SDF Commander General: We urge all parties to dialogue

"The regime cannot exclude us, not politically, not economically, not militarily. This is not like South Kurdistan. Syria cannot be a state without North and East Syria."

SDF Commander General Mazlum Ebdi said the deadend in Syria needs Öcalan to intervene. Ebdi said they have the strength to take back Afrin but they don’t consider the matter as only about Afrin, that they are urging all parties to dialogue and a solution.

Ebdi said they have the strength to take back Afrin but they don’t consider the matter as only about Afrin, that they are urging all parties to dialogue and a solution.


SDF Commander General Mazlum Ebdi spoke to Yeni Ozgur Politika newspaper and said: “As President Öcalan said, Syria and Turkey are at a deadend.” Ebdi continued: “The Turkish state had a certain strategy when the Syrian conflict started. In our opinion they failed. In fact, even Afrin can’t be considered successful. Turkey wanted to take control of the area through intermediaries in 2011, but they failed. In 2012-12 they attacked us through the Free Syrian Army (FSA). We came out stronger, and kicked the FSA out. In 2013-14 they launched an extensive attack against us through Al Nusra/Al Qaeda from Derik to Afrin. We pushed them all back, and continued to grow. Lastly they wanted to push ISIS on us to take Kobane. With our international allies, we pushed back ISIS and we left Deir ez-Zor. This is a failure for Turkey.”

Ebdi said, “Entering Afrin is not a success for Turkey,” and continued: “Keeping it confined to Afrin is their failure. Like Erdogan said, it would have been a success if they entered from Afrin and left at Derik. It is a great danger for them that they are confined to Afrin.”


Ebdi continued:

“Whenever we want, we could launch an operation and take back Afrin. We have the strength. But we haven’t decided on the matter yet.

It is not just about Afrin for us. Our issue with Turkey is not Afrin. I won’t go into it now, but Erdogan made this decision himself. They were to enter Afrin and continue to take over Shehba, Manbij and even the east of the Euphrates. They couldn’t. I think they now see that that is impossible too.

A large scale operation from Afrin to Derik won’t be allowed by us or the international powers. The matter is deadlocked.”


When asked, “Does Ocalan want to get over this deadlock?” Ebdi said:

“I think Turkey needs President Apo in this matter. They want to solve it with the US, but the outcome of that is clear. For instance, Leader Apo says ‘Only I can solve this issue. I can play a positive role’. He doesn’t mean just Syria, he is also talking about Turkey. We agree with this opinion. If they want to resolve the matter with mediation from the US, I think it will be resolved immediately. We have expressed this, we have stated so. There have been discussions on the matter. Leader Apo talked about Turkey’s sensibilities in the solution to the issues. SDF not using any force against Turkey corresponds to solution efforts for the issue. We consider this to be positive, and we have declared it as such.


The project Leader Apo proposed does not go against our project. We have argued the same thing for years. That is the part that we are happy for. For the last two years, we have had 2 arguments and demands in Syria. Leader Apo said the same things.

We are in favor of the issue being resolved within the territorial integrity of Syria, through dialogue with the central government. Second part is to accept the presence and autonomous structure of the SDF. These are our two basic demands. Leader Apo voiced them both. Both the political structure and the military force needs to be accepted, otherwise there will be massacres.”


Ebdi said Damascus’s mind hasn’t been ready for a solution to date: “They have a policy of reconciliation with the condition to accept the state authority. (...) We didn’t fight with Damascus in the military sense, we haven’t lost to them, how can we make peace? We have a national issue and it needs to be resolved.”

He continued:

“This is the process we are in: The regime cannot exclude us, not politically, not economically, not militarily. If the regime accepts this, their mindset will change. This is not like South Kurdistan. Syria cannot be a state without North and East Syria. It would be a failed state. South Kurdistan wasn’t much of an obstacle for Saddam, he could have done without. Syria is not like that. Syria has zero economy. The true power is in our region. The Syrian state cannot succeed if it is deprived of the resources here.

The regime makes propaganda that the Administration of North and East Syria went to them and asked for help when the US announced their withdrawal. This is not true. The truth is, the regime came to us. They said the US is leaving, and that they don’t want Turkey to come in. They didn’t want the region to be like Afrin. They wanted to come in and come to an agreement. Russia got involved. A dialogue developed but it was on their request. It would be better if the current forces stayed until there is a political solution in Syria, until we reach an agreement with Damascus.”


Ebdi answered questions about Idlib: “Russia and the regime asked for our help, but we didn’t accept. We have conditions. We have no business in Idlib, our issue is Afrin. We will do whatever we need to do for Afrin, but Idlib is not our problem.”


Ebdi said the following on the relationship with Russia:

“Russia favors the regime. They do whatever the regime’s interests require. That is why what happened in Afrin happened this way. They gave up Afrin in return for other areas going to the regime. This damaged our relationship greatly, because it was a big issue. In the withdrawal process we had many talks. They were not sincere there either. Our colleagues went to Moscow to hold meetings. Russia didn’t have an approach for the solution. In the matter of Afrin that is still where they stand. They haven’t changed their old stance. They favor Turkey. They act on the side of Turkey in Shehba and Til Rifat. Due to all these our relationship is not good but in the end, Russia is a power that will have a role in determining the future of Syria. We are aware that there will be no solution in Syria without Russia. So our relationship continues.”

When asked how the relationship with Iran was and whether the US asks for anything of them regarding Iran, Ebdi said:

“The US didn’t have any requests of us regarding Iran. Of course their tension with the US had an effect. Iran has its own wrongdoings. We won’t act according to anyone else’s interests, we do whatever our interests call for. We are a power too, in the end. There is the people here. Iran has this delusion that we would attack them and go to the west of the Euphrates. There were some scenarios. There is no such thing. We have certain territories. We have a legitimate defense line. We won’t attack if we are not attacked.”


On the ISIS members in custody, SDF Commander General Mazlum Ebdi said: “We need cooperation with states and bodies, but it is not enough. (...) we have 12 thousand ISIS members. There are fewer women. We must handle the foreigners with their own states. Some states cooperate, some don’t.”