YPG Spokesman: Turkey is attacking SDF with the help of NATO
YPG Spokesman Nuri Mahmoud evaluated the Turkish attacks against Southern Kurdistan, North and East Syria, saying, “The AKP-MHP government has adopted a jihadist strategy and is blackmailing European countries.”
YPG (People’s Defense Units) Spokesman Nuri Mahmoud spoke to ANF about the attacks carried out by the Turkish state against Northern and Eastern Syria. “The Turkish state has taken significant steps under the guarantee of Russia and the US. Turkey can easily attack the autonomous regions even though the US has repeatedly stated that ‘the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are our alliance in the fight against ISIS’. Even though the US, Russia and all countries in the Coalition have declared that they ally with the SDF, we see that the AKP-MHP government is attacking the SDF with the help of NATO.
ANF talked to YPG spokesman Mahmoud about the increasing attacks of the invading Turkish state on many regions of South Kurdistan (Bashur), Shengal and Shehba in Rojava.
Mahmoud stated that the guarantor countries and all international powers have turned a blind eye to Turkey's attacks while they should take a stance by remembering their guarantor role as soon as possible.
After August 15, the attacks of the invading Turkish state increased. How do you assess this situation?
A step was taken under the leadership of the Kurdish people in all parts of Rojava and North-East Syria. Both the people of the region and the Kurdish people played a role in this leadership. This resulted in a democratic project that was novel to the region. The Turkish state, which was founded on chauvinism and racism, has always regarded the identity, existence and culture of other nations, especially the Kurdish nation, as a threat to its own existence. For this reason, Turkey targeted people from Afrin to Shehba, from Til Temir to Ain Issa, and even Shengal, who adopted the Rojava model. This is the mentality of the Turkish state. In recent years, political Islamism, which is far from true Islam, combined with the MHP fascism, and started to pursue policies that are against the interests of the region, the peoples, and even Turkey and international powers. The current Turkish government is not bound by any principle, alliance or law.
Erdogan is trying to establish his dictatorship by allying with Bahçeli. Both use Turkey's state apparatus and opportunities for their purposes. Turkey is in a strategic position for the entire Middle East and Europe in terms of its geographical location. The international community also takes advantage of this position of Turkey because Turkey is a member of Europe, and its army is in NATO. Erdogan and Bahceli also benefit from Turkey's position in the eyes of international public opinion. The governments in the US, Europe, Asian countries and the world favour the interests of the governments. Therefore, they do not care about laws, principles and existing alliances and agreements. The people of America, Europe and Asia have differing views. Furthermore, the people of the Middle East have divergent views. But governments have diverse opinions. Therefore, no genuine decision emerges.
How do you evaluate the silence of the guarantor countries and international powers against attacks?
Governments rely on their own interests rather than existing laws, alliances and the hopes of their people. The government in Turkey also pursues its own interests based on the ideology of political Islam and Turkish racism. For this reason, it acts in a violent way against other nations, cultures and views. The Turkish army receives a lot of support from the European Union and NATO. However, it uses this support against the peoples of the region who want an honourable and free democratic life. The Turkish state is making good use of the balance of power between international powers. There is a crisis within the international community.
The Turkish government considers democracy, which promotes different identities, peoples, cultures, ethnic structures to live together peacefully ,as a danger. The world has unconstrained communication with the region. There is no need to enter the region with money and soldiers. NATO does not need to spend billions of dollars, send thousands of soldiers or advanced technology to the region.
A serious experience has emerged, and this experience has produced the most useful result in the fight against ISIS. The Turkish government pursues policies based on its own interests rather than the interests of the country. In order to achieve this, it seeks to raise a separate army. This is a mercenary army; it became ISIS with the help of NATO. This army supports Jabhat Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood with the help of NATO, and brings people in from Afghanistan. This policy carried out by Turkey is changing the demographics of not only Turkey but also the region. These policies take advantage of the weakness of the current governments in America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. For the Turkish government, human rights, ecological balance, and the coronavirus pandemic are not very important. The important thing for the Turkish government is to maintain its power and to adopt a cruel ruling.
