YPG Rep in Int’l Coalition Polat Can on American and Rojava Relations

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Polat Can

Mr. Can, What do you think of the ceasefire in Syria?

As this war goes on it grows more intense and there are many different players involved. This war needs to come to some kind of resolution and for this war to come to an end there needs to be a common agreement throughout the whole of the country. There needs to be a nation-wide and a region-wide agreement. As for this ceasefire, a one-week ceasefire, there have been many ceasefires but they haven’t been successfully implemented by different groups or the Syrian government. The ceasefire is broken by the terrorist groups of the Free Syrian Army or the Syrian regime.

What we want as Kurds, since the beginning of this process, is that this Syrian problem will be solved with political dialogue. But many times and in many different ways these terrorist groups and the Syrian regime they attacked us and they fought with us. But we as Kurds wanted to solve this problem in the Syria through the path of peace and dialogue. And unfortunately, like we have seen in past attempts at a ceasefire, either between opposition groups and the regime or those brokered by America and Russia. Whenever Russia and the United States have these various factions – the terrorist Syria groups in Syria, al Qaeda, al Nusra and the regime- meet in order to create a ceasefire, these groups end up attacking us. Either it’s the regime attacking us in Hasaka and Qamishlo or it’s the terrorist groups attacking us near Afrin. Two days ago we as the YPG announced that we would support the ceasefire process. We informed those parties that we would officially support the ceasefire but if any groups attack us – such as groups connected to al Qaeda – unfortunately we will be compelled to respond to defend ourselves.

There was some tension between you and Turkey last week, and this has put the US in a tough position. How is your relations with the Americans?

I want to say this. You cannot compare us as the Syrian Democratic Forces and we as the YPG/YPJ with Turkey. Because over four or five years we have proven ourselves to the world. Because in taking part in our struggle we are proceeding on a moral, ethical and humane basis, in keeping with our conscious, because what we really want is peace and we are on the side of right. In all honestly we are the only serious side taking part in the fighting in Syria and the Middle East against terrorism. Against whom? Against the al Nusra Front and its groups and on the other hand against ISIS and its supporters. And we have proven this. And we have done ISIS great damage in our fight against them. In Kobane, in Gire Spi [Tal Abyad], in Tal Hamis, in Tal Barak, in al-Hol, in Shengal [Sinjar] and most recently in Manbij and these were truly serious blows. In the Middle East, in Syria there is no one doing anything it is only us who is fighting…

Everybody except Turkey acknowledges your effectiveness though?

That’s correct. The world has been saying this. But how can you compare us with Turkey. Because it is Turkey who is engaging in terrorism. They are supporting DAESH. They are supporting al Nusra. They support the terrorism of Ahrar al Sham and all kinds of groups. Turkey is showing this very clearly during its Euphrates Shield operation in Syria. I would like share a few examples for your viewers to understand better. In 2012 different opposition groups were fighting in Homs, Hama and Damascus. For what? To overthrow the regime. And where is the regime? In Damascus. But at the end of 2012 in December Turkey brought these opposition groups to attack us in Serekaniye [Ras al-Ain] and they closed the Ceylanpinar border crossing. We were only able to push them out of Serekaniye over the course of two-years of serious fighting. So what was this about? The house of the president of the Syrian regime is not in Serekaniye. We all saw that Turkey openly and clearly supported terrorist groups during the major offensive on Kobane. In Manbij, we as the SDF fought a great battle against ISIS. We killed over 4,000 terrorists and we have 3,000 of their bodies in our possession. We also many injured many of them. We struck a great blow against them, because Manbij was the third largest city under the control of ISIS, that is after Mosul and Raqqa…

Turkey has repeatedly asked US to stop working with you and the SDF. However, both White House and Pentagon have reiterated their willingness to “continue an effective partnership” What do you think of this situation? What are your expectations from Washington?

We want to say that in such kinds of relationships one cannot entirely tie oneself to just one other party. One is obligated to establish relations with many different parties and actors. Turkey’s decision to go into Syria was, of course, not a decision it took entirely on its own. In fact, Turkey says it went into Syria as a member of NATO. Turkey has occupied Jarabulus which is a part of the land of Rojava Kurdistan and North Syria and they are now there as occupiers. They have initiated a great war against us and I want to ask this: And unfortunately many of these terrorist groups have come. We are there and we see that many of them have come to Jarabulus with American weapons and for us many of Joe Biden’s statements were out of place. Especially when there is a group like the SDF with Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Syriacs, Armenians, Circassians which has proved that it can go all the way until Deir al Zor and expel all of the terrorists from the country. Not only the terrorism of DAESH but the al Nusra Front is also a terrorist group and the regime are also terrorists. The Nour al-Din al-Zanki Brigade, the Sultan Murad Brigade and all of these are terrorist groups. And today how can it be that they support groups which cut off people’s’ heads and which reject the right of democracy and human rights and women’s rights and come to occupy our country and they can be against groups such as ours which fight for these human rights and democracy. Turkey’s entrance into Syria was a blow against the project of the international coalition to destroy DAESH. These attacks are against Kurds, against Rojava Kurdistan and against North Syria and the international coalition. This was also a blow against all of the groups fighting against DEASH and the al Nusra Front.

What needs to be done by Americans then?

Before all else we want all the people of the world, the people of Europe and the people of America, to know that today it is us of all the group who are at the forefront of the fight against the most vicious DEASH groups for the sake of the entire world. It is the YPG and the YPJ and the SDF. There is no one else. It is us who will guarantee the security of Europe and the United States. We are the ones who do not allow the terrorists to easily go from here to Europe and the rest of the world. It is us who have created the border between the terrorist groups and Turkey and it is us who prevent them from going to Turkey and therefore the rest of the world. We won’t allow them to develop and advance from here. After the victory in Kobane by the YPG and YPJ against DAESH the number of terrorists coming from Europe to Syria has decreased significantly. After we liberated Gire Spi the number of terrorists traveling between Raqqa and Europe also dropped a lot. Our aim is to create and real, physical border between DAESH and Turkey. But Turkey with its intervention has occupied a part of Syria and the connection between Turkey and DAESH has not been cut. Now Turkey has reestablished the connection between Turks and terrorist groups in the regions of Jarabulus, Mar’a and al-Bab. They still have relations and we don’t believe that Turkey will wage a serious war against the terrorist groups. We want to say this to the world: Turkey sees these groups as its allies and they enter into agreements and friendly relations with them. And today Turkey has created a path to occupy our lands. For this reason, there have been hundreds of friends and comrades from Europe who have joined our ranks and now they have returned to their countries. They should create movements and lobbies to inform their governments and politicians and fellow citizens about this situation and tell them not to collaborate with Turkey. Politicians, activists, and people who have fought with the YPG and returned to their countries must work so that their own governments support groups fighting against terrorism in good conscious and with a moral foundation and not with states which support terrorism.

Finally, a joint operation towards Raqa or al-Bab is mentioned in the media. What do you want to say on the possible next steps in the fight against ISIS?

