YPG spokesperson in Afrin region Ferat Xelil spoke on the recent situation and ongoing Turkish attacks against Rojava
Mr. Xelil, we got some reports that the Turkish military bombed the village of Afrin since last night. What is the accuracy of the reports?
Well, the Turkish state attacks on Western Kurdistan, Rojava since beginning of Rojava Revolution is continues intensively, not just Afrin but also other regions of Rojava. However, since the beginning, the Turkish state have the intention of restrict and destroy all the achievements of Rojava. As is known by all, Turkey is a country, which causes to grow of ISIS and encouraged them to attack to all Rojava and Syrian people. Obviously, Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) progress and taking several villages in the region Shahba from ISIS, upset Turkish state, and they clearly intensified their attacks against us. The region was bombed by aircraft until late morning. Out of this territory some villages of Afrin such as Hemame, Darbalut,Jindires, Merwania, Maydanakbaz was hit with heavy guns and howitzers. All attacks were made to set back the progress of SDF and prevent to the retreat of ISIS.
I’m just asking to clarify. Did occur attacks on different places yesterday? In first Shahba region where is located base of Jaysh al-Thuwar and SDF in east of Merea then villages of Afrin, isn’t it?
Yeah. They first attacked the Jaysh al-Thuwar then villages of Afrin. In these attacks civilians, most of children suffered causalities. As YPG and Rojava will not remain silent as we did not before on attacks, and we will give the answer to the attacks to protect our people.
Turkish media and some international media organizations such as Al Jazeera English allegedly killed 200 YPG fighters. Is there truth to these claims?
There is no accuracy of this news. 15 warriors of Jaysh al-Thuwar was martyred, also some injured ones. But the news is a lie that we have a 200 loss. No accuracy of a news serviced by the Turkish media. The numbers given, there is no injury or accuracy of the information they claimed they killed our warriors. There is no truth in the reports that allegedly killed and injured our warriors.
What is the purpose of such reports?
By this way, they are intended to disrupt the people’s psychology and morale. However, our people know and do not already trust the Turkish government, which has long conducted a psychological war on Rojava. These attacks are carried out by the Turkish state as trying to show to world still capable of comprehensive attack even although having a difficult time. In this way, they must think they can intimidate us and our people. But no matter what they do, neither our people nor YPG-YPJ we won’t step back.
According to Turkey’s General Staff’s statement “mortar shots fired from areas in YPG control areas, we answered them,” it said.
On the contrary, the continuation of yesterday’s attacks and attack these days we have taken our step as retaliation. For example; How did happen yesterday’s attacks? It really cannot say so openly lies. Why they did not mention yesterday but talking today? Turkish media that can deliver on all event-seconds and minutes can spread itself – making twenty-four hours after a statement says, “mortar shots fired from areas in YPG control areas, we answered them.” There is no such thing. We responded after the attack on us.
I want to come to Shahba region. The day before yesterday, Jaysh al-Thuwar had liberated five villages from ISIS. Turkey is a part of the international coalition formed to fight against ISIS. What is happening in that region?
When the QSD forces moving against ISIS, the Turkish state has intervened which have shown that secret alliances. Therefore, we cannot imply some concrete prove but indication shows that there is some agreement in the background.
What kind of alliances?
Attacks of the Turkish state continues uninterrupted after the Russo-Turkish talks. So as with not being able to say something concrete, then we reach the conclusion that arise in practice it seems to work. Today we see that the reason for the attacks of Sahba. We don’t see any condemnation from Europe, USA and Russia. Therefore, we consider that there are hidden, unspoken things in media.
From this viewpoint, as you mentioned briefly I would like to ask about the attitude of the United States and Russia. Do you have any contact with this power, particularly with the USA? What do they say about it? Because there had been some disagreements regarding to Jarablus issue. USA had intervened to prevent deepening problems between Kurds and Turkey.
We as the YPG of the Afrin Canton have not worked with the United State. But obviously they cooperation in Jazira and Kobani together with our friends to fight off ISIS. Therefore, if the United States and Russia take a stand against these attacks, Turkey will not continue these attacks. But unfortunately, they didn’t take any attitude, as it turned out a long time. We hope that they won’t remain silent against these recent developments. We hope that we as Afrin Canton, it will be given support to the YPG-YPJ forces as they did in Kobane Jazira in order to demoralize power of ISIS. Obviously YPG-YPJ is only battle forces which able to defeat ISIS in ground. So when we look at the operation on retake Mosul from ISIS, we see that only Kurdish people demonstrating the power defeat on many fronts.
* This interview was conducted on October 20, and translated from Kurdish into English by @menuras