Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Brief Analysis of the Situation in Hasakah

HasakahIslamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has launched an offensive against Hasakah for few days, and took control of Regiment 121, a major military installation in south of Hasakah province.

Since then Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) took preemptive steps to protect the city from all directions. According to YPG sources in the city there is no ISIS presence in the city, and the suicide attack resulted death of 17 regime forces was immediately interfered by YPG before additional ISIS reinforcement arrive to the city.

As far as regime forces concerned, there is still some military presence in the city center and government building are still controlled by the regime officials. However, majority of regime soldiers are demoralized due to lacking clear motivation to fight. Local sources earlier reported that different sort of regime weapons were seized by YPG in Hasakah in last few days.

In a phone interview, Cochair of the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan (PCWK) Abdulselam Ahmed confirms that vast majority of the city is currently under YPG control. Ahmed, himself a Kurd from Hasakah, says the life in the city is normal and electricity is available in the Kurdish side of the city.

When asked about the timing of IS attacks on Hasakah, Ahmed says IS thought this as the best time to seize Hasakah as they thought YPG was preoccupied with fight in other fronts.

“Because of fierce fight in Kobane as well as Serekaniye and other regions, ISIS thought it is an appropriate time to attack Hasakah. Expecting no resistance from dispirited regime forces, ISIS was expecting an easy seizure of Hasakah. However, YPG took all necessary precautions to prevent ISIS from entering the city.”

Ahmed says it is likely that there are some ISIS supporters are in the city. “After the suicide attack they were expecting more reinforcements from surrounding villages and around Mount Abdulaziz, but thanks to YPG interference this possibility was prevented.”

In regards to YPG casualties in Hasakah, Ahmed says 3 YPG fighters lost their lives while defending the city.

“3 of YPG fighters were martyred by IS mortar attacks in south of the city. We received a news that 2 more YPG fighters martyred today, but we do not have the details yet.”

Ahmed confirms that Christians in the city asked Kurdish protection against ISIS and YPG is taking measures to protect the community.

Hasakah has always been one of the major goals of ISIS as it would allow further expansion of their control in Syria. After the group seized the control of Mosul, it wants to include Hasakah into its territories as well. Considering close ties between Arab tribes in Mosul and Hasakah, ISIS believes the city should be a part of its caliphate.

Besides, Hasakah is an important road junction near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. Main road connecting Aleppo and Damascus are passing through Hasakah. It is also an important agricultural region; wheat, rice, cotton etc.

If Hasakah falls into ISIS, Jazira Canton of Kurds, cities like Qamishli, Derik (Malikiyah), Dirbesiye, Serekaniye (Ras al-ain) and Ramalan oil fields will also go under ISIS control. Such a development will mean a big blow for Kurdish achievements in Syria.

July 27, 2014

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ISIS Attacks on Kobane and YPG’s Response

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Mutlu Civiroglu

After taking over Mosul and some other cities in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) or with its new name Islamic State (IS) has launched a large offensive against Kobane (Ain al-Arab) on Wednesday, July 2. ISIS attacks supported by 10 tanks and other armored vehicles including US Humvees, were concentrated in the west of Kobane around several villages mostly against Zormixar, a strategic village overlooking town of Jarablus.

One important difference of these recent attacks is that ISIS has been employing many Western made heavy weapons seized from Iraqi army around Mosul in the past weeks. Moreover, YPG sources are stating that Iraqi generals from the Saddam era have joined ISIS and are coordinating the attacks against the Kurds. The main questions for Syria analysts was whether or not the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) had advanced weaponry and military capabilities that could repel these attacks and keep control of the region.

Two days after the offensive, on Friday, the YPG withdrew from Zormixar and other villages after ISIS bombarded the region with over 3000 mortars. Although YPG forces stated that this was a tactical move, some analysts interpreted this as a sign of possible defeat. After fierce clashes between the two sides, YPG forces managed to take back control of Zormixar as well as Khrab Ato, Bayadia, Ziyareteh and Jadidah villages. Currently some smaller scale clashes continue with remaining ISIS fighters, but local sources say the situation is pretty much under YPG control and the morale of the people of high.