Before anything the world needs to understand that we are not anyone’s fighters. We are not some paramilitary group. We are fighting for the rights of our people. We are fighting for the rights of the Kurdish people and the peoples of Syria. We have come to many agreements with the international coalition and we are working together in many arenas, but this does mean that we won’t continue to engage in our own politics or that we have given up our right to speak. And if we are not given these rights within the international coalition our people will not accept this. We cannot say to our people let us go and fight sacrifice so many of young men and women but then not have the right to speak. Our people will not accept this and no one would accept this. We have proven ourselves to the world with the struggle we have waged and therefore from this point forward the world needs to relate to us with respect for our own political will and this fight which we have given. And only then can it be possible to find a common voice with the coalition and fight DAESH on the ground. And we are ready to fight against all the terrorist groups in Syria to defeat them together with Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Syriacs, Armenians and all of the groups of this country. Let us come together and support one another and defeat them to create a stable democracy in Syria. For this the coalition and all groups outside and inside Syria must stand behind each other to build democracy. Finally, the coalition forces and other outside groups must come together with one voice and one position in order to reach our common goals.

Polat Can ile ABD-Rojava İlişkileri ve Türkiye’nin Suriye’deki Operasyonu Üzerine

YPG’nin IŞİD’e karşı koalisyondaki temsilcisi Polat Can, ABD ile olan ilişkiler ve Türkiye’nin Suriye’deki operasyonu ile ilgili önemli değerlendirelerde bulundu.

Mutlu Çiviroğlu

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Sayın Polat Can, birkaç gün önce Amerika ve Rusya’nın girişimleriyle Suriye’de bir ateşkes başladı. YPG’nin uluslararası koalisyondaki sözcüsü olarak bu ateşkesi nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz?

Suriye’deki krizin derinleşmesinde birçok gücün etkisi var. Bunun için ancak uluslararası bir uzlaşma ile Suriye’deki sorun çözülebilir. Birkaç günlük, bir haftalık kısa süreli ateşkesler 2013 yılından beri yapılıyor fakat ne yazık ki hiçbiri bugüne kadar kalıcı olmadı. Bu ateşkesler ya rejim ya muhalifler ya da diğer terörist gruplar tarafından sürekli bozuldu. Biz en başından beri Kürt meselesinin diyalog ve görüşmelerle çözülmesini istedik fakat rejim de bu diğer terörist gruplar da bize defalarca saldırdılar. Muhalifler ve rejim arasında yalandan ateşkesler yapılıyor, ya da Amerika ile Rusya arasında ateşkes için görüşmeler yapılırken, hem rejim hem de terörist gruplar her bir taraftan bize saldırıyorlar. Cezire, Haseke ve Qamişlo rejim, Afrin ve Halep’te muhalifler bize saldırıyorlar. Biz en başından bu son ateşkese destek verdiğimizi ve uyacağımızı açıkladık.

Birkaç hafta önce Türkiye ve sizin de desteklediğiniz YPG-DSG arasında kriz yaşanmıştı. Uzmanlar Amerika’nın, YPG-DSG ile Türkiye arasında zor durumda kaldığını belirtiyor. Amerika ile ilişkileriniz şimdi ne durumda?

YPG, YPJ ve Demokratik Suriye Güçleri (DSG) G Türkiye ile mukayese edilemez. Çünkü dört beş yıldır biz kendimizi dünyaya kanıtlamışız ve gerçekten de barış taraftarıyız. Ortadoğu’da teröre karşı savaşan ciddi bir gücüz ve savaş ahlakına uyuyoruz. Kobani’de, Haseke’de büyük kayıplarımız oldu ve zafere ulaştık. En son Minbic’ta DAIŞ’i bozguna uğrattık. Ortadoğu’da DAIŞ’in belini kıran biziz, başkası değil.

Bütün dünya, Türkiye’yi saymazsak tabi, bunu kabul ediyor zaten…

Türkiye açık bir şekilde terörizmi destekliyor. Sizlere birkaç örnek vermek istiyorum: 2012 yılının sonlarında, farklı farklı muhalif gruplar Şam’da Halep’te savaşıyorlardı ve onlar için asıl mesele rejimi devirmekti. Türkiye bu grupları birleştirdi, Ceylanpınar’daki kapıyı açtı ve gruplar Serêkanîye’ye geçip Kürtlere saldırdı. İki yıl boyunca Kürtlere karşı büyük bir savaş yürüttüler ve biz var gücümüzle direndik. Yine aynı şekilde Kobani’ye de saldırılar oldu ki oradaki terörizmi de Türkiye destekliyordu. Minbic’te, YPG ve DSG Mincbic Askeri Meclisi adı altında birleşerek teröre karşı savaştık. 4 bin terörist öldürdük ve yaklaşık 3 bin cenazeleri bizim elimizde. Burada da DAIŞ’in belini kırdık.

Türkiye açık bir şekilde Amerika’dan YPG’yi desteklemesini bırakmasını istedi. Fakat hem Beyaz Saray, hem de Pentagon YPG’yi överek, sizinle çalışmaya devam edeceklerini açıkladılar. Durum buyken sizin Washington’dan ne gibi beklentileriniz var?

Böylesine zor bir durumda ve krizde, kimseye tamamıyla bağlanamaz, herkes tedbirini almak zorunda. Türkiye birçok tarafın kabulüyle Cerablus’a girdi ve Suriye’deki toprakları işgal etti, bizimle büyük bir savaşa başladı. Biz şunu merak ediyoruz: DSG ve Cerablus Askeri Meclisi’ne karşı savaşan terörist gruplar ne yazık ki Amerika’nın silahlarını kullanıyorlardı ve Amerikan uçakları da gelmişti. John Biden’in açıklaması yerinde bir açıklama değildi. Yani Türkiye’nin müdahalesi, DAIŞ’e karşı savaşan uluslararası koalisyona bir darbeydi. Sadece Kürtlere müdahale değildi bu, DAIŞ’i ve diğer terörist grupları bitirmeye çalışan koalisyona ve Amerika’ya müdahaleydi aynı zamanda.

Bu bahsettiğiniz noktaların düzeltilmesi için neler yapılmalı sizce?


Bütün dünya iyi bilsin ki bugün DAIŞ vahşetine karşı, cephede en önde biz göğüs göğüse savaşıyoruz. Yani YPG, YPJ ve DSG savaşıyor yani, başka kimse yok. Amerika’nın ve Avrupa’nın güvenli olmasını biz burada sağlıyoruz. Bizim sayemizde teröristlerin oraya geçişi engelleniyor. Avrupa ve Amerika’da eylemler düzenlemek isteyen teröristleri biz etkisiz hale getiriyoruz, onların yayılmasını ve eğitim almalarını engelliyoruz. DAIŞ’in Kobani’de yenilmesiyle Amerika ve Avrupa’dan DAIŞ’e katılımlarda ciddi bir düşüş yaşanmaya başlandı. Bizim amacımız Türkiye ile DAIŞ arasına fiziki ve gerçek bir sınır koymaktı. Fakat Türkiye Suriye’ye girdi ve yine DAIŞ ile ilişkileri var. Biz Türkiye’nin DAIŞ ile savaşta ciddi olacağını hiç düşünmüyoruz. Avrupa’dan ve Amerika’dan yüzlerce genç gelip YPG ve YPJ saflarına katıldı. Onlar da ülkelerinin savunucu ve ülke hükümetlerinin yanlış yapıp DAIŞ’i desteklememesi için seslerini yükseltmeliler.

Koalisyon’un desteğiyle Rakka ve Bab’a da bir operasyon söz konusu. Önümüzdeki günler için neler diyeceksiniz?

