"The Ba'ath regime wants a Kurdish-Arab conflict"

The deputy co-chair of the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria, Emine Osê, comments on the clashes in Manbij and Sheikh Maqsoud and warns that Damascus is trying to provoke a Kurdish-Arab conflict.

Even in the run-up to the Syrian presidential elections, groups linked to the regime in Damascus attempted to use protests in northeastern Syria against fuel price increases or the self-defense obligation for provocations and attacks and to bring about an escalation. The Autonomous Administration immediately responded to the protests, investigated the demands and withdrew regulations such as the fuel price increase or suspended the self-defense obligation. In an interview with ANF, the deputy co-chair of the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria, Emine Osê, comments on the clashes and protests and warns against provocations by the regime and Russia.  

Do you see a connection between the elections in Syria and the escalations in Manbij and other places?

The elections in Syria have no legitimacy. Ten million Syrians are abroad, tens of thousands are refugees and are subjected to inhumane treatment on a daily basis. Parts of the country are occupied. It is wrong to hold elections in such a situation and present them as legitimate. Despite all this, the Baath regime has allowed elections to be held, and it has done so for the sole purpose of extending its rule for seven more years. The Baath regime has also been emboldened by the silence of the international powers. After its "success" in the elections, it has now set its sights on northeastern Syria as its next target. In doing so, it is proceeding in a very ugly way. It wants to provoke a civil war in the region by trying to play the Kurdish and Arab people off against each other. We could see that in Manbij as well.

Actually, we foresaw this. After the election, the regime had to take some practical steps. In its own way, it wanted to show the world that all the crises and the instabilities in the region cannot be resolved until it is back in power. Of course, this is not a situation that can develop without Russia's support. It is also significant that this provocation by cells trained by them began on the eve of the anniversary of the liberation of Manbij.

"It's about warmongering"

You mentioned Russia's support. What role does Russia play?

The commander of the region wants to show success before the end of his term. None of what the Baath regime and Russia want to do here is in the public interest. They want to destabilize the region and restore the pre-revolution status quo. Our people must not get involved in this game.

Does the Autonomous Administration have sufficient possibilities and projects to meet the needs of the people?

As the Autonomous Administration, we are inadequate in some areas. The possibilities we have are not sufficient to meet all the needs of the population. We are also part of this reality. But if we compare ourselves as the Autonomous Administration with the regions that are under regime control, the possibilities we offer the population here are far above those in the regime areas. This applies to security, services, and many other vital sectors. However, compared to other countries that have been living in security, with a functioning economy and social stability for years, the situation is insufficient.

We are still at war, there are still threats directed against our daily security and our region. The war against us continues both at the economic and military levels. Attacks take place at every opportunity and attempts are made to occupy our land. Despite all this, the Autonomous Administration is implementing projects as a democratic alternative to the Baath regime. There are shortcomings both in the area of services and in some legislative issues. However, dealing with them is included in the annual planning of the Autonomous Administration. Each area has a service project and is striving to implement it.

The Autonomous Administration has spent no less than one trillion Syrian liras. At the same time, it is developing new projects to improve people's lives. This is an important point. Our people should not get involved in the games of the regime and Russia. We must think about the people who continue to live under the rule of the terrorist groups in the occupied territories. Of course, our people have desires and people make demands.

International silence

So far, the international powers have been silent. How does this silence affect the actions of the Turkish government and regime?

There were victims in these incidents. People from our nation lost their lives. There have been casualties. It is a very sad situation. My condolences go to the families of those who lost their lives, and my wishes of quick healing to the injured. The regime and Russia want to take advantage of the silence of the international powers. So if our people are not careful, if people do not help each other, they cannot ensure their own safety. This is true for all of northern and eastern Syria.

What is happening cannot be reduced to Manbij. The silence of the international powers after these clashes has been an encouragement for the Turkish state and it has launched an attack on the Medya Defense Zones. These attacks are ongoing.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, there have been constant attempts to create a Kurdish-Arab conflict. Behind this are the mercenary forces, various institutions of international powers and especially the Turkish state. In this sense, all the peoples of the region, especially the Kurdish and Arab people, should be vigilant.

The regime has so far refused to accept its own defeat. Millions of people are abroad, entire regions are occupied, and in these occupied areas, people experience abuses and violations on a daily basis. Where then is the legitimacy of this regime? The Baath regime is trying to make all this forgotten, to create a Kurdish-Arab conflict and thus dismantle security in the self-governed areas. This is not a success, but a crime against the people. They want to destroy the achievements of the people and endanger their security. In the same way, they pave the way for new invasion attacks by the Turkish state.

Of course, we have assumed the duty of providing for the people, building the economy, security and defense. We will fulfill this responsibility together. Our appeal to the people is: unite around our achievements. 15,000 children of this country have given their lives for this. Stand up for your labor and for that of your children. This is a historic responsibility.

So far, with our unity, we have withstood all the attacks and tactics of Russia, the regime, the Turkish state and its mercenaries, and we have defended our achievements. This is more necessary today than ever. We have full confidence in the people.

"The regime is trying to blackmail us"

Shortly before the events in Manbij, there had been clashes in Sheikh Maqsoud. Some people from the Begara tribe were involved here. In 2013/2014, there had been similar problems with this tribe. In your opinion, is this a coincidence?

There is a special situation in Shehba and Sheikh Maqsoud. The regime considers these areas as our weak point and tries to play this card again and again. Instead of stating with regard to Afrin that a city of Syria was occupied and the soil of the population was stolen, it keeps using Shehba and Sheikh Maqsoud as a means of extortion.

The regime and Russia have failed with what they wanted to do in Manbij. They feel disturbed by the situation. They wanted to spread to all areas in northeastern Syria, and even during the clashes they kept sending us messages to that effect. They threatened to come and let planes fly up. But when they failed to bring about the desired crisis in this way, they turned against Sheikh Maqsoud. The regime wanted to revive the disputes between the population of Sheikh Maqsoud and the Begara tribe. It believed it could more easily bring these areas under its control because of their location and start a conflict there.

The regime tried to do there what it had failed to do here. Let me state the following, however: Not all members of the Begara tribe are supporters of the regime. There are a few people who want to escalate the crisis. And they are doing it in the name of the Begara tribe. Both the Begera tribe and our people need to pay attention. The initiative lies with the people and the administration of Sheikh Maqsoud. They will solve this problem as they did in Manbij.