YPG Media Office announced on Sunday, July 6 that ISIS offensive had been broken and around 200 ISIS fighters were killed. Sources that I spoke with in Kobane also verified that a lot of ISIS fighters had been killed and that their unburied bodies were scattered all over the battle field. Local sources also report that some of the fighters were blonde haired and bright skinned in appearance. According to YPG statements around 40 of their own fighters lost their lives in these recent attacks.

YPG also announced that its forces destroyed several ISIS tanks and other vehicles as well as seizing a wide range of weapons and ammunition.

Why Does ISIS Focus it’s Attacks on Kobane?
ISIS attacks against Kobane are significant for several reasons. First, with the recent confidence gained by taking over Mosul and other cities in Iraq, ISIS wants to expand its control over a larger territory of Syria as well. After seizing two oil fields from a rival extremist group, ISIS wants to seize Kobane which remains in the middle of territories under its control. ISIS currently controls Girsespi (Tall Abyad), Jarablus and Raqqah. It desperately wants Kobane to connect the regions under its control and make it a part of the “Islamic State”. Taking control of such an important city will enable ISIS to seize new territories from the direction of east and west, in addition to connecting Tall Abyad and Jarablus.

Furthermore, being a border city with Suruc of Sanliurfa province of Turkey, seizing Kobane will also allow ISIS to control the Mursitpinar Border Gate with Turkey as well. It is well known that ISIS gives specific importance to border gates especially for trade, easy crossing for fighters and logistics, the treatment of injured fighters etc. In this regard, it is increasingly likely that ISIS will plan attacks on other border crossings controlled by the Kurds like Serekaniye and Til Kochar (Yarubia), and crossings controlled by rival Islamist groups in Azaz.

In addition, ISIS also wants to cut Kobane from the Kurdish Mountain Region (Kurd Dagh) or Canton of Afrin and Canton of Jazira (Hasakah). As of now, moving between three Kurdish Cantons is difficult. According to local officials, currently hundreds of civilians are also held hostage in Jarablus and Tall Abyad. Also some 130 Kurdish students who were kidnapped by the group remain in captivity for over a month after they were kidnapped as they were returning from school exams in Aleppo. Despite all calls from international human rights groups those children and other civilians are still not released and are being used as a bargaining chip to pressurize YPG, according to local human rights defenders.
If Kobane falls to ISIS, such a possibility will bring some additional advantages for ISIS to further pursue its goals. It is apparent that ISIS does not hesitate to use any means to seize the city including kidnapping civilians and crucifying them, destroying houses and taking properties and even cutting off the water of the city.

Due to the fact that the taking of Kobane will be very advantageous for ISIS, it is not holding back from committing all sorts of cruelty against the people. ISIS is kidnapping civilians, publicly crucifying them and killing them by torture. Local sources are frequently reporting that ISIS is ransacking civilian homes and confiscating civilian property. As a matter of fact, it is well known that ISIS has on several occasions cut off the drinking water supply to Kobane.

One other factor to remember is that Kobane is the first city in Rojava to have been freed from the Assad regime on July 19, 2012. Therefore, the city has a special meaning for Kurds in Rojava. If the Kurds lose this city it will also have a demoralizing impact on them and their struggle for self-rule. Therefore, attacking Kobane is also attacking the massive gains of the Kurds in Syria, and a message for Kurds that ISIS [and its regional supporters] will not allow Kurdish autonomy in Syria. YPG sources and local officials expect that ISIS will be very likely to intensify its attacks as the second anniversary of the Kurdish takeover of the city approaches.

In fact, already news has come in that on Monday and Tuesday July 7and 8, ISIS launched new attacks on Kobane from the south and the east. YPG announced that in the fighting that occurred 35km south of Kobane close to Kunheftar, 40 members of ISIS were killed and that 2 YPG fighters had lost their lives.