Herkes bilsin ki biz kimsenin savaşçısı değiliz; biz Kürt halkının hakları için savaşıyoruz. Halkımızın çıkarları ve koalisyonun çıkarları birçok konuda uyuşuyoruz ve beraber hareket ediyoruz. Bizim siyasi ve uluslararası görüşmelerde muhatap alınmamamız kabul edilemez. Bize ciddi bir destek sağlanmazsa ve sadece savaşmamız istenirse bu halkımızın kabul edebileceği bir şey değil. YPG gitsin savaşsın, şehit versin, sonra da YPG’nin oradan çıkması istensin, bu haksızlıktır, biz bunu kabul etmeyiz. Uluslararası koalisyon Kürtlerin çıkarlarına göre siyaset yürütmeli. Koalisyonla iyi bir işbirliği içerisinde Kürdistan’ın batısında ve Suriye’de savaşmaya hazırız. Terörist gruplara karşı, aramızdaki Kürtler, Araplar, Süryaniler, Ermeniler ve diğer azınlıklarla savaşabiliriz. Gerçek demokrasiyi burada inşa edeceğiz.

YPG Spokesman Xelil: We Won’t Retreat from West of Euphrates

10003600_976710419030211_5880418894729706204_oPeople’s Protection Units (YPG) spokesperson Redur Xelil has said the Kurdish force will not retreat from the west of the Euphrates to the east.

Xelil said his words had been misconstrued and that they wouldn’t withdraw at anyone’s request.

Xelil remarked that Turkey’s attack on Jarablus targeted not ISIS but Kurds, underlining that they will not withdraw their forces from west of Euphrates and nobody can subject them to such an imposition.

“Turkey’s Jarablus intervention is a hostile approach. The main target of this operation is the Kurdish people and their gains rather than ISIS. We are in the west of Euphrates and take our place within Syrian Democratic Forces. We are in our own land and we will not leave it as per some request. We will not act in line with the request of Turkey or some other power.

Turkish state cannot shape our position there in accordance with its own interests. Our forces will remain there and there will be no retreat. Nobody has the right to impose YPG’s withdrawal from there and we will never accept such a thing.”

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YPG sözcüsü Rêdûr Xelil, Türkiye’nin Cerablus’a yönelik saldırısını IŞİD’e karşı değil Kürtlere karşı yapıldığını belirtti. Xelil, ‘Fırat’ın batısından çekilmeyeceklerini ve hiç kimsenin kendilerine bu dayatmada bulunamayacağını açıkladı.

Xelil, ‘kimse bize kendi topraklarımızdan geri çekilmemizi isteyemez’ dedi.

“Türkiye’nin Cerablus müdahalesi düşmanca bir tutumdur. Bu operasyonun asıl hedefi IŞİD’ten ziyade Kürt halkı ve kazanımlarıdır. Biz Fırat’ın batısında, Demokratik Suriye Güçleri içinde yer alıyoruz. Orada kendi topraklarımızda bulunuyoruz. Bazılarının isteği doğrultusunda kendi topraklarımızdan çıkmayız. Biz ne Türkiye ne de başka bir gücün isteği doğrultusunda hareket etmeyiz. Türkiye devlet, bizim oradaki pozisyonumuzu kendi çıkarlarına göre şekillendiremez.

Güçlerimiz orada kalacaklardır ve herhangi bir geri çekilme söz konusu olmayacaktır. Hiç kimsenin ‘YPG oradan geri çekilsin’ dayatmasında bulunma hakkı yoktur ve biz bunu kabul etmeyiz.”

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Berdevkê YPG’ê Rêdûr Xelîl dîyar kir ku êrîşa dewleta Tirk ya dijî Cerablusê, ne li dijî DAÎŞ’ê, lê li dijî Kurdan pêk hatiye. Xelîl xuya kir ku wê xwe ji rojavayê Çemê Feratê nedin paş û ti kes jî wê nikaribe tiştekî wisa li ser wan ferz bike.

Xelîl got ku ti kes nikare ji wan re bêje ku xwe ji axa xwe bikşînin.

“Destwerdana dewleta Tirk ya ser Cerablusê helwesteek dijminane ye. Hedefa esas ya vê operasyonê, ne DAÎŞ e, lê gelê Kurd û destkeftîyên wê ne. Em li rojavayê Feratê, di nav Hêzên Sûrîyeya Demokratîk (HSD) de cihê xwe digirin. Em li vir li ser axên xwe ne. Em li ser daxwaza hin kesan nikarin ji axa xwe derkevin. Em ne li gor Tirkîye, ne jî li gor daxwaza welatekî din tevnagerin.

Dewleta Tirk nikare pozîsyona me ya li vir li gor berjewendîyê xwe biguherîne. Hêzên me wê li wir bin û wê ti vekişandin jî çênebe. Ti kes ne xwedî maf e ku bêje ‘YPG’e xwe bikşîne’ û jixwe em jî vê qebûl nakin.”

Final Declaration of the Federal System Assembly in Syria

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The two-day Constituent Assembly meeting held in the town of Rimelan in Girkê Legê regarding the future of Rojava and the Northern Syria region ended yesterday.

The conference witnessed the participation of 200 delegates and 31 representatives for Arab, Kurdish, Armenian, Turkmen, Chechen, Syriac and many other folks from Northern Syria, Rojava, Shahba region, Aleppo-Manbij areas.

The “Rojava and Northern Syria United Democratic System Document Text” that was addressed and discussed yesterday was accepted after a vote. The final declaration of the meeting was read in Arabic by the Rojava-North Syria Democratic Federal System Constituent Assembly co-president Mensur al-Selum. The declaration is as follows:

“To the Syrian, regional, and global public.

In response to the appeal made by the General Coordination of Democratic Self-Administration Areas (Jazira, Kobane and Afrin), all components of the political forces, parties, and social actors in the cantons of Rojava and the areas liberated from terrorist forces held a meeting resulting in a comprehensive political vision for a Syrian resolution and an agreement on the management system for Rojava/Northern Syria. This can serve as a model for the rest of Syria, providing a solution for the Syrian crisis. We, the representatives of these areas, met on 16th and 17th March 2016.

We commemorate with respect the martyrs of our people, who wrote with their blood the heroic resistance that has brought our people to the milestone they are at today.

This aforementioned meeting resulted in the following decisions.

  1. The democratic federal system encapsulates all social components and guarantees that a future Syria will be for all Syrians.
  2. All work will be towards establishing a democratic federal system for Rojava/Northern Syria.
  3. Co-presidents and a 31-person Organizing Council were elected.
  4. The Organizing Council was assigned to prepare a social contract [constitution] and a comprehensive political and legal vision for this system within a period not exceeding six months.
  5. All assembly committees and documents will adhere to UN resolutions on human rights and societal democratic systems. Furthermore, all attendees of the meeting see themselves as part of the new system being constructed and are aware of the deep ties it has with the people of Syria; they predicate their participation on the fraternity of peoples and peace.
  6. Women’s freedom is the essence of the federal democratic system. Women have the right to equal participation and in decision-related responsibilities in relation to female issues. Women will be represented as equals in all spheres of life, including all social and political spheres.
  7. The peoples and communities living in the federal system in Rojava/Northern Syria can develop their political, economic, social, cultural, and democratic relations with whom they see fit, or share their beliefs and culture with the people and communities on a regional and international level, provided that this relationship does not interfere with the objectives and interests of the federal democratic system.
  8. The peoples of regions liberated by the democratic forces from terrorist organizations will have the right to become a part of the federal democratic system of Rojava-Northern Syria, if they so choose.
  9. The goal of the Rojava/Northern Syria democratic federal system on the regional level is to achieve democratic union between all the peoples of the Middle East in the political, economic, cultural and social spheres and transcend national state borders to create a secure, peaceful and fraternal life for all.
  10. The creation of a federal and democratic system shall take place within a sovereign Syria.

