Moslem: YPG to join the Raqqa operation under the umbrella of SDF

Democratic Unity Party (PYD) Co-chair Saleh Moslem said the YPG will be joining the Raqqa operation under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Democratic Unity Party (SDF) Co-chair Saleh Moslem spoke to the BBC and made important statements on the Raqqa operation.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s comment last week that they “have started preparations on the isolation of Raqqa” was the first official statement that the coordinated operations to end ISIS by US-backed forces in Syria and Iraq may launch soon.

When asked about who the operation will be carried out with, Defense Secretary Carter said: “The local forces we have determined and empowered, who are qualified and motivated, will carry out this operation. The ultimate defeat of ISIS can’t be achieved with a force from outside of Syria, only Syrians we have empowered can do this.”

US Department of Defense Spokesperson Peter Cook announced that the operation will commence in a matter of weeks.

In a statement on October 26, US supreme commander in Iraq Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said, “YPG will be part of the force to isolate Raqqa.” Townsend said: “The only actor that has the power to take part in the short term timeline in Syria is the Syrian Democratic Forces, and the YPG is an important part of that.”

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Defense Minister Fikri Işık made statements last week that Turkey should be in Raqqa and not the YPG. In a statement on October 31, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the Raqqa operation should commence after the Euphrates Shield operation was completed.

PYD Co-chair Saleh Moslem said the YPG was to join the Raqqa operation under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“The democratic administration institutions there made statements, they said they were ready. YPG is in this, and they will be joining,” said Moslem and stated the importance of Raqqa for the YPG as such: “Raqqa is right under our noses. The attacks on Northern Syria always come from Raqqa. It is close to both Cizîr and Kobanê. For us to defend ourselves, ISIS needs to be out of Raqqa. Raqqa is very important to us for security reasons.”


The PYD leader stated that he didn’t believe Turkey would be part of the Raqqa operation and said: “Turkey shouldn’t be close to these regions. AKP’s domestic and foreign policies will disrupt all of the Middle East and this will harm Turkey. The whole world knows that Turkey is the country that supports ISIS and makes them attack.”

Moslem added the following to his words: “If Turkey comes to Raqqa, they will come to support ISIS, not to fight against them. Their wish to enter Mosul is so they can support ISIS there.”


When asked about the Turkish President Erdoğan’s comments of “We will turn to Manbij after we take Al Bab”, Moslem stated that the groups Turkey supported have been in conflict with local forces allied with the SDF and warned that a conflict with SDF may arise if Turkey advances toward Manbij.

PYD Co-chair said the YPG will act within the SDF in the Raqqa operation and the armed forces will retreat to their own territory after the city has been taken back from ISIS.

“There are examples of this in Manbij and Sheddade. Local administrations, local groups deal with security,” said Moslem and underlined that the local administration that will emerge after Raqqa is taken from ISIS will decide whether they will join the Northern Syria Federation or not.

Moslem defined Turkey’s presence in Syria as an “invasion” and said: “Turkey’s tanks and artilleries are in Syria. This is literally an invasion. This is why all countries are against this. It’s not just the Kurds, all Syrians are opposed to this.”