YPG, along with the Kurdish Front (KF) and some other Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades, also managed to break ISIS attacks from the east of Kobane which were aimed at sandwiching in YPG forces from both directions. It is known that there was intense clashes between YPG fighters and hundreds of ISIS fighters supported by tanks from Tall Abyad who had launched an attack that began on Monday, the 7th of July and continued on Tuesday and Wednesday. Local sources reported that the YPG had destroyed several tanks and killed tens of ISIS members while also adding that the YPH had also suffered serious losses.

On the 9th of July, news came in from Kobane that 2 of the YPG fighters had possibly lost their lives as a result of a chemical weapon. It is worth reminding that the internationally respected Syrian Observatory For Human Rights also reported on this allegation on Wednesday.

As of now, despite ISIS’s possession of advanced weaponry from Iraq, it has been unable to gain the upper hand over the YPG, known for its high military capabilities, its discipline and its popular support. However, as stated above, it is highly likely that ISIS will continue its attacks. In this regard, the statements of the administration of the Kobane Canton, PYD leader Salih Muslim and, on behalf of the KCK, Murat Karayilan on Kobane are very important. Local officials say hundreds of Kobane residents are returning home from neighboring countries to defend their city. Also, hundreds of Kurds from Turkey crossed border to fight against ISIS alongside YPG forces. It is without a doubt that the future of Kobane is both significant for the Kurdish gains in Rojava, and also for the Kurds in other parts.

ISIS Attacks on Hasakah

In the long run reaching Hasakah is one of the major goals of ISIS. But, Hasakah is currently controlled by three different forces, YPG (in Kurdish side of the city), Assad and the opposition. So, it is not that easy for ISIS to take control of Hasakah, but they certainly want to expand their control in Syria.

Hasakah City is the administrative center of the Hasakah governorate. It is an important road junction near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. It is also an important agricultural region; wheat, rice, cotton etc. It is also close to the oil fields in north (Ramalan area). In a way, controlling Hasakah will provide any group with an important advantage over the others.

Given YPG’s superior military capabilities, discipline and its large popular support base it makes it very difficult for ISIS to defeat YPG in Kobane, Hasakah or elsewhere. Even with advanced Western weaponry ISIS obtained from Iraq seem to have not helped the group to seize Kobane thus far.

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IŞİD Neden Sürekli Kobanê’ye Saldırıyor?

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Irak ve Şam İslam Devleti’nin ele geçirmek istediği Kobanê’nin büyük bir önemi buluyor. Musul’da ele geçirdiği ağır ve gelişmiş silahları kullanan IŞİD’in bu kente girmesi demek hem doğu hem de batıdan geniş hareket alanı bulması anlamına gelecek.

Haber: MUTLU ÇİVİROĞLU / Arşivi

RADİKAL – Irak’ta Musul’u ve diğer birkaç bölgeyi ele geçiren Irak ve Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) yeni ismi ile İslami Devlet (IS) 2 Temmuz’da Kobanê’ye büyük bir saldırı başlattı. 10 tank ve başka ağır araçlar tarafından desteklendiği bildirilen bu saldırılarını Kobanê’nin batısındaki bir kaç köy, özellikle de Cerablus için stratejik değeri olan Zormixar bölgesinin etrafında yoğunlaştırdı.

Son saldırıların önemli bir farkı ise IŞİD’in geçen haftalarda Musul ve çevresinde elde ettiği ağır ve gelişmiş silahları ve kullanmasıydı. Hatta yakın dönemde IŞİD’e dahil olan bazı Saddam dönemi Iraklı subayların da Kürtlere karşı saldırıları yönettikleri YPG kaynaklarınca dillendirilmekte. Durum böyle olunca Suriye ’yi yakından takip eden uzmanların merakla sordukları soru, YPG’nin böylesi gelişmiş silahlarla yapılan saldırıları püskürtüp bölgeyi elde tutacak imkânlarının olup olmamasıydı.