To all people in Syria, Kurdistan and Rojava and all groups and social classes.

We are going through a historical phase and critical circumstances. Today, Syria is experiencing the worst tragedy in its history. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, not to mention the immense damage that the infrastructure of Syria has suffered.

In spite of this, a democratic experience has been created and defended in Rojava with the blood of martyrs. Great gains have been achieved in this period. This is a real opportunity to build a federal democratic system. We are sure and confident that this will be a model for a solution to the Syrian crisis.

In the framework of the decisions we have taken, we are calling foremostly on women who represent a new and free life, as well as young people, communities, workers and all other social sectors to join in the construction of a democratic federal system. We are also calling on all progressive humanity and democratic forces to support our efforts.

Long live our people’s determination, their coexistence, and their unity.

Constituent Assembly for the establishment of a Federal Democratic Rojava/Northern Syria.”

 

Head of Afrin Canton Hevi Mustafa on Turkish Attacks

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Afrin is right now under great embargo, and the people have been living under heavy circumstances. Thousand people harbored to Afrin because of the war. They live in Afrin as refugee. The situation of these people are in dangerous, lacking of medicine and lack of milk for kids is a big problem.

We have no capacity to meet these needs. There are no any roof nor tents for the refugee to sleep. We created a communal system, we work together and share all our foods with refugees. So far nobody helps us and the refugees.

Moreover, Turkey has begun bombing Afrin. The people in these towns were only able to survive a three and a half year siege because they were supplied with essentials by us, Afrin Canton administration. Thousands of refugees from surrounding towns are now making their way to Afrin. There is very tragic situation, many women gave birth in nature. This is very tragic what happened to this people.

Turkish bombardment damages not only to people but also damage to the nature especially many olive-trees were eradicated because of Turkish attacks. In our border town Shiye, in border village Qirmila nearly 800 olive trees were uprooted by Turkish soldiers. We took the tree branches to extend our friendship Turkey but Turkish government does not make distinction between people und nature. While we wanted to show our peace intention to Turkish government but right now Turkish government attacks on the Hamame village, some civilians wounded during the attacks. We get into a difficult situation and under this situation we try to treat injured civilians.

Audio file of the message: 

Turkish Artillery Attacks on Jaysh al-Thuwar

Turkish forces attacked Manegh, Maranas, Malikia villages in Azaz countryside which is currently under Jaysh al-Thuwar which is a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) component.

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Jaysh al-Thuwar released a statement saying Turkey attacked the villages they recently liberated from Jabat al-Nusra and Ahrar al–Sham and by doing so Turkey shows its support to these groups.

Jaysh al-Thuwar  also say by this action Turkey shows its hostility towards democratic forces in Syria.

Jaysh al-Thuwar warns that attacking them will strengthen Assad forces as they prevent regime advancement towards north by controlling those areas.

Below is the Jaysh al-Thuwar statement:

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Here is a video by Hawar News Agency showing Turkish artillery attacks:

YPG Genel Komutanı Sipan Hemo ile Suriye Demokratik Ordusu, Amerika’nın Silah Yardımı ve Amnesty Raporu Üzerine

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YPG komutanı Sipan Hemo ile Suriye Demokratik Ordusu, Amerika’nın silah yardımı ve Amnesty raporu vb güncel konular üzerine görüştük

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Mutlu Çiviroğlu @mutludc

Rusya’nın Suriye savaşına dahil olması dengeleri ve aktörleri değiştirdi. Bu biraz hızlı gelişti. Bu değişimler yerde de görülüyor. Öyle ki Hama ve Idlib çevresinde büyük saldırı ve şiddetli savaşlar başladı. Rejim güçleri Rus savaş uçakları tarafından kapsamaya alındı. Halep çevresinde ise IŞİD güçlerinin bu durumdan yaralanıp Özgür Suriye Ordusu ve İslamcı gruplar karşısında ilerlemesi ve alanlarını genişletmesi söz konusu. Topraklarını kaybetmekle karşı karşıya kalan İslamist gruplar moralmen bir çöküş yaşıyor. Kaybettikleri alanları geri alıp almayacakları ise belli değil. Ama kesin ve net olan tek şey Rus müdahalesi sayesinde muhalif güçlerin büyük bir darbeye uğradığı ve IŞİD güçlerinin ilerlediği ve birçok köyü aldığı.

Sizin de bildiğiniz gibi bizim güçlerimiz, son iki ay içerisinde aralarında Ahrar-aş Şam ve Nusra da olmak üzere, bazı radikal gruplar ile çatışma içindeydi. Bu yeni durum dengeleri değiştirdiği için, bize olan saldırıların azalmasına neden oldu. Fakat biz bu durumdan yararlanmayacağız çünkü muhalif güçlerin zemin kaybedip zayıflamasını istemiyoruz.

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Bizim adımıza birçok iddia ortaya atıldı. Birçok kez gazeteciler hangi tarafta olduğumuzu sordu misal. Buna yine ve yeniden açıklık getirmek istiyorum, Suriye devriminin başından bu yana biz hiç bir şekilde taraf tutmadık. Biz hep kendi duruşumuzu sergiledik. Biz bunu üçüncü yol olarak adlandırdık. Ve bu yolu sadece kendi tarafında varlık gösteren bir güç olarak formüle ettik. Bizim kendi çözüm ve projelerimiz var. Bundan ziyade bizim IŞİD güçlerine karşı sürdürdüğümüz savaş Amerika öncülüğündeki koalisyon güçleri ile aramızda ilişki ve işbirliğine yol açtı. Ve tabi ki geçmişte etkili bir işbirliği yaptık onlarla.

Elbette müdahaleler olursa da, Suriye halkı suçlu değil. Bu savaş uluslararası bölge ve güçlerin çıkarları ile yön alır oldu ne yazık ki. Sorumlu olanlar onlar. Hem uluslararası güçler hem de Türkiye, Sudi Arabistan, Katar ve İran gibi ülkeler sorumlu. Onlar Suriyelilerin kanlarını döktüler. Bu kanı durdurmak ve Suriye‘de demokrasinin ilerlemesi için bütün güçlerin bu sorumluluğu üstlenmesi lazım. Bizim kiminle çalıştığımız sorulacak olursa, net bir şekilde koalisyon güçleri ile beraber bir sene boyunca IŞİD’e karşı savaştık diyebilirim. Ve işbirliğimiz gittikçe ilerledi.

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Suriye Demokratik Ordusuna havadan yapılan silah desteği önemli ama sahada stratejik kazanımlar elde etmeye yeterli değil. Biz yine de çok önemsedik tabi. YPG olarak önemli bu bizim için. Bu yardım ve işbirliği bir yıl boyunca yeni bir seviyeye ulaşmamıza neden oldu. Ve bu işbirliğini arttırıp birlikte daha da stratejik işbirliği içinde çalışmak istiyoruz. Aldığımız destek çok büyük değildi fakat yeni bir başlangıç için büyüktü elbet.

