responsibility of the international powers in such a situation?
It is not far off for ISIS to take advantage of this situation and return to the levels of 2014. Especially in desert and border regions, which are far from the control of the security forces, this possibility is much greater. And I am referring to both the Syrian border and deserts, and the Iraqi desert regions. International powers are responsible for this situation. Many international states look at the ISIS issues as merely a security issue. Of course, there is the security dimension, but there is also the legal dimension. Unless the ISIS problem is legally resolved, of course, the security aspect will always represent a great danger. This problem will not be resolved unless the forces and states that support the ISIS mercenaries, the Turkish state in primis, are not prosecuted. Therefore, this must be well understood. Behind ISIS are intelligence, military and state power. This needs to be well understood and addressed accordingly.
After the Bahoz operation, some international forces approached ISIS individually. Some states wanted to take back their own nationals among the mercenaries. They said that they will prosecute them in their own country. They thought they would end ISIS this way. But the ISIS file is a much more comprehensive file. No state can solve this on its own. This problem cannot be solved by taking some ISIS families and children to their own countries. Because when ISIS organized massacres, committed crimes, and took over most of Iraq and Syria, it was not an individual organization consisting of a few people. ISIS emerged within the framework of a general organization, in line with a goal and strategy. It was not just Abu Bakr Baghdadi and a few others. Therefore, as long as international states approach ISIS in this way, they increase the danger of ISIS even more. Some states did not see ISIS as a threat to them because they were not affected by the Islamic State in their own country. But today we have seen once again that these prisoners pose a great danger to the whole world.
Did the International Coalition support your forces in this attack?
Of course, coalition forces provide military support from the air. However, this is not enough. First of all, the source of ISIS must be dried up. Where does ISIS get its power and support? Who supports it? This needs to be established and punished.
These mercenaries should have no hope of being released, because they committed crimes. They must be tried in an international court. And this trial must be celebrated in our territory. Because ISIS committed massacres here, they cut off people's heads here. People who were harmed by ISIS still live in these lands. That's why ISIS should be tried here. Justice must be provided for the people who have been harmed by ISIS. However, as long as the ordinary approach of some forces continues, ISIS will always have the opportunity to revive itself. ISIS will continue to revive itself both through the press and on the ground.
If you pay attention, ISIS has been doing big propaganda on social media for two days. They are making such propaganda that it looks like they have taken the whole of Hesekê and the prison is now in their hands. This propaganda will again be a big problem for the European states. Thousands of people will be attracted by this propaganda and will want to join ISIS. There is a high probability of ISIS cells forming in European countries as well. Because the spirit of ISIS is reviving there. For this reason, international states should evaluate the ISIS issue well. We call on them not to consider this problem only as the problem of Northern and Eastern Syria, Syria and Iraq. This is the problem of the whole world. ISIS poses a great danger not only to the region but also to the whole world.
You mentioned the states and forces that support ISIS. Among these states, it is the Turkish state that is its main sponsor. How much does the support of the Turkish state strengthen ISIS?
There are some countries that support ISIS. But the Turkish state is not only giving support, it is running ISIS. This is not propaganda, there are many documents to prove what I have just said. How many years did ISIS live on the border of the Turkish state? The Turkish state opened its doors to them. Oil was exchanged between the Turkish state and ISIS at the Girê Spî gate. ISIS was officially trading with the Turkish state. ISIS orders were in Turkey. Pay attention, even now, the mercenaries and their emirs [chiefs] from Bahoz live in Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê, regions that are occupied by the Turkish state. That's why we say that the Turkish state is actually directing ISIS. This was one of the Turkish state's plans to invade the Northern and Eastern Syria regions.
The timing of the attack is also very significant. It was carried out on the anniversary of the invasion of Afrin. Two months ago, Mihemmed Evdo Ewad, one of the mercenaries’ chiefs, talked about plans for Hesekê prison in his confession. He was also talking about Girê Spi and Serêkaniyê. The propaganda of the Turkish state and ISIS converges on a single point. To destabilize the regions of Northern and Eastern Syria. For this reason, the Turkish state attacks sometimes openly and sometimes through ISIS. All international states already see and know this. After this attack, we will prove with documents that the Turkish state had a share in this.
How do you assess the re-emergence of ISIS especially in Northern and Eastern Syria? Is it regaining strength in other regions as well?
ISIS does not only appear in the Northern and Eastern Syrian regions. In fact, ISIS is much stronger in other regions. ISIS is active in 60 percent of the Syrian deserts. In particular, it is advancing to the deserts of Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Hema, Damascus, Khims, Siwêda and even the deserts of Iraq. 60 percent of the rectangular shaped desert areas of Syria is basically under the control of ISIS. Russia and Damascus cannot control these areas properly. ISIS is carrying out actions and organizing here. In these recent processes, there have been many attacks on these regions. Images of ISIS were released from there. It seems that ISIS is doing great actions here. However, the danger is that these forces have weak control over these areas and ISIS is trying to reach some other areas.
In particular the city of Eresafê, located to the west of Raqqa and under the control of the Damascus government, has been the target of ISIS attacks many times. Two days ago, this region was attacked and Russia intervened with planes. There is a danger that ISIS will take these regions and open a corridor from there and cross into the North-East Syria regions. Unfortunately, these forces work in an uncoordinated way. The governments of Damascus, Russia and even Iraq are not working in a coordinated way. Look, the Hesekê prison attack poses a great danger to Iraq. However, we have not had any strategic work with the Iraqi army until now. Yes, sometimes we coordinate certain things. However, this has never turned into a strategic work. It also depends on the Iraqi state. Iraq does not want to establish a dialogue with our forces. However, when we look at Hesekê prison, we see that many of the mercenaries are actually Iraqi.