IŞİD gerçekleştirdiği 3.000 ‘den fazla havan saldırısından sonra, YPG güçleri Cuma günü Zormixar ve diğer köylerden çekildi. YPG’nin taktiksel bir hamle olarak duyurduğu bu geri çekilme, akıllara ‘bir yenilgi mi ?’ sorusunu getrdi. İki taraf arasındaki şiddetli çatışmaların ardından YPG güçleri Cumartesi günü Zormixar’ın yanı sıra Xirabato, Ziyaretê ve Cedide köylerini geri almayı başardı. Şu anda bazı küçük çaplı çatışmaların devam ettiği fakat bölgenin YPG’nin kontrolü altında olduğu ve oradaki halkın moralinin yüksek olduğu bilgisi geliyor.

YPG Basın Merkezi 6 Temmuzda yaptığı açıklamada IŞİD saldırılarının kırılmış olup 200’e yakın IŞİD savaşçısının öldürüldüğünü duyurdu. Yerel kaynaklar da bu sayıyı doğruluyor. Tarlalarda gömülmeden bırakılan IŞİD’e ait birçok cesedin içinde sarı saçlı ve beyaz tenli olanlarının da bulunduğu belirtiliyor. YPG’nin açıklamalarına göre son saldırılarda 20 civarında savaşçının hayatını kaybettiği görülüyor. Yine, IŞİD’e ait 2 tank ve birkaç ağır aracın YPG tarafından tahrip edildiği, birçok silah ve mühimmatın de ele geçirildiği YPG açıklamalarında dile getirilmekte.

 

IŞİD NEDEN SÜREKLİ KOBANÊ’YE SALDIRIYOR?

Bu saldırıların birçok nedeni var. Birincisi IŞİD Musul ve Irak’taki diğer şehirlerde elde ettiği başarılardan güven alarak Suriye toprakları üzerindeki kontrolünü de genişletmek istiyor. Bunun dışında Kobanê, şu an IŞİD’in kontrolünde bulunan Girespi (Til Abyad), Cerablus ve Rakka’nın ortasında bir ada gibi duruyor. Kobanê’yi bu kendi kontrolü altındaki bölgeleri birbirine bağlamak için ve de yeni ilan ettiği “İslam Devletinin” bir parçası yapmak istiyor. Böylesi önemli bir şehrin kontrolünü ele geçirmesi demek, hem doğu hem de batıdan geniş hareket alanı bulması anlamına gelecek, yeni topraklar ele geçirmesini kolaylaştıracak.

Bunun dışında, Kobanê’nin ele geçmesiyle beraber Urfa’nın Suruç ilçesindeki Mürşitpınar Sınır Kapısı’nın kontrolünü de ele geçirmiş olacak. IŞİD’in özellikle ticaret, eleman ve mühimmat geçişi, hastaların tedavisi vb. nedenlerden dolayı sınır kapılarına önem verdiği biliniyor. Bu bağlamda önümüzdeki dönemlerde Kürtlerin elinde bulunan Serekaniye ve Til Koçer ile diğer İslami grupların elinde bulunan Azaz’daki sınır kapılarına saldırılar düzenlemesi muhtemel.

Bu saldırılarla IŞİD, ayrıca Kobanê’yi Kürt Dağı Bölgesi yani Afrin Kantonu ve Cezire Kantonlardan da koparmak istiyor. Şu sıralar üç Kürt Kantonu arasında gidiş gelişler oldukça zor. Yerel yetkililere göre birçok sivil Cerablus ve Til Abyad’da IŞİD tarafından rehin tutuluyor.

Aynı şekilde IŞİD tarafından Minbiç yakınlarında kaçırılan yüzden fazla Kürt öğrenci bir ayı aşkın zamandır rehin tutuluyor. Gerek İnsan Hakları İzleme Örgütü (HRW), gerek UNICEF ve de diğer kurumların tüm çağrılara rağmen bu çocuklar ve diğer siviller halen serbest bırakılmış değiller. Kobanê Kanton yetkilileri ve bölgedeki insan hakları savunucuları, IŞİD’in rehin tuttuğu çocukları ve diğer sivilleri YPG’ye karşı baskı oluşturmak ve arkasındaki halk desteğini yok etmek için kullandığını belirtmekteler. Bu kaynaklar IŞİD’in ayrıca YPG’nin elindeki üyelerini salıverilmesi konusunda bir pazarlık kozu olarak da sivilleri kaçırdığını iddia etmekteler.

