Muslim warns against a reorganization of ISIS - PART ONE

After the completion of the “Security Reinforcement” operation in Deir ez-Zor, PYD co-chair Salih Muslim warned against a reorganization of ISIS and rejected reports of an Arab-Kurdish conflict.

Between 27 August and 8 September, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out a major operation against Islamic State (ISIS) cells, corruption and drug trafficking in Deir ez-Zor. There were clashes with dead and injured on both sides. In particular, the deposition and arrest of the corrupt commander of the Deir ez-Zor military council, Abu Khawla, who collaborated with the Syrian regime, and several accomplices led to an escalation in fighting. The regional powers, above all Turkey and the Syrian regime, inflamed the conflict and portrayed the fighting as a “Kurdish-Arab conflict”. The Western media readily picked up on this portrayal and spread it.

In an interview with ANF, the co-chair of the Party of Democratic Unity (PYD), Salih Muslim, spoke about the importance of the operation and its process.

Operation against ISIS resurgence

On 27 August, the SDF launched an operation in Deir ez-Zor. The Turkish state and the regime in Damascus tried to portray the ensuing clashes as a war between the SDF and the Arab tribes. What is happening in Deir ez-Zor?

First of all, we need to understand how the “Security Reinforcement” operation came about. There were many complaints about Abu Khawla and some people who worked with him. These reports came from the local population, the leaders of the tribes and from employees of the Military Council. Abu Khawla and his men were members of the Deir ez-Zor Military Council. Of course, the military council is much larger than these few people, but they were the most influential members of the association.

There have been many incidents in the region, including crimes such as assassinations, kidnappings and drug trafficking, which have become widespread. This was due to the weakness and toleration of the military council. It was necessary to put an end to this. ISIS has carried out many attacks in the region. Therefore, the “Security Reinforcement” operation was launched.

The operation had to begin with those people who had received the most complaints. On this basis, they were questioned and found guilty. At the same time, they were removed from all their positions. In addition, their relationships with various people and forces were uncovered, including their contact with regime militias active west of the Euphrates, in particular with Difa al-Watani (also National Defense Forces, or NDF for short).

Criminal networks have become mobile

Furthermore, these people belonged to criminal networks or had contact with them. As was expected, when they were arrested, these networks also mobilized. They all rose at once. As justification for this uprising, they claimed that the SDF had used violence against them. However, the people of the region knew this was not true and did not believe them. These criminal networks gradually began to widen their rebellion. On the third day of the operation, they ferried troops and weapons from regime-controlled areas west of the Euphrates. They occupied some villages on the river bank and tried to incite the population.

The population does not support the mercenary groups

We know the population of Deir ez-Zor very well. We know that they have nothing to do with these criminal activities. We have good relationships with the people there. As a party, we also have relationships with the leadership of the SDF. The people there do not accept these gangs because they are involved in drug trafficking and commit murders. On the second and third days of the operation, it turned out that it was in fact a much larger and more comprehensive plan. Many people were caught in this context and made statements that made the connections even clearer. It turned out that the Turkish state was also involved in this plan.

Attacks had already been planned in advance by Turkey and Damascus

These attacks were discussed, planned and organized under the leadership of the Turkish state.

This also emerges from the four-way conversation in Astana. What was the plan? That was already said openly at the 20th session: the aim was to overthrow the Autonomous Administration and to remove the coalition forces from the region. At the end of the second day of the operation, waves of attacks began in the north. The attacks on Til Temir, Manbij and other regions are related to this. The propaganda that the tribes in Til Temir had rebelled and conquered the villages clearly showed this.

Some audio recordings have emerged in Deir ez-Zor. The Turkish state has apparently assured these groups that it will attack from the north, parallel to the attacks in Deir ez-Zor, from five different points. This is clear from the audio recordings. The Turkish state and the Syrian regime have tried to put people one against each other. However, the people in the region did not believe them and did not support them in any way. These mercenary groups were led by men named Ibrahim al-Hafl and Nawaf al-Bashir. The region is being combed and the results will be announced today or tomorrow.

The Turkish state is waging a propaganda war against the Autonomous Administration

With the start of the offensive in Deir ez-Zor, attacks on Manbij, Til Temir and Ain Issa also began. What is the connection between these attacks?

Since the war for Kobanê, the Turkish state has been waging a permanent propaganda war together with its mercenary groups who call themselves the “opposition” and are actually Turkey’s agents. From the beginning, the Autonomous Administration was viewed as the enemy. The justification that the Turkish state has always put forward was that the Kurds would establish a democratic order in Northern and Eastern Syria and this would also strengthen the Kurds in North Kurdistan. The Turkish state cannot accept that.

Democracy and coexistence of all peoples in northern and eastern Syria

A real democratic structure has been established here. Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and all peoples live together here. And there is a system, a democratic model, that they created together. This model could also be a solution for all of Syria. For this reason, the Turkish state was against this model of a solution from the start because it was afraid of it. Because the peoples who live here are everywhere. They are in Turkey and many other countries. A democratic system that is built here will also have an impact there. And that should be prevented. For this reason, the Turkish state is working around the clock to stop this. Turkey is ready to enter into all possible alliances in order to stop our model from being implemented.

The USA and Europe watch in silence

The Turkish state is blackmailing many countries, including in Europe. Does the US still not know or see what is going on here? Of course they know it, but they don't speak out against the Turkish state. They hide behind the justification that the Turkish state is a member of NATO and, although they know all of its machinations, they remain silent. Europe behaves the same way. On the one hand, the EU allows itself to be blackmailed by the Turkish state. On the other hand, it is only pursuing its own interests.

ISIS spread from Deir ez-Zor

Why Deir ez-Zor?

Deir ez-Zor is of great importance to us. This place used to be the heartland of ISIS. Al-Baghuz was ISIS's stronghold and its last retreat. The final blow was dealt to ISIS in that area. There are still remnants of ISIS in the region. Where did ISIS first develop? It developed in Deir ez-Zor and spread from there. From Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa was occupied and made the capital of ISIS. We will not allow ISIS to develop again. So something has to be done. But we can only do something with the people on the ground, by supporting them and working with their military and civilian self-government structures.

ISIS and other mercenary groups have their focus on Deir ez-Zor

In this sense, Deir ez-Zor is of great importance for the security of the region. Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa and other places must not fall into the hands of ISIS. These groups are currently focused on Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. All mercenary groups and ISIS cells supported by the Turkish state have their origins there. In this sense, Deir ez-Zor is very important for us. The people there are our people. We live together. We are intertwined. While part of the tribe lives here with us, another part cannot live there under the control of ISIS or the Turkish state. They cannot be under the control of the Turkish state. They can't go over to the other side and let these mercenaries attack us. What we are trying to do here is live together.