SDF Commander: We fought against organized evil
Kurtay Korkmaz, one of the SDF commanders, explains: "We have not only fought against some bearded, brutal-looking guys. We fought against a best-equipped project and a mentality of organized cruelty."
Kurtay Korkmaz, one of the commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), says the destruction of the physical existence of ISIS and its brutal regime is only the first phase of the struggle. He said the fight against the attitude that is behind the ISIS, had just begun.
In addition, Korkmaz emphasized that the high acceptance of the SDF among the population of the Eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor is based on a special procedure: "We have not only been militarily engaged, we have also taken social morality as a basis. We have respected the particularity and have not allowed the cultural structures to be damaged. We have repulsed the attacks on their material and spiritual values. We did not play an authoritarian role like the regime nor tyrannised people like ISIS."
These days we are experiencing the last breaths of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate. For the newspaper ‘Yeni Özgür Politika’, Medya Doz talked to Kurtay Korkmaz, a commander of the SDF at the front line in Deir ez-Zor, about the current developments. Korkmaz has fought against ISIS since the beginning of the Rojava revolution on various fronts.
As is well known, your fight against ISIS is coming to an end. What was the strategy and goal of your seven-year struggle, and in particular the Operation “Cizîrê Storm" in Deir ez-Zor?
For years we have been fighting the murderous mentality of the ISIS. Some states, which so far have loudly shouted tirades against the ISIS terror, are silent now. As if the ISIS terror had been defeated by a ghostly force. We do not expect them to congratulate the Syrian Democratic Forces, but twisting the truth, ignoring it and just dropping it under the table, has no moral value. There is no return for loyalty in politics, but history is reminiscent of everything. May the rulers cover up what they want, the truth cannot be erased. The places of power may be forgetful, but history does not forget. In this respect, the success of SDF lies in its epic history.
If ISIS had not been stopped by the armed and ideological struggle throughout Kurdistan, Shengal and Syria, it would have spread to the whole world. We have not only fought the ISIS in Rojava. We have taken action against them throughout the Middle East and around the world. The ISIS was crushed by just this fight. It was smashed because it attacked us. If ISIS had not come here, it would have had a very good chance of spreading and systematizing. Because the ISIS is not a normal organization, it had its options through dozens of states. We did not just fight a pair of bearded, brutal-looking guys. We fought against a best-equipped project and a mentality of organized cruelty. but we have demonstrated an extraordinary will and won by it. Operation "Cizîrê Storm" was only one stage in our war. So we have been successful in the fight against ISIS with dozens of planned offensives and very different strategies. We have combined strategic intelligence, political awareness and ideological conviction. The main reason for our success is the correctness of our ideology. Our strategic base was justified resistance. It is not possible to succeed against a force like ISIS without tactics, strategy and ideology.
Regarding Deir ez-Zor, I would like to state the following: Deir ez-Zor has a tribal structure, a solid, unyielding social form that does not bow to anyone. Many rulers have tried to control this region, but the population of Deir ez-Zor, with its unyielding tribal structure, has not allowed it. It has bowed to no ruling system.
But how were you accepted, how could the SDF win the population?
In order to win the love of the population, sacrifices must be made. We did not shy away from that. If there is sympathy in the population, it has different reasons. Not only did we engage militarily, we also used social morality as a basis. We have respected the specifics and have not allowed the cultural structures to be damaged. We have repulsed the attacks on their material and spiritual values. On the other hand, we have neither played an authoritarian role as the regime nor tyrannized the people as the ISIS. The population of Deir ez-Zor was impressed by our attitude and supported us.
Thousands of people from Deir ez-Zor came and joined the SDF. In this way, the SDF became the defensive force of the peoples of the region. The most humane task was to give the majority Arab population the initiative to manage themselves and to express themselves in a democratic system. This task was also fulfilled.
What do you feel in the view of the end of the ISIS, what's next?
The destruction of the physical existence of the ISIS and its brutal regime represents only the first phase of the struggle. To take each step in this phase and to be successful in the end naturally makes you happy and proud. The real war, however, is the struggle between right and wrong consciousness. In this war we are still at the beginning. Building democracy and freedom here will not be easy, but great.
What will we do in the future? We have promised our people a legal status and we will continue to work for it without interruption. We will focus on protecting the spiritual and material existence of our people and fulfill our defensive role.