Kobanê’nin IŞİD’in eline geçmesi, örgüte birçok avantaj getireceği için oradaki halka her türlü zulüm yapılmaktan kaçınmıyor. IŞİD siviller kaçırıyor, bazılarını alenen çarmıha gerip, işkenceyle öldürüyor. Birçok defa sivillerin evlerinin tahrip edildiği ve mal ve mülklerine de el konulduğunu yerel kaynaklar sıkça dile getiriyorlar. Hatta Kobanê’nin içme suyunun bile IŞİD tarafından birçok defa kesildiği de kamuoyu tarafından bilinen bir durum.

Devam eden bu saldırıların bir diğer önemli nedeni ise Kobanê’nin 19 Temmuz 2012’de Esad rejiminden kurtulan ilk şehir olması ve Rojavalı Kürtler için manevi bir öneme sahip olması. Kürtlerin bu şehri kaybetmesi büyük bir moral kırıklığı yaratacak ve elde ettikleri kazanımlara büyük bir darbe olacak. Yani Kobanê’ye yapılan saldırılar Kürtlerin Suriye’de elde ettiği başarılara da bir saldırı anlamına da geliyor. YPG kaynaklarına ve yerel yetkililere göre IŞİD muhtemelen saldırılarını Kürtlerin Kobanê’yi alışının ikinci yıldönümünde artırarak devam edeceği.

Zaten hafta başından beri IŞİD’in hem güneyden, hem de doğudan yeni saldırılara başladığı haberleri de gelmekte. YPG, Kobanê’nin 35 kilometre güneyinde bulunan Kunheftar yakınlarındaki çatışmalarda 40’a yakın IŞİD üyesinin öldürüldüğünü, kendilerinin de 2 kayıp verdiklerini belirtmekte.

IŞİD’in, Kobanê’nin batısıyla birlikte eşzamanlı olarak doğudan yani Akçale’nin karşısındaki Til Abyad’dan yapmaya çalıştığı ilk saldırılar ise YPG, Kürt Cephesi ve Özgür Suriye Ordusu (ÖSO)’ya bağlı bazı grupların da desteğiyle püskürtüldü. IŞİD bu saldırıyla YPG’yi her iki yönden kıstırmayı amaçlıyordu ki bunda başarılı olamadı. 7 Temmuz Pazartesi günü başlayan ve bugün Salı da yoğunlaşarak devam eden çatışmalarda ise, yine Til Abyad’dan saldırıya geçen IŞİD güçleriyle YPG arasında sert çarpışmaların yaşandığı haberleri gelmekte.

Şu an itibariyle görünen, IŞİD’in Irakta ele geçirdiği gelişmiş silahlara rağmen yüksek askeri kabiliyeti ve disiplini ile bilinen ve geniş halk tabanı olan YPG karşısında üstünlük sağlayamadığı. Fakat yukarda da belirttiğimiz gibi IŞİD’in önümüzdeki günlerde saldırılarına devam etmesi de oldukça güçlü bir ihtimal. Bu nedenle de hem Kobanê Kantonu yönetimi ve Salih Müslim, hem de KCK adına Murat Karayılan’ın açıklamaları dikkat çekici. Hiç şüphe yok ki Kobanê’nin geleceği hem Rojava’daki kazanımlar, hem de Kürtlerin tamamı için önemli bir role sahip olacak.

http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/isid_neden_surekli_kobanye_saldiriyor-1201038

YPG Chief Commander Sipan Hemo: Kurds in Syria ‘Deserve’ US Support

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Sipan Hemo is the commander-in-chief of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), perhaps the most organized fighting force in Syria. Based in predominantly Kurdish areas, which are known as Rojava, the YPG has fought Islamic groups for two years and is controlling security for the region.

