SDF Commander: We have the power to protect our peoples

Çiya Firat, a commander of the SDF, reported that the fighters were prepared in case the airspace was opened. The Syrian Democratic Forces have the experience and power to defend the region, he stressed.

On Tuesday, a Turkish drone killed three civilians in the northern Syrian city of Qamishlo. Çiya Firat is one of the commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In an interview with ANF, he stated that the Turkish state is specifically targeting civilians.

Why does the Turkish state target civilians?

Attacks by the Turkish state are usually directed against the civilian population. Many of our people were killed in Serêkaniyê, Girê Spî and Afrin as a result of bombardment by Turkish warplanes and tanks. In Til Temir, Zirgan and Ain Issa alone, six civilians were killed in recent months, four of them children. Not to mention the homes destroyed. The Turkish state is the enemy of our people. The Turkish state feels disturbed by our people and wants to take away their defense. This is the main cause of their attacks on our forces.

In Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, the attitude of Russia and the USA became clear. What conclusion have you drawn from these experiences? What kind of strategy will you pursue against possible attacks?

We have learned our lessons from Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê. It is true that we and the international coalition are fighting together against ISIS. We are in daily contact. We work together with them. But we are relying on our own power against the attacks of the Turkish state. If the forces with which we are fighting together against ISIS stop the attacks of the Turkish state and set limits to the threat, that would be a right approach. We believe in our military forces and our commanders. They are brave and willing to sacrifice. That is how they have become known around the world. They have become an example in the war on terror. Our military forces will act in the spirit of self-defense and protect our Kurdish, Arab and Syriac peoples.

What is the status of the self-defense forces in the areas where attacks may take place?

In the eyes of the Turkish state, there is no difference between the people and the SDF. From the areas from which the SDF had to leave, the population also left. They were expelled. Only a few have remained there and are living under severe oppression. Torture and kidnappings take place every day. There is the example of Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê. For this reason, we say that the war of the Turkish state is a war against our people. Our people see this fact and will not leave. They will stand by our forces and play their role. At the same time, the role of the people is not only the armed struggle. Of course, weapons are important and necessary, but the struggle is multidimensional. That is what we expect from our people.

How have your military forces developed technically and militarily in the last two years?

We believe in our forces. They will be able to protect themselves against the Turkish state's technology. We have developed our forces both technically and ideologically. We have a very experienced force.

Turkish state reconnaissance vehicles are operating in the airspace of northeastern Syria. Drones are carrying out targeted killings. Could the U.S. and Russia, which control the airspace, prevent these attacks?

So far, the airspace has not been closed to Turkish aircraft. We don't know if it will be closed. With each attack by Turkey, ISIS becomes more alive and intensifies its attacks. The international forces need to close the airspace to prevent this. Again, we say: if the airspace is not closed, we will fight a defensive war. Our forces will make the Turkish state's technique fail and protect our people.

How do the people live under the attacks of the Turkish state?

Our people have been at war for a long time. Now they know their enemies well. The massacres in Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê are etched in the memory of our people. The people cannot be fooled. That is why the Turkish state has been waging a psychological war for some time. It wants to break the faith of our people but cannot succeed. We have given thousands of martyrs for our people. We are determined to defend our people’s dignity and will not allow them to be made slaves under the hand of the occupiers.