Suriye Demokratik Ordusunun yapısı yol verdiği sürece bize öncülük vermelerini umuyoruz. YPG haliyle önemli bir rol oynayacaktır. Biz uzun zamandır IŞİD’e karşı mücadele ediyoruz. Sizin de bildiğiniz gibi Suriye’de bir sürü grup kuruldu. Ve IŞİD tarafından yenilgiye uğradı. Özgür Suriye Ordusu, diğer İslamcı gruplar, hepsi yenildi. Sonuç olarak eğit-donat programları istedikleri gibi gitmedi. Öte Handan YPG başarılı olduğunu kanıtladı. Bilindiği gibi IŞİD’e karşı savaşan başka gruplarda oldu ama başarıları sınırlı kaldı. Suriye’nin zorlu döneminden geçerken biz bazı gruplarla birbirimize destek verip el ele beraber daha büyük olan yeni bir güç kurduk. Bu gücün içinde yer alanların Suriye demokrasisinde önemli bir rol oynaması lazımdı. Bu yeni Suriye Demokratik Ordusu Suriye’nin bütün topluluklarını içinde barındırıyor. Kürtler, Araplar, Süryaniler, Türkmenlerin ve daha niceleri var içinde. Önümüzdeki günlerde buna ilişkin bir basın açıklaması yapılacak zaten. Umuyoruz bu yeni güç yeni bir başlangıç yeni bir aşama olur. Suriye demokrasisine Suriye’ye güveni olan herkesi Suriye Demokratik Ordusuna katılmaya çağırıyoruz. Ancak bu şekilde IŞİD gibi güçlere karşı koyup rahat ve huzurlu bir ülke verebiliriz Suriyelilere.

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Medyada Rakka ve Cerablus hakkında birçok şey yazıldı. Askeri planlarımız var bununla ilgili fakat gizli kalmasından yanayız. YPG genel komutanı olarak size bunları ifşa etmem elbette. Fırsatlar doğrultusunda hareket ediyoruz. Siyasetçiler bir sonraki adamımız/yönümüz hakkında spekülasyonlarda bulunuyorlar lakin biz yerde askeri perspektiften bakıldığında fırsatlarımıza göre hareket ediyoruz. Ne planladığımız,  amacımız belli zaten; IŞİD’i yenilgiye uğratmak. Nerde ne zaman ve nasıl saldırmamız gerektiği tamamen yerdeki koşullara bağlı.

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Uluslararası Af Örgütü’nün raporunu gördük. Raporun içeriği ve yazılış şekli çok düşündürücü. Suriye Demokratik Ordusunu kurduğumuz ve birlikte daha güçlü bir şekilde IŞİD’e karşı savaşmaya karar aldığımız bu günlerde böylesi bir raporun yayımlanması şüphe uyandırıyor. Koalisyon güçlerinin bize ciddi bir destek verdiği bir dönemde açıklandı bu rapor. Tesadüf olduğunu söylemek zor bu durumda.

Biz uluslararası topluluklar ve Amerika’ya bu raporu ciddiye almamalarını söyledik zaten. Çünkü yazılanlar doğru değil. Daha öncede olduğu gibi bağımsız grup veya kişilerin gelip burada olan bitenleri kendi gözleriyle görmeye çağırıyoruz.

Açık olarak 1500 Arap köyünü kurtardığımızı söylememe izin verin. Bu köylerden bazıları IŞİD ile bizim aramızda savaş bölgeleri oldular. Bu köylerde savaş günlerce sürdü ve bu köyler zarar görmedi diyemem. Bahsini geçen bu köylerin sayısı beşi geçmez. 1500 Arap köyü kurtardık ve şuan o köylerde insanlar barış içinde yaşıyor. Eğer raporda yayınlananlar gerçekse o zaman bu 1500 köy niye hala var? Bunun dışında Baas rejiminin Rojava’da Kürt topraklarına yerleştirdiği Araplar da var. Cizre’de yönetim içinde yer alan ve saygı duyulan Araplar da var aynı zamanda. Eğer niyetimiz Arapları sürgün etmek olsaydı, onlardan başlardık. IŞİD’in yenilgiye uğradığına tahammül etmeyenler böylesi raporlar yayımlarlar ancak, çünkü biz IŞİD’i yenilgiye uğratıyoruz. Ve bütün dünya bu terörist grup karşısında elde ettiğimiz etki ve başarıyı görüyor. Rojava bölgesini özgürleştirme girişimlerimizle de kendimizi kanıtladık.

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YPG’nin % 30’u Araplardan oluşmakta olduğuna da dikkat çekmek istiyorum. Raporun içeriği doğru ise, bu bahsi geçen Araplarında bu söz konusu zulümlere maruz kalmış olması gerekmiyor mu? Bu söylentiler doğru olsaydı bu kişiler hala bizimle Cizre ve Kobani’de omuz omuza mücadele edebilir miydi? Biz bu tür raporların sadece bizi karalamak için yayımlandığını düşünüyoruz. Bu tür raporların arkasında Suriye Ulusal Koalisyonu ve onların arkasındaki güçlerin olduğunu düşünüyoruz. Çünkü Til Abyad’ı özgürleştirmemizi hala hazmetmiş değiller. Bu yüzden böylesi söylentileri yayıyorlar. Ama biz her şekilde tüm karalamalara rağmen Suriye’deki demokrasi mücadelemize devam edeceğiz. Ve her hesaba karşı açığız. İnsan haklarına saygı duyuyoruz. İsteyen bütün bağımsız kişi ve gruplar gelip araştırma yapabilirler burada. Biz 1500 Arap köyü özgürleştirdik, bu raporda bize teşekkür edilmeliydi. Biz sürü insanın hayatını kurtardık. Biz Şengali ve bir sürü Ezidi kadınlarını kurtardık. Bu raporun amacı başka. Dediğim gibi bizim güçlerimiz burada, herkes gelip araştırabilir ve buradaki Arap ve Türkmenlerlede görüşebilirler.

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Söyleşiyi Türkçe’ye çeviren Fatoş Koyuncuer’e ( https://twitter.com/fkoyuncuer ) teşekkürler

YPG General Commander Hemo on Syrian Democratic Force, US Weapons & Amnesty Report

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Mutlu Civiroglu @mutludc

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In an exclusive interview, Sipan Hemo, General Commander of the YPG comments on variety of issues. Below are the large summary of his remarks:

After the Russian intervention the balance of power has changed, actors have changed. This happened a bit quickly. The change is also reflected on the ground. Large assaults and fierce battles are now taking place around Hama and Idlib. Regime forces are being air covered by Russian warplanes. And around Aleppo, ISIS is taking the advantage and making territorial progress against so called moderate Islamist factions or FSA brigades. So these Islamist forces are now face to face with a breakdown in terms of morale, as they are losing territory. It is not clear whether they can recover or completely be defeated. It is clear though that opposition forces have now unfortunately received a huge blow by this Russian intervention and ISIS’s taking advantage of it around Aleppo. ISIS is capturing more villages as I speak to you in those areas.

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Our units, as you know, have actually been, for the last two months, in conflict with some Islamist factions including Ahrar-ash Sham and Jabhat al Nusra. But the new situation has led to a declination of these forces that have been attacking us. However, we are not willing to take advantage of this situation because we do not wish to see the opposition forces get weaker or lose more ground.

