Turkmen citizen from Manbij to Turkey: Leave us alone

A Turkmen from Manbij called on the world to take Turkey away from them, to save them from Turkey.

Selahaddin Mustafa, a Syrian Turkmen, is from the Çobanbey (Rai) district of Shehba's Bab district. His son, Botan Turkmen, who was the commander of the Operation to Liberate Manbij, who fell martyr in the fight against ISIS. Immediately after his son's martyrdom, he immigrated, with his family, to Manbij where his relatives lived to free persecution from ISIS.

Living in Manbij for 1.5 years with his family, Selahaddin Mustafa, has witnessed the ISIS-Turkey collaboration and today he reacts to the threats against Manbij issued by Erdogan and to the Turkey-ISIS partnership.

Saladin Mustafa underlined that the Turkish state contributed to the occupation of Manbij by ISIS, and added: “Like before they did not get the ISIS out, today they have their eyes on here. Now we all live together Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens. We all share a bite. Now, he (Erdoğan) wants to bring people out of Damascus to here like they did in Afrin. He thinks he can come and replace the people from Manbij with people coming from where? We are happy here. We live comfortably, we have no need.”

Turkey suddenly is interested in Manbij

Saladin Mustafa addressed those who forced him to emigrate from Bab and now threaten Manbij: "We came from Bab to Manbij because the gangs of ISIS forced us to leave. They destroyed our home, destroyed everything. They put mines and exploded our house. We were left with no house. Winter came, there was no place to stay. That's why we came to Manbij. I had relatives and a house in Manbij. So we came here and immediately after Turkey built bases on our mountains and fields.

We come to Manbij and we live here. Comfortable, we're fine. Because nobody says go away to anyone. Everyone shares power. The Turkish government wants to enter Manbij, intimidates us. ISIS kept this city under occupation for three years. Why did the Turkish government not come to Manbij at that time but wants to come now?’’

My son fell martyr in the liberation of Manbij

Saladin Mustafa is the father of martyr Botan Turkmen. Botan Turkmen, one of the most active commanders in the operation to liberate Manbij, lost his life fighting ISIS.

We asked Saladin Mustafa about his son and he said, "After the end of the operation for Manbij, they went 15 km west of Manbij. Turkey said to them 'stop'. I do not know what happened but yes they stopped. Then ISIS sent an explosion device against them. The vehicle exploded and left 3-4 of them martyrs.

If Turkey hadn’t given any support to ISIS, these gangs would not have achieved anything in Syria. Turkey should take its hands off Syria, we as Syrian nations, will find a solution to our problems.

Turkey brought ISIS fighters with buses and arms with trucks

Saladin Mustafa pointed the finger to the collaboration of Turkey with ISIS: “While holding the control of Bab, the gangs of ISIS all traveled through Turkey. ISIS fighters crossed the border with buses. Turkish men in charge escorted them to Çobanbey and turned back. We saw them. We have friends, we have relatives living near the border. Today they're going shopping in Turkey. There are smugglers. One day you see the smuggling stops. Why? Because that day the ISIS members needed to cross. Once a week was ISIS day. Turkey itself had opened the door, they were free to come and go without any problem. Sometimes 40-45 buses arrived together. I mean, if they had come in small groups you probably would not have spotted them, but how can you not see 40 buses? Or the trucks full of weapons? How can you not see a truck?"

Saladin Mustafa continued: ''They were coming and going from Turkey. After Manbij was finally liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces, Turkey went into action with the Free Syrian army on the side of Çobanbey. Before FSA took Çobanbey, they would come and enter it, and ISIS members would flee. In the evening, however, ISIS members would return. They left all the weapons they had to ISIS. They would not fight, they would leave their ammunition to ISIS. They just pretended to be fighting each other.

It took them three months to get Cobanbey. But it is like that: they enter and they go out. They enter and leave weapons in the evening. So, in fact, there was no fighting against ISIS. But when the Syrian Democratic Forces freed the area, then things changed. They said the SDF are all Kurds, but in fact there are Arab, Turkmen, Circassian, Assyrian people in the SDF.

We live in harmony here

Saladin Mustafa reiterated that: ”We live here like brothers. We're all together. Arabs, Turkmens, Kurds… Here for every three Kurds there are 15 Arabs. Every three Kurdish soldiers, there are 15 Arabic soldiers, Arabs have most work, and we live in harmony. The Assembly is made up of mainly Arabs. There are also Turkmens, Circassians and Armenians. We are just comfortable, leading our life.”

Turkey's hands will go as far as up to Deir ez-Zor if it can. They exploited this place before, they ruled it for 450 years. They’d like to revive that time again. But we do not want Turkey here”.

Call to the world

Saladin Mustafa finally stated that he wanted to speak to the whole world and said: “If there is humanity and democracy in the world, they should take Turkey away from us. They should save us from Turkey. I am sending this message to the whole world, to the United Nations, to everyone. Don’t let Turkey get near us. We have everything here, we live in harmony, we don’t need anything. Do not let Turkey gets its hands on us”.