In a wide-ranging interview, Hemo addressed the state of the current conflict in Syria and the rise of Islamic extremist militias in Iraq and Syria, which he claims is intertwined with global powers. Hemo also makes the case why YPG and the Kurds should receive US funding.

Rudaw: Mr. Hemo, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which you have fought for a long time, has received a lot of international attention since they took Mosul. What are your thoughts on ISIS as an organization and its attacks in Iraq?

Sipan Hemo: To understand the latest attacks by ISIS in Iraq, you have to understand the background as well. ISIS was shaped by some powers about a year and a half ago to carry out their plans in Syria. ISIS isn’t a random Al-Qaeda organization. We have intelligence on them. There are documents that we acquired. There are also the statements taken from members we captured. When we put all these pieces together, we reached to the conclusion that ISIS was directed under the command of some intelligence services and their agents to implement the policies of certain states in Syria. The most recent developments, as well as what occurred earlier, prove that our theory is correct.

A city like Mosul or some other cities in Iraq aren’t the types of places that a group can take overnight. It’s clear there have been preparations underway for a long time. There are various forces behind these preparations and behind those who launched these attacks. It’s impossible for a city like Mosul to fall under a group’s control without the intelligence apparatuses of international powers knowing it’s happening. Thousands of armed people get together, transfer their heavy artillery and move forward to attack a city like Mosul. It’s illogical that no one was aware of this. Mosul and Kirkuk constitute only one part of these attacks. These are attempts to divide the region in a different way. These are attempts to turn people, cultures, societies, beliefs and groups against each other. These are the attempts to drag the Middle East into a civil war — to have fighting and to create a quagmire. This will serve the interests of international powers, beginning with the arms trade.

To understand the latest attacks by ISIS in Iraq, you have to understand the background as well. ISIS was shaped by some powers about a year and a half ago to carry out their plans in Syria.

We, as YPG, fought in battles with Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) against ISIS gangs in the town of Rabia (on the Syrian-Iraqi border) and in some places near Shangal (Iraq). It doesn’t matter whether it’s Rojava, Mosul or Kirkuk: if required, we YPG, are prepared to use our experience and abilities with our people in the south to fight along the same front against these gangs — this so-called ISIS — to protect our land and victories.

Returning to the subject of ISIS, what seems clear from their actions on the ground is that this organization is at the service of several intelligence agencies and it acts in accordance with their interests. Specifically, there are some western countries — along with the Turkish state on one side and Iran, Iraq and Syria on the other — that have their own plans and calculations over ISIS. In a way, ISIS was merely turning itself into a stick made of fire and everybody was willing to use this stick against one another. They were taking steps in this direction. In other words, these intelligence services have attempted to use this cruel, terrorist structure — created by those who don’t know anything about humanity, leave alone civil law — against one another and against the people in the region.

Rudaw: Is it possible that the ISIS is also using some of the states that support them?

Sipan Hemo: Of course! By standing out with its shrewdness, ISIS has taken advantage of the intelligence services of these countries in a very cunning way in order to establish its own rule all around the region. For example, it’s been almost two years since ISIS began atrociously attacking the Kurds in Rojava. Why has ISIS been attacking or has been made to attack the Kurds? This is because ISIS knew very well that only when it was done attacking the Kurds it could have binding ties with the Turkish intelligence service. And indeed it happened this way because through our fight against them on the ground, we could uncover their true intentions. When they fought us, ISIS was using Turkey’s borders without the objecting of Turkish army and authorities; they were treating all of their wounded militants in Turkish hospitals. Some may say this is an allegation. However, we have official documents in our hands backing what I am saying. One of the ISIS commanders in our captivity said he was treated at Ceylanpinar Public Hospital for nine days.