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In fact, there have been claims made in our name. Many times, journalists ask what side we are on. I want to make this clear that from the very start of the Syrian revolution we didn’t want to take sides with anyone. We have a stance of our own. We name this as the third road. We formulated this idea as being on our own side. We have our own solutions and projects to propose. Secondly, our war against ISIS bought about a new situation. It has enabled relations and cooperation with the US-led coalition. And for the last past we are effectively cooperating with the Coalition.

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When it comes to interventions, I can tell that people of Syria is not to be blamed. Unfortunately the war going on in Syria is about the international and regional powers’ interests. They are responsible. Both global powers and regional states like Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and Iran are responsible. They shed Syrian blood. So in response to this question I say, to stop the bloodshed and for the advancement of democracy in Syria, all powers should share responsibility. When asked whom we work with, I say it clearly, we have been fighting ISIS officially in cooperation with the coalition for a year. And our work together has made even more progress.

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The number of weapons airdropped to SDF was a limited. It was not an amount that can make a big strategic differences on the ground. But we see this as very important. It is important to us as YPG. Because with this new support, the cooperation we have had for a year has reached a new level. And we hope to increase our work together even more, we hope to work strategically. So what we received was not big. But it is big for a new start.

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As far as the structure of the SFD concerned, we hope that YPG spearhead that assault. YPG has a significant role to play. It is a long time that we have been fighting ISIS. In Syria, as you know, many factions have been formed. And they have been defeated in the face of ISIS. FSA, some other Islamist groups, etc. have been defeated. So at the end, the train & equip program too didn’t work. But on the other hand YPG has proven to be successful. Yes there were other groups fighting ISIS but with little success. So at a time when Syria was passing through most turbulent times, we got closer to some groups to form a new force, a bigger one, one that can serve all Syrians that can play a role for democracy in Syria. So this new force, Syrian Democratic Forces include all communities of Syria. It includes Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Turkomens and… in the coming days there will be a declaration in front of the press. We hope this becomes a new start, a new step. At the same time we call upon everyone who believes in democracy for Syria, who believes in Syrian nation, to join SDF for the sake of democracy and to stand against and fight extremist forces like ISIS and give a calm country back to Syrians.

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The media and journalists write many things about Raqqa and Jarablus. We have military plans, and these plans are confidential. As the general commander of YPG, I can’t disclose them to you. On the grounds, when opportunities arise, we act accordingly. Politicians may speculate about where next we should go, but from military perspective, we on the ground act according to chances we have. So what we plan, we have revealed before, we will fight ISIS. Where the attack and when to launch these attacks depend on the circumstances on the ground…

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We saw the report of the Amnesty International. I can tell you that the timing and wording of this report is a bit suspicious. At a time when we are forming a new alliance with Syrian pro-democracy forces, and getting ready to wage a big war against ISIS this report is released. Report comes right after the coalition forces are giving us a significant aid. Hard to think it is all a matter of coincidence.

We call on the international community and the United States as well not to take this report serious. Because this is not what is happening on the ground. But again we are officially calling on independent bodies to come and see what is going on the ground.

Now, let me be clear; we have liberated some 1500 Arab villages. Some of this villages became war zones between us and ISIS. Battles took days in some villages. I am not saying there has been no harm to those villages. But they are not more than 4 or 5 villages. We have 1500 Arab villages liberated and people in them live in peace now. If it was true, why are these 1500 villages still standing? Apart from that, there are Arabs who were brought to Rojava by the Baathist regime and settled throughout the Kurds’ lands. These Arabs too in Jazira are leading respected lives. If we had an intention of driving Arabs away, we would have driven those Arabs first. I think whoever is discontent with ISIS defeats has some share in this report because we have success against ISIS. And all the world sees our effectiveness and success over this terrorist group. We have proved in practice, in liberating Rojava regions too.

One more point, 30% of YPG made up of Arabs. If allegation in the report were true did these Arabs with us committed those atrocities too? If such things were true, would they fight alongside us in Jazira and Kobane? We believe such reports want to harm our image. In our opinion, Syrian National Coalition and forces behind it has a lot to do with this. Because, at the start, for example, they couldn’t digest our liberation of Tal Abyad. So they have been spreading such rumors on purpose. But we will continue our struggle for democracy in Syria in the face of all accusations, off all such things they want to square us with. And we are open to accountability. We are respectful to human rights. Any independent body can come and investigate. We are liberating 1500 Arab villages, this report should have thanked us. We have liberated so many people. We liberated Shengal [Sinjar] and many Yezidi women. There are other interests in this report. Our units are here, anyone can come and investigate and talk to Arabs and Turkomens as well.

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Translated from Kurdish into English by Ê Din

General Commander of YPG Hemo: What is Happening in Syria is Like a Third World War

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People’s Defense Units, known by YPG too, established a military force in the last four years, where the number of its fighters reached to 50,000. The nucleus formation began in the Jazita region with the end of 2011, where it was able to achieve victories against “Islamic State” as well as its clashes with the regime forces, Jabhat al- Nusra (al- Qaeda in Levant) and Islamist factions in successive periods. Its military formations have distributed in three main region where the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is combined with People’s Defense Units (YPG) within the Democratic Society System, declared the establishment of 3 cantons: Jazira, Efrin and Kobani in the late January 2014.

YPG has gained world-wide fame during IS attack on Kobani and seizing more than 356 towns, villages and farms that guided to the military alliance between YPG and US-led coalition. SOHR could interview the general commander of YPG Sipan Hemo, where the main points on the Kurdish and Syrian arena in general.

First, how do identify YPG?

The best definition of it is its name People’s Defense Units, its fundamental pillar is the young Syrian Kurdish men who are militarily disciplined, while its mission is to protect the people in Rojava in all its constituents under these deadly mess in the cantons of Rojava. Rojava is an expression for the regions inhabited mostly by Kurdish people in Syria.

Is it faction from the guerilla forces – the military wing of PKK, and does it fight on Turkish territories with the PKK?

YPG is a military force belongs to the Democratic Self- Management in Rojava, and it is fighting in fierce battles to protect its regions, so YPG has no interest to open a front with Turkey expanding to hundreds of kilo meters, this is a military suicide, and what is said on the contrary of this is meaningless and does not merit a response.

What is your response to the accusations of recruiting children?

We have issued a lot of statement in response to these allegations but it seems that some people insist on repeating this just to defame the good reputation gained by YPG, we all know who recruit children as fighters and suicide bombers by the name of Jihad.

What is the relationship between the Self- Defense Forces, which was announced some time ago, and YPG? Is it an attempt to increase YPG personnel obligatorily? Is it a permanent or temporary step?

The Self- Defense is a step to organize a permanent protection, where the society in all its constituents protects its self, and to that time YPG stays, the most experienced in defending our areas. For this reason, the Self- Defense is a goal we seek to reach to, and its first step was YPG.

Now, let talk about the hottest event, what is the story behind the last clashes in al- Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo?

To answer this question, we have to see the whole picture, provocations have started by attacking our areas in the villages of Derbalout and Diwan as well as kidnapping civilians and banditry; the last one was the attempt of arm-twisting by their attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud believing that it is the weakest link because it is far from the center of gravity Efrin and due to the difficulties of ensuring logistic support, as the neighborhood besieged for more than a week and the humanitarian situation there is so bad specially because the neighborhood is inhabited by more than 250000 civilians from all society constituents.