Why are the guarantors silent and by what means is the Turkish state attacking?
The Turkish state has taken significant steps under the guarantee of Russia and the US. Even though the US has repeatedly declared that ‘The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are our alliance in the fight against ISIS’, Turkey is easily attacking this force. Even though the US, Russia and all countries in the International Coalition have shown that they are working in partnership with the SDF, we see that the AKP-MHP government is attacking the SDF with the help of NATO.
The US, Russia, all the countries in the Coalition, even NATO, whose principles are clear, remain silent towards these attacks of Turkey. The AKP-MHP government has adopted a jihadist strategy and is blackmailing European countries. The weak governments in Europe, America and Asia turn a blind eye to Turkish power. They do not implement their main decisions and laws; they do not mobilize their alliances against Turkey.
Turkey has put a NATO army into service of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda against NATO, and the presence of America and Russia in the region brings benefit to the current government. Although Russia and America form an international alliance, Turkey must act according to article 1, article 2 and article 3, which concern their guarantor role in the region. However, we see that Turkey uses Rojava and North-East Syrian airspace and attacks with fighter jets. Turkey utilizes NATO's advanced technology. Moreover, Turkey backs al-Qaeda and ISIS there. Erdogan used to define it as the "Army of Muhammad" for a while. They have nothing to do with the 'Army of Muhammad'. Erdogan is still overtly using these groups currently. Yet, the opportunities given to these groups are those provided by NATO, Europe and America. Erdogan is creating such an army in the name of the Turkish state apparatus. By promoting Islamic slogans, he uses political Islam, which is far from true Islam. Moreover, he organises groups and makes them attack. There is a strange silence against all this. In the same way, there are negative and positive remarks made by the US and Russia with regard to the forces in North and East Syria, such as the SDF, yet no righteous stance has been taken against the injustice of the Turkish state power.
As the YPG, we keep saying to the United States and Russia that ‘the articles determined by the alliance between the SDF and Turkey should be emphasized’. The parties need to discuss the articles including Turkish attacks in the region in sight of the whole world. The US and Russia do not act as the guarantor states and nothing is said about it.
How do the people in the region evaluate the silence of the guarantor states towards Turkey's attacks?
Even if Russia and America behave according to the alliance when they are in the region, we see the helplessness of both countries when we look at the relations of the Turkish state with mercenary groups. Both countries are slowly losing their prestige.
We fought against ISIS with the help of the US-led International Coalition and Russia. We did not just defend our people, as the ISIS attacks in Paris, Berlin, US, Moscow were organized in Raqqa. The SDF, YPG, YPJ and other forces in the region proved that they are fighting against ISIS to serve the world. This military strategy has been repeatedly revealed to the general public. The Turkish president is invading Syrian territory in the presence of the world by claiming ‘my country's security is in danger’ and is attacking the revolutionary achievements in Rojava and North-East Syria. Turkey attacks other nations living in this region and democracy. However, Russia and the US are silent against the attacks on this revolution which the global public endorses. It was a humanitarian struggle, and we see its results as Hol Camp and prisons are full of the most dangerous ISIS members.
Guarantor countries like Russia and the US need to preserve their prestige, they should not give priority to the daily interests of their governments. They need to stick to the image assigned to them. The killing of three women in Kobanê, of our Til Temir commander, as well as the pirate attacks on the Shengal and Alifero road show how disconnected the military approach is. There is an international military approach that includes conflicting opinions. All of this is done in the name of NATO. The Turkish state is doing this on behalf of NATO while these are outside of NATO's principles. The three women killed in Kobanê were civilians, the children killed in Ain Issa were civilians, and those targeted in Zirgan in Til Temir were civilians.
Whose weapons are these? They belong to an army that is a NATO member. Where does the NATO military get the weapons from? NATO's weapons must be used according to NATO principles and civilians must not be targeted. ISIS also targeted civilians to create fear. The current government in Turkey also wanted to do this through groups such as ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra. Turkey wants to destroy the established democratic system by taking advantage of all these opportunities. Since it knows that the main force of this revolution is society, it targets members of this society.
