Berxwedan of YPG: We Will Crush ISIS Anywhere in Syria

Kurdish fighters claim to have cleared Islamic State from Kobane

After liberating the city of Kobane, you began operations to liberate villages. What is the situation on the eastern, western and southern fronts? How far have you reached?

Mahmud Berxwedan: After liberating Kobane, we started a second advance. Since that day, approximately 20 days have passed. Within this time period, we carried out our operations successfully. Day by day, we are moving forward on all three fronts. We are liberating the land around Kobane bit by bit. On the western front, we have reached the point where we made close contact with ISIS on September 15th, we are somewhere near Shexler, there are 3-4 kilometers between us and the Euphrates. Around here, there are a small number of villages that are not yet under our control. Our operations are still ongoing around the villages of Kechelo, Jabalfaraj, Sevalo and Derbazin, and we will recapture these villages one by one.

Alright, on the western front, will you go beyond the Euphrates and go toward Jarablus?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Our top priority is to liberate the whole area around Kobane. Then we will start a new war with ISIS. Up until now ISIS conquered our land and we succeeded thanks to our friends who act with fighting spirit and made them suffer a great defeat. After taking the whole of Kobane under our control, I can say that we’ll start a war with ISIS, on September 15th they started the war, this time we will do it. Our struggle with ISIS will continue no matter where they go. We cut across all boundaries when it comes to fighting with them, we will liberate anyone who is targeted by ISIS.

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chied Ismet Hasan and other officoals Photo (Mislim Nebo)

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chief Ismet Hasan and other officials Photo (Mislim Nebo)

Your sound very confident and you seem to be in good spirits. What makes you speak so assertively?

Mahmud Berxwedan: We have faith in ourselves, in our strength and the YPG-YPJ fighters. We believe in our Kalashnikovs and our bombs. Anything else are supportive tools. We will crush ISIS in anywhere in Syria. We will fight with them first in the area around Kobane, then wherever ISIS goes.

Then, shall we say you will soon enter Jarablus, Manbij, Sarin and Tal Abyad? Is that right?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Wherever ISIS exists is our target. We don’t want to be misunderstood, we are not targeting the Arab people, we are targeting ISIS. We don’t have our eyes on anyone’s property. We just want to fight ISIS. Wherever they are, we will settle scores, old and new.

It has been reported that Arabs in places where ISIS holds control await your support, are these claims true?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Yes, they are. There are people who have escaped ISIS’s tyranny from Manbij and Jarablus, and they have come and asked for our help. They want us to save their land from ISIS, we promised to help them. We’ll help anyone who is subjected to ISIS’s tyranny and save them from it.

Mahmud Berxwedan

How about the situation on the southern and eastern fronts?

Mahmud Berxwedan: On the southern front, Shahid Xabur Hill has strategic importance because it overlooks the Qaraqozak Bridge and the area around Sarin. Girê Sêvê Hill, where there are intensive clashes, is now under our control, the YPG flag is flying on top of it.

Is it true that part of the Aleppo-Hasakah highway is under your control now?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Yes, a 25 kilometer-long section of Aleppo-Haseke highway just southeast of Kobane is under the control of our fighters. Qilheydê, Girêk and many other villages on the Rotko Highway were liberated by the YPG. On the eastern front, Bexdik, Idani and many other villages close to these places are under our control.

You are saying that you will support the Arab people who ask for your help and fight ISIS wherever they are in the world. Do the world powers also support you?

Mahmud Berxwedan: The ISIS thugs have become a nuisance for the world. Anyone who fights against them should support us, and increase the already extant support. Up until now, we have been fighting with limited means, always fighting with the weapons that we always mention. True that the Coalition Forces support us with airstrikes; however we still weren’t given heavy weaponry such as tanks or new weapons.

Everyone should take responsibility for this; we can be rid of ISIS only when we are united. We are fighting ISIS not only for Kobane but also for the whole of humanity. People should look out for Kobane not only about arms aid, but in terms of other things as well. Today a new Kobane is being built; everyone should act with a sense of responsibility. There was nothing left in the villages, the ISIS thugs had plundered everything. They had put landmines, bombs inside the houses to kill the civilians. That’s why de-mining organizations should come to Kobane as soon as possible.

It has been said that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was on your side in Kobane, will lead the operations that you will conduct in places which are densely populated by Arabs. What do you have to say about the role played both the FSA groups and the peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan in Kobane?

Mahmud Berxwedan: The groups such as Siwar al-Raqqa, Shams al-Shimal, Jabhat al-Akrad fought with us in Kobane and still now are continuing the struggle on the front line. In Arab areas, they lead, and we assist them. But they also need other kinds of help and haven’t received any of sort of help yet. We try to help them with the limited means we have.

The peshmerga forces were the back support from the beginning, they are not on the frontline. They have heavy weaponry and can give any form of support depending on our needs. They never hesitated doing anything they could do.

Lastly, what percentage of the Kobane villages have been recovered? Also, the possibility of you entering Tal Abyad caused a stir among the people, what do you want to say about this?

Mahmud Berxwedan: 80% of the Kobane villages have been recovered. Our operations are still ongoing for the remaining 20%. We are planning to liberate Tal Abyad from ISIS. As I said in the beginning, we will fight ISIS with all the strength we have no matter where they are.


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