We also draw attention to the point that the national members in the opposition were disturbed about this attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud, I, in turn, wondered and would you like you to wonder like me, who benefit from this attack? And who benefit from opening a front against the Kurds? What is the advantages?

Simply, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Soltan Morad Brigade and Ahrar al- Sham Movement are agents for another force in fighting Kurds, and this force or the third party gave them the orders to open this front.

What is the prospect of the battle in Aleppo, is it a defensive or offensive measure?

From our side, the battle is defensive; we respond to the sources of fire and protect the outskirt of the neighborhood. But if the same situation continue surely we are going take more stringent measures, and we are going to change the battle into the offensive position, I do not say that we are going to control more areas but I assure that we are going to hurt them and targeting their held areas.

Do you think that Ahrar al- Sham, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Zinki and other factions may alley themselves to attack Efrin?

Jabhat al- Nusra believe in Bay’ah (in Islamic terminology, is an oath of allegiance to a leader) and does not believe in alliances simply because it does not believe in partnership, it endeavors to control all the factions exist in its-held areas whether by force or enticement by lining the pockets. In addition, it is practically controls Nour al- Din Zinki Movement, part of al- Shamiyyah Front like al- Sham Legion and even with Soqor al- Jabal battalions supported by US. However, anyone refuses to join Jabhat al- Nusra is going to be assassinated as what happened to Hazem Movement, the Syrian revolutionaries Front and the Division Jabhat al- Nusra is unveiling the reality of its method that is assassination or control, and after that it will mobilize against Efrin. Here, I want to add something, it saddened us that are some in the Free Syrian Army who do not differ from Jabhat al- Nusra in their actions.

Is the truce in Kefrayya and al- Fu’ah in the countryside of Idlib will have negative effect on Efrin particularly on Atmah and Jandires front?

We do not count very much on this agreement as it is a periodical and tactical one; we hope to be a success to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of civilians, women and children on both sides. However, as realistic reading, we do not expect it to be a success especially after many breaches occurred in the past 2 days. Concerning Jabhat al- Nusra, we are enemies and what made the situation getting worse is the declarations issued by it several times that when they finish fighting in al- Fu’ah they are going to attack Efrin. Regardless al- Zabadani – al- Fu’ah agreement, the war between us has been declared for a time sometimes directly and sometime indirectly.

How do you evaluate the current the situation in al- Hasakah, and what is your goal in the area?

From the military aspect, the situation from al- Hasakah to Kobani is a defensive one. So, after expelling Daesh from al- Hasakah, Kobani and Tal Abyad our units are deployed defensively to repel any possible attack carried by IS militants.

We view al- Hasakah as a nucleus of the new democratic Syria. For this reason, we are working on establishing joint councils includes Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, and on increasing the communication among all constituents. So, the success of our project in al- Hasakah is the motivation to fine similar solution that could be applied on the whole Syria where Syria will be free and democratic for all people.

What about the ongoing military actions in the countryside of Kobani?

The military operation in the countryside of Kobani is under the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat that includes YPG and some factions of the Free Army, so this operation is going to continue until we reach al- Raqqa and expel Daesh from it. YPG is committed to providing all kinds of support to the factions of the Free Army affiliated to the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat in order to defeat Daesh and retake al- Raqqa.

Were you going to achieve these glory victories in Kobani without US-led coalition support?

To be realistic, we cannot deny the role offered by US-led coalition in Kobani battle but frankly speaking, I confirm that the legendary resistance and courage of our fighters as well as their ability to scarify their blood were behind these victories. So, US-led coalition had an important role but it is not the most important one.

Under these victories, there are some parties accuse you of seeking to secede from Syria in order to establish a Kurdish entity.

These are false accusations; the Turkish government underlies them where it tries to portray any Kurdish strife as if it is a secessionist movement. Rather, those who repeat these accusations should communicate with us and see our project, then they will discover that our main project for Syria is establishing a pluralist parliamentary democratic system, and that it is Syrian project par excellence for all the constituents of Syrian people. It is the real guarantee for the unity of Syria, so stop repeating Erdogan speech like parrots. I would like also to ask them, is the stay of Daesh in Jarablus and the countryside of Aleppo is a guarantee for the unity of Syria?

What is your response about that YPG displaces the Arabs from their regions?

Frankly speaking, we got bored of these blatant lies and falsehoods, we issued a formal statement about that, as well as many human rights organizations have refuted these allegations. In war, it is very normal that the civilians will leave the clashing areas towards safer places, and that what happened in all the clashing areas in Syria from Horan to Qamishlo, but those who have been disturbed by our victories and tolerance and humanity turned to confuse what we have achieved. In addition, we have repeatedly launched appeals for the citizens to return to their homes, and allow me to reiterate the call from your rostrum to all citizens on order to come back to their homes.

Too much talk about your relation with the regime especially after al- Hasakah clashes, how do you explain this relation if any?  

“These accusations are the same of accusations of seeking to secede, so those who repeat such accusations have closed their minds on two ways, whether to be with me or with the regime. I said to them that we are the third line. Our revolution against injustice and tyranny has its own special way that is nor similar to anything. We are convinced of the impossibility of the military solution for the Syria crisis but it should be a cultural, intellectual and political one. Therefore, we depend on ensuring protection to the citizen who will build new democratic Syria; the peaceful Syria. We are friends of people and friends of all those who want democracy and equality.

Earlier, you held a truce with Jabhat al- Nusra and other Islamist factions, if there is any mediation are you going to hold a truce with “Islamic State”?

Our conviction is that Daesh is a force of darkness; it bears no relation to Islam and the humanity. It is a criminal force established to destroy all what is human. In my opinion, there is no big difference between Jabhat al- Nusra and Daesh but the war with al- Nusra is a little bit complicated because there are many Syrians in its ranks and because there are some parties attempting to burnish its image on media. As for the truce, there was no truce between only Jabhat al- Nusra and us but it always was with several factions and Jabhat al- Nusra was signing with them on the truce.

Lastly, what is your vision for the realistic solution of Syria crisis?

Unfortunately, what is happening in Syria, we can call it clashes of titans; it is more like a third world war, where the major powers are fighting to divide the zones of influence in the world.

The solution is not in the hand of Syrian now. It is in the hands of the contesting powers. We see it a war of change of maps, divisions, agreements and mentalities that are hundreds years old. Syria is also a conflict center and the solution of disputes will be on its land. Unfortunately, our point of view is that the war may take dozens of years, and all what the Syrian people can do is having the will and the attempt to achieve a joint project that protects them, reduce the losses and help them to promote strongly at the end of war.

“The war will not stop in Syria but it will extend to all the Middle East and my extend more than that, and then will see a reverse migration from all countries towards Syria which will be the safest country.

Source: SOHR

YPG General Commander Hemo: Turkey Wants to Establish a Buffer Zone to Prevent Our Advance

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YPG has attracted worldwide attention after liberating Tal Abyad from ISIS. Most recently you announced the liberation of Sarrin and Hasaka. Can you update us on the battle-field please?

