Interview with Mr. Aldar Xelil, Member of the Executive Body of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) about the situation in Rojava and fight against ISIS .
Mr. Xelil, the US President Barack Obama said the war with ISIS would be a long one. There were also messages from him and Defense Secretary Carter for Syrian Kurds and the YPG. How do you assess recent messages coming from Washington?
We see the messages that come from Washington are positive and it is clear that the US government and the administration of President Obama want to strike and destroy ISIS forces, because ISIS is a terrorist organization against humanity. This terrorist organization was established in the Middle East to destroy the human values. Here, we welcome any initiative to hit this terrorism and to terminate it.
In fact, if we come to what happened in Iraq at the end of the rule of Saddam Hussein; we will see that there was also a common struggle against terrorism. We can also see that the US administration reached to a firm conviction that its strength and military technologies alone are not sufficient, and there is a need to work with local forces and people to defeat the terrorist organizations. Certainly, this process will succeed especially that People’s Protection Units (YPG) has proved its strength against ISIS recently, and that it is the strongest among all other groups in Syria.
In addition, we see for years that America did not succeed in Iraq, and ISIS controlled Mosul and other Iraqi cities very easily without any resistance. The same is valid in Syria and even in Southern [Iraqi] Kurdistan Sinjar. Among all these forces, only YPG was able to show a historic resistance to ISIS. We saw that in the resistance of Kobane to which the whole world has witnessed. In total, I think that all of these reasons helped US government boldly to take such a decision and to accept the YPG as an effective partner in the fighting against ISIS. Moreover, the successful coordination, which has been in Kobane, Grespi [Tal Abyad] and Mount Abdulaziz was the biggest proof of that. Actually, we believe that if this coordination continues, the end of terrorist ISIS will be close, and the same will be to the rule of the Baathist regime, from which the Syrian people have suffered woes for decades.
Commenting on what you just said. Some accuse you of have coordination with the Baathist regime in Syria. What is your comment on that?
A: YPG is the military force of the all peoples in Rojava components: Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs. On the other hand, there is a political movement, which leads the Rojava revolution. This movement made its position clear towards the ruling regimes in the region, and its goal is to establish and build a democratic system and a pluralistic Syria. In order to end the dictatorial rule, a multi-ethnic civilian democratic system must be established, and I think the Syrian people realized that. Some were looking at our system from a narrow perspective and brought unfair criticisms. However now they know that it is a large force in Syria and even in the Middle East, it leads the struggle against ISIS and the Assad regime at the same time.
Actually, those people who promote rumors and propagandas against us were mainly grown up on the hands of the regime and they do politics with Baathist logic and thought. Their only goal is to take and seizure power in this country. As for us, we would like to establish a homeland and a democratic society with a developed culture in Syria where all the components of Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and everyone live a free and an equal life. Consequently, by implementing a system like ours, the old regime will come to an end. This is clearly our position.
Lastly, what so you want to say about some media claims about the allegations of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Arabs and Turkmens in the territories newly liberated by the YPG?
The Turkish state was behind these claims, because it could not bear the YPG victories and breaking the power of ISIS especially in Tal Abyad. Therefore, it turned to such methods to spreading lies. YPG is composed of all components of Rojava. How can a force fights and resists the terrorism can commit the ethnic cleansing against the components of the society at the same time? Actually, Turkey took advantage of the opportunity of people’s escaping from the fierce war in the first two days in Tal Abyad operation as ethnic cleansing against the Arabs and Turkmens. Furthermore, when groups of terrorist ISIS attacked Kobane at dawn and killed hundreds of civilians, these people did not say that it was a massacre or ethnic cleansing. Those [Syrian opposition] who are staying in Istanbul and promoting such allegations from there, according to the instructions of the Turkish government. For our part, we say about these allegations that they are false because we have Arab, Kurds, and Assyrians martyrs. And YPG will not fight any people but ISIS.
Translated into English by Abdulselam Mohamad