‘ISIS may gain foothold if Til Koçer border crossing remains closed’

Spokesperson for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria blamed the international community for keeping the Til Koçer border crossing closed, insisting that jihadist groups including ISIS take advantage of its closure.

The UN Security Council decided on July 9 to keep the Til Koçer (Yarubiyah) border crossing between North-East Syria and Iraq closed, and to keep the Bab al-Hawa (Cilvegöz) border crossing, controlled by the Turkish state and its mercenaries, open for another year.

The Autonomous Administration has repeatedly called for the opening of the Til Koçer border crossing for humanitarian aid. However, the international community has not responded to the calls. After the Semalka border between Rojava and South Kurdistan was closed, the closure of Til Koçer, the only open border crossing, started to affect the people of the region negatively.

After this decision, a smear campaign against the Autonomous Administration has begun, as well as threats by the Turkish state against the areas liberated from ISIS.

The Autonomous Administration Spokesperson Ehmê addressed the issue for ANHA news agency based in Rojava.

“The Autonomous Administration has been carrying out diplomatic work for the opening of the Til Koçer border crossing for a year. Projects have been developed to end the veto of Russia and China. However, as a result of international negotiations, the border crossing remained closed. Numerous countries in the Security Council have made attempts to open this crossing. Still, as a result of the pressures of the Turkish state and Russia, these countries abandoned their attempts,” Ehme said.

“There is currently an embargo against the region. That's why they didn't open the border crossing,” he noted and continued; “There are camps in the region where thousands of refugees stay. There is also the Hol camp where ISIS members and their families reside. The international community should deal with this issue.”

Ehmê pointed out that the Til Koçer border crossing is important for the region. “Medical aid was provided through the Til Koçer border crossing, which is a crucial point in the transition of basic foods.”


“Neighbouring countries are trying to force the Autonomous Administration to compromise. They do not want a democratic, decentralized and diverse Syria to be built. The Autonomous Administration should be supported in this regard,” Ehmê added.


Ehmê said that they continue their diplomatic attempts for the reconsideration of the closure decision. “There are many attempts to neutralize the Autonomous Administration. The attacks of the Turkish state and the embargo of the Syrian government continue. The Foreign Minister of the Syrian Government expressed their satisfaction with the UN decision. We were surprised by this statement. The Autonomous Administration defends the territorial integrity of Syria. But the Til Koçer border crossing is closed, and the Syrian government is satisfied with this. This is hypocrisy.”


Ehme criticised the hypocritical policies of the international community, saying, “The region where the border crossing remains open is under the control of a mercenary group which is on the UN terrorist organization list. This is weird and indicates the existence of an international agreement over the recognition of a terrorist organization and the exclusion of the Autonomous Administration. Russia and the Syrian government claim that the Autonomous Administration is separatist and therefore do not want the border gate to be opened. However, the Autonomous Administration promotes the idea that the Kurdish, Arab, Syriac, Assyrian and Turkmen peoples should live together. It is in favour of the interests of the Syrian peoples.”


Ehme criticized Russia's attitude towards north-eastern Syria; “Russia was the first country to use a veto to keep the border crossing closed. Other states must now determine their own positions. The Autonomous Administration does not make any changes to its policies. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) conduct operations against ISIS to protect the people. From the very beginning, we aimed to eliminate ISIS. For this reason, the Til Koçer border crossing should have remained open. We need international support to combat ISIS.”

Ehme also slammed the US' stance on the issue, saying, “Our allies should not have allowed the Syrian government to block us. But this is how the international community rules the world. They defy the principles they promote on behalf of their own interests.”

“Russia itself is a federal state. But it does not want Syria to be federal. They keep calling for democracy and freedom…We want peace in the region. We will protect the gains. We are working to build a democratic, decentralized and diverse Syria.”

Ehme stressed that they will continue to fight ISIS. “Under the leadership of the SDF, we have eliminated ISIS' territorial domination. We still need to remove the influence of ISIS. There are many ISIS families in the Hol camp. They must go through special training programs so that they can participate in social life. The Autonomous Administration has very limited opportunities in this regard. The ISIS problem cannot be resolved without the support of the international community.”

“The mercenary groups can gain a foothold in the region again. Moreover, the states which intervene in Syria may develop new attacks for their own interests. They even deploy these mercenaries to Libya and Afghanistan for their own interests. They do not only target the Autonomous Administration. Everyone should be careful about this. The Autonomous Administration wants to rebuild the region. It seeks solutions to the economic and infrastructure problems of the region. In this sense, the international community should do its part concerning the refugee problem,” Ehme concluded.