Sipan Hemo: Our long-standing anti-ISIS campaign has spread to larger geography. After Tal Abyad we liberated Ain Issa and Sarrin. Our forces also fought off ISIS offensive in Haseke and established control over the area. YPG is currently establishing positions in Mount Abulaziz well as the recently liberated cities and towns to prevent and meet new ISIS offensives.
There are claims that YPG fought alongside the Syrian regime forces in Hasaka, was there such a cooperation?
Sipan Hemo:
These claims have no basis in reality; they are patently false. To start with, Assad regime has no power to protect Hasaka from ISIS. Salihiya, Aziziya and similar neighborhoods used to be under regime control. ISIS attacked and captured these areas from regime. I can clearly say that the regime did not contribute to liberation of these neighborhoods from ISIS. In fact in multiple fights between Asayish (local Kurdish police force) and regime, many regime soldiers and officers died.

There are speculations that ISIS launched fresh attacks on Kobane and Tal Abyad to relieve pressure on Raqqa, which could be targeted by YPG. Any thoughts on that?


Sipan Hemo: As we have said time and again ISIS is a big danger for Kurdish people as well as all other people in the region. These terrorist are attacking not just the Kurds, but the humanity. We fight ISIS as a matter of principle, as a service to humanity. Although our fight against ISIS has taken place in Kurdistan we are ready to aid fight against these terrorists whenever and wherever we are needed and welcomed. Raqqa is predominantly an Arabic city. Arabs should take lead in the fight against ISIS tyranny in Raqqa; we are ready to extend a helping hand to Arabs. We advocate for the fellowship of all ethnicities and religions in Raqqa.

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After Suruc bombing that killed 31 civilians, Turkey proclaimed it has started operations against ISIS. What are your thoughts on Turkish position?


Sipan Hemo: We do not wish to interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey. However, we are criticizing Turkey for her hostility towards the Rojava Revolution. We hoped that instead of hostility Turkey would be friends with Kurdish people and we extended our friendship to turkey at every opportunity. However Turkey has displayed animosity towards Rojava during the last four years. Most recently they started using Turcoman as a tool to prevent us from uniting our three cantons. Unfortunately international community is somewhat turning a blind eye to this Turkish aggression. Turkey claimed she will start operations against ISIS, in reality it does not fight ISIS. Jarablus city which is under ISIS control on the Turkish border is within our eye-sight from Kobane; we have not seen any Turkish action against ISIS in Jarablus, just the opposite. Under the pretense of attacking ISIS Turkey attacked our forces in Zormaxara twice. They also attacked our forces in Tl Abyad. Turkey only goal in this conflict is to weaken our forces.
But Turkey is rejecting these claims?

Sipan Hemo: Free Syrian Army confirmed Turkish attacks to press and we see everything from Kobane. Turkey of course will deny her aggression. Just look at the Turkish media, there is not a single picture of Turkish attack on ISIS. You can see hundreds of photograph of Turkish attacks on Kurdish people in Turkish press. Turkey is doing the same things in North [Turkey] South [Iraqi] and West [Syrian] Kurdistan. International community backed Turkey in the fight against ISIS, but Turkey uses this as a smoke-screen to attack Kurds; unfortunately with no reaction from international community.

You said Turkey wants to use Turcomans in areas around Jarablus and Azaz. There is talk of creating a safe zone. What exactly is this safe zone and what can you tell us about Turcoman in Syria.

Sipan Hemo: Turcoman make up about 1.5% of Syria’s population. These Turcoman live all over the Syria, from Latakia all the way to Idlib. There are only a few Turcoman villages in Azaz, no more than seven in all the areas of Azaz and Jarablus combined. Almost none of those are Turcoman only villages, many also have Kurdish residents. Turkey’s goal is not to protect the Turcoman but to become a hindrance to Kurdish gains in Rojava. There are a lot more Turcoman in Layakia and Idlib. Why is Turkey not establishing a safe haven for Turcoman there? They just want to use Turcoman as an excuse to establish a buffer zone around Jarablus and prevent unification of Kobane and Afrin cantons.

You said the international community is remaining silent vis a vis Turkish aggression. However there are reactions in the US. Obama administration is being criticized for turning a blind eye to turkey. State department spokesperson Kirby said that with the availability of the Incirlic base YPG could be supported more robustly. There is a lot of talk regarding the role of YPG in Washington’s Syrian strategy.


Sipan Hemo: True! We have been collaborating with the Unites States in the war against terror with great success for a while now. We thank once again to the Unites States for the close air support. We hope to expand upon this anti-Jihadi terrorist collaboration and establish even closer relationships. All terrorist organizations are a menace to the people of Middle East and must be neutralized. We wish cooperate with all people/nations and establish bonds of fraternity and friendship among people. We should not let all the gains against jihadi-terrorists to slip away. I wish to emphasize here that one country in the middle-east plays an essential role in the survival and expansion of ISIS. That country is Turkey. We have shared this fact (Turkish aid abatement of ISIS) with the international public on many occasions.

What should be done to improve relationship with the United States? Have you received any arms from the United States?

Sipan Hemo: We put great importance on the American air support. We asked for heavy weapons from the United States. We also asked for night vision equipment and other technical instruments. We asked for these in order to expand our capability to fight ISIS. We are determined to fight ISIS and wish to make strides in the anti-ISIS struggle. To be very open we wish to have a stronger alliance with the United States.

After liberation of Tal Abyad, there is a sharper language against you. Government and media close to it started to use the argument that YPG is PKK. What do you want to say on this point?

Sipan Hemo:  As we said times and again, we do not have any formal relations with the PKK. We do not act on behalf of or in coordination with the PKK. We do see PKK as a Kurdish and Kurdistani movement. Without a doubt we are in contact with all Kurdish parties, PKK included. Only enemies if humanity will be bothered by YPG. Otherwise, anyone who cares for friendship and fraternity, regardless of their affiliation with or opinion of PKK, is proud of YPG. This is because YPG and YPJ have been fighting ISIS for over a year not only for the Kurds, but also for Syria and all humanity. As YPG/YPJ we fight for democracy and we wish to collaborate with all friendly forces around world in our struggle.

What do you think of your Arab and Christian allies?

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Sipan Hemo: As you know Syria is a mosaic of ethnicities and religions. Christians, Alewites, Turcoman, Syriac, Druze, Kurds, Arabs and other people make up this mosaic. Unfortunately a political system that represents all these people has not been established. All these people in Syria must establish common goals. We very much care about what goes on in Kurdish region but we also care a great deal about what is going on in Syria in general. We will therefore continue our fight against radical terror organizations in Syria.

Although the two other cantons (Jazira and Kobane) have now been united Afrin Canton is physically separated. What the situation in Afrin?

Sipan Hemo: Citizens of Afrin Canton wish to be united with the other two cartons. Every Kurd in Afrin dreams of taking a bus from Afrin and traveling to Erbil and back. However due to meddling of other countries, Afrin Canton remains disjointed from the other cantons. Efrin is a prosperous and its people are patriotic. Afrin has extensive military experience and knowledge. Should there be an attack on Afrin it will be defended like Kobane and Hasaka.

I wish to point out that Kurdish people are going through a very critical period. All Kurdish parties and organizations must pay utmost attention to matters important to Kurdish people. All the gains made by YPG/YPJ are gains for the Kurdish people everywhere. All Kurds should be cognizant of this fact. YPG/YPJ has won admiration of people all around the world. We will continue our struggle. We are fighting for human dignity, for humane values. We will develop our struggle based on the wishes of democratic people around the world.

 

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Translated into English by @haktas12