In reality, if it weren’t for the YPG and the Kurdish people’s struggle against ISIS over the last two years, ISIS would have done the same in northern Syria as what it’s done in Iraq the past few (weeks). They’ve done what they’ve done in Iraq to pave the way for a deep sectarian conflict. ISIS’s success in Iraq certainly isn’t normal. I can sincerely say that there’s no other power in the world that knows as much about ISIS as we do, and ISIS alone — without the backing of other powers — doesn’t have the capacity to take Mosul and capture areas as far as Samara. Can you believe that in just an hour and a half every government official in Mosul surrendered and gave away Mosul?

In reality, if it weren’t for the YPG and the Kurdish people’s struggle against ISIS over the last two years, ISIS would have done the same in northern Syria as what it’s done in Iraq the past few (weeks).

I want to state my views without lending credence to conspiracy theories: Iran, Iraq and Syria are parts of this plan. On the other hand, Turkey and other powers that are working together were also aware of this plan; they even took part in it in one way or another. Iran believes that the more the Middle East is dragged into a quagmire and chaos, the better their chances of protecting their own interests. This is because the western nations’ plans for the Middle East make their job extremely difficult. At the same time, Iran has the dream of uniting and protecting the Shia. In other words, Iran is trying to build sovereignty over the crescent of Shia from Iran all the way through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This dream can only be possible via the deepening of a sectarian conflict.

Rudaw: Where does Turkey stand in this picture that you are describing?

Sipan Hemo: There’s no doubt that Turkey has several distinct calculations. In its effort to assimilate and suppress the Kurds, and its policies of denial, Turkey won’t stop at anything to sabotage Kurdish gains. Turkey itself has always stated that it hasn’t given up its dreams for Mosul and Kirkuk. For this reason, Turkey instructed its special fighting units in Mosul not to fight, but to negotiate. The same instructions were also given to the soldiers protecting the Suleiman Shah Tomb in Kobane. By working with ISIS, Turkey has, for a long time, been changing and renewing her forces at Suleiman Shah Tomb. Turkey hasn’t ever felt uncomfortable about this, nor has any global power.

Of course what I’m saying isn’t valid for the people of Turkey. Innocently, and without being aware of the policies that their government implemented, they’ve been dragged into a catastrophe. I am sure that the people of Turkey aren’t at all happy about this. Unfortunately, however, those powers in Turkey who adopted this unsuccessful policy made Turkey a partner in these dirty games as well. The fact that ISIS is still holding hostage the Turkish diplomatic staff (at the consulate in Mosul) and Turkey’s truck drivers is a plan of Turkish state. The Turkey that we know shouldn’t have acted so passively in this kind of a situation! What happened to the phrase, “A Turk is worth the world!” What has changed? Now so many people from Turkey are in the hands of the gangs but they’re acting so passively. This means that there are things that are organized behind “closed doors.”

If America and other western countries really want democracy and foster the development of democracy in the region then they should acknowledge Kurds.

Rudaw: There are serious discussions in Washington about arming a “moderate” Syrian opposition. What do you think of this? Who are the “moderate opposition?”

Sipan Hemo: Supporting the moderate opposition is among the policies discussed in the US. Isn’t it too late for this? Why has it taken so long? The conflict in Syria is in its fourth year. Firstly, the US should think about what its support for the Syrian opposition has accomplished so far.

Furthermore, whom has the US supported so far if it’s now deciding to support the moderate opposition? This is also a question that comes to mind. As far as we know, the US and western countries have supported certain groups in Syria since 2001. This is nothing new. Maybe they’ve just now realized that their policies over the last three years were wrong.

I have information that the US has promised to support some groups it has contacted via its intelligence chief in Jordan. If the US sees them as “moderate,” then we need to ask what “moderate” means. If the US is serious about this statement, then the Kurds and YPG deserve this support the most. As a matter of fact, I can state that the Kurds are ready in all respects to play a pioneering role for democracy in Syria.

Supporting the moderate opposition is among the policies discussed in the US. Isn’t it too late for this? Why has it taken so long?