Why and by whom is an embargo imposed on the region, what is the purpose of this?
The lands liberated by the SDF and YPG constitute one-third of Syria. Currently, 40% of the Syrian peoples live under the system that has been established by these forces in these regions. However, we see that the decisions taken by the international community serve the interests of either Turkey or Iran. Bab al-Hawa border crossing was opened, support comes to the Syrian regime from the Mediterranean, but a serious embargo is imposed on our regions. Although 40% of the Syrian people live in these regions, the Til Koçer border crossing has not been opened, which paves the way for a search for other solutions. Now, many people in North and East Syria are doing anything to carry out smuggling.
These smuggling activities may become a trap for the region no matter what side it is made against. There is an attempt to make anyone who gets in touch with them an agent of the MIT (Turkish Intelligence Service) or the Syrian regime. For this reason, the spying activities in these regions are the result of the approach of the international community to this region, where a significant part of the Syrian peoples reside, and which constitutes 35% of Syria's land. If we go over the revolution process, we will see that the forces that defended society the most are the forces that were created there. Journalists, researchers, politicians, strategists and diplomats who came to the region defended society rather than themselves. Even the international forces that came to the region did not suffer the casualties that they had in other places. Even the US did not suffer casualties as it had suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the meantime, every person who wants to live in this region has lived and continues to live safely.
Multilingualism and multiculturalism have emerged in the region. However, there is an effort to destroy these through intelligence activities. Why?
The approaches we have mentioned have led to an embargo. What needs to be done is to use legal remedies to lift the embargo. However, a hostile embargo is imposed on Rojava, North-East Syria. The forces who consider this project as an obstacle, target people, weaken them and try to make them into MIT members and agents.
People are wanted to be corrupted through mafia-like approaches, drugs, prostitution and money. Undoubtedly, our forces are aware of this situation and carry out their struggle. Likewise, the institutions of the Autonomous Administration are making the utmost effort to break the embargo. Currently, if the MIT or other intelligence agencies are carrying out such attacks and activities in the region, it is mainly because they are in trouble.
Which forces are preventing a solution in Syria, and why?
After ISIS, a political solution should have developed in Syria. Despite the negotiations in Geneva, Astana and Sochi etc., no solution has been developed so far. However, in recent years, we have seen that the solution issue in Syria has been slipped out of the hands of the Syrians, and it has passed into the hands of the AKP-MHP government. In the occupied areas, mercenary groups backed by Erdoğan keep telling the international public that ‘We are ready to go to Libya, we are ready to go to Armenia, wherever there is a war’.
In the presence of the whole world, the Ottoman caliphate has been resurrected in those regions. Since the region is under the influence of these forces, no solution is introduced. We see that the Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen, Circassian, Syriac peoples, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi faiths live together comfortably in Rojava and North-East Syria.
We see that there are martyrs from all languages and religions in the cemeteries. So, is it possible to introduce a solution for Syria without the peoples of Syria? The Turkish state and its proxy groups keep Syria away from a solution. The international community must see this reality. However, guarantor states such as Russia and the US pay regard to the views of the Turkish state, the AKP-MHP government. Also, there are discourses that Turkey is in Syria for its so-called "internal security", yet these are not true. Turkey is a very important and strategic state for us. If there is security and democracy in Turkey, we will be a very good neighbour.
How large is the area you are controlling, how much of the Syrian population lives in this area, why are international forces ignoring this?
There is a 700 km long border between Syria and Turkey. The largest part of this border is in our region (500 km) where the SDF, YPG, YPJ and other forces are located, and it is in our interest if Turkey's borders are secure. If Turkey is a democratic state, if it maintains relations with us in a democratic way, the geography of Turkey is as important for us as it is for Europe. However, Turkey prefers to attack, which brings no solution. This does not only affect Rojava and North-East Syria though, as it will also affect the countries that have turned a blind eye to Turkey's policies so far. It will also affect the people living in those countries. Turkey is posing a huge danger not only to Rojava and North-East Syria, but also to the entire Middle East.
This is an international issue, not just a Rojava-North and East Syria issue, because Syria is now a divided country.