We, the Kurds in Rojava, have faced all kinds of attacks over the last four years. We’ve been involved in a relentless war against (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad’s regime forces, against groups supported by outside powers, and against groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, in areas stretching all the way from Afrin to the Jazira region. Al-Qaeda groups have taken control of all of northern Syria except the Kurdish areas. This is a huge victory not only for the Kurds but also for the western world.

We, as the official military forces of Rojava, have stated that we’re prepared to fight ISIS in Mosul. At this point, I’d like to state first to President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, and then to the people of America: If they don’t want the situation in the Middle East to descend further into chaos, then Washington absolutely needs to change its policy toward the Kurds. This is because the policies thus far haven’t done much to help anyone. Unfortunately, the US to this day hasn’t yet explained where the Kurds in Syria stand politically and what kind of role they play for democracy in Syria. I’d just like to say this: If the goal truly is for democracy to come to the Middle East, and if the moderate forces in Syria are going to be supported, the Kurds are prepared for this and are the ones who deserve it the most.

Rudaw: Your successes against ISIS and other radical Islamic groups have garnered a lot of global media coverage. What do you think of the world’s assessment of YPG? Do you have ties with global powers?

Sipan Hemo: Indeed, YPG’s founding pre-dates the revolution in Syria. Specifically, when the attacks against the Kurdish people in Qamishli (Syria) occurred in 2004, there was a secret decision to create defense apparatuses. Some work was done at that time. So these defense units were created before the revolution in Syria.

However, when the Arab Spring began in Syria, in order to set the Kurdish regions free and to protect the Kurdish victories, YPG started to take action and has been doing so since 2011.

First, on July 19, 2012, we led the effort to drive enemies out of the Kurdish regions, and then we continued to struggle to preserve this victory. Later, YPG declared that it would stand against any threat to the Kurds. YPG declared that it would respond to everyone, regardless of who they might be, if they don’t accept the existence of the Kurds; if they want to overshadow Kurdish victories; and if they plot against the Kurds or make other plans. We’ve been struggling against these kinds of threats to today. We wanted to stay away from politics, or, in a sense, we didn’t want to be involved in a political argument. We’ve been operating according to this principle.

YPG declared that it would respond to everyone, regardless of who they might be, if they don’t accept the existence of the Kurds.

With regard to your question, I’ll pose a question as well: have Kurdish politics been able to change our position to a diplomatic one? Unfortunately, no! Kurdish politics has fallen short in this regard. There are some different reasons behind this. For example, the global powers haven’t understood the politics in Rojava, nor have they decided yet how to deal with it. They also want to make it possible for the central government to do what they want. However, the politics harbored in Rojava aren’t in line with what the world powers want.

Rudaw: Has there been any change recently in the worldview about the YPG? I ask this because in some panels and conferences in Washington, the YPG is being mentioned frequently, especially your successes against ISIS and radical groups.

Sipan Hemo: If America and other western countries really want democracy and foster the development of democracy in the region then they should acknowledge Kurds. Today, in the Middle East, besides the Kurds, there is no other organized force to support democracy. The force that is both sophisticated and has the potential to bring everyone together is this force to which I refer.

If America and west really want democracy, they should build a close and firm relationship with the Kurds. Solving the Kurdish issue will put the global powers in a better and stronger position both in Rojava and anywhere else in the Middle East. This is because the Kurds aren’t imposing their own borders on anyone, and they aren’t isolating themselves from anyone. They talk about democracy. This means they talk about collectivity. The pro-democracy dialogue means they want to work with various groups.

There is a war here, and why is this war is being fought against us? This means we have views that don’t conform to those of radical Islamic groups. Regardless of their intentions, what’s happening in Rojava meshes with the west’s interests as well. One should consider whether they’d be better off if a regime like the (current) one survives in Syria or if there’s the kind of government that the Kurds want. The west’s interests weren’t being met until a cooperative system was formed in south Kurdistan, which shows that the Kurds are more in line with diversity and democracy.

http://rudaw.net/english/interview/03072014