SDF has maintained its unity even in the face of Turkish occupation – US Middle East Analyst

Syrian Democratic Forces (North Press)

(North Press) – The Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNCNA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 focused on Kurdish rights and the attainment of an independent Kurdistan, held an online seminar on North and East Syria titled “Where’s Rojava Today?” on Saturday. The seminar’s panelists included Syrian Democratic Council Representative to the US Sinam Muhammad, Middle East Scholar Dr. Amy Austin Holmes, Rojava Activist and KNCNA Member Dr. Ihsan Efrini, and Kurdish Journalist and Analyst Mutlu Civiroglu.
The organization has been organizing conferences since 1988, and wanted to organize a conference in Washington, but “because of [coronavirus], we couldn’t go ahead, therefore we thought about a webinar,” Ihsan Efrini, a native of Afrin currently residing in Canada, told North Press. “In 2019, Rojava was trending, but it seems like people have forgotten the region. There is still a lot happening in the region that needs to be talked about,” he added about the need for such a conference to take place.
Sinam Muhammad opened the discussion by talking about the dissolution of the Syrian opposition and the invasion and occupation of her native Afrin. “Afrin was a painful moment not only for Afrinis, but for all people in Syria, and also Arabs. They felt that they were also under attack and worried about Turkish intervention in Syria, and this is what Turkey did [in Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad].” Muhammad went on to discuss the completion of the first stage of the intra-Kurdish dialogue, stating, “It was so good that we reached an agreement together with the help of the United States, and I would like to thank Mr. William Roebuck this effort.” She added, “it is good for Kurdish parties to have unity…in order to have a stronger administration and stronger political solution to present to the future constitutional committee of Syria.”
Dr. Amy Holmes discussed several subjects, chief among them the unity of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as one of its key characteristics from which it draws its strength. “The SDF is a multi-ethnic force…and a multi-religious force, with Muslims, Christians, and Yezidis,” said Dr. Holmes, who previously completed a thorough and comprehensive study on the SDF in all regions of northeastern Syria.
“When Turkey invaded in October 2019…many people thought that the SDF would disintegrate, or that, for example, the Arabs in the SDF would defect – that they would go back to the regime with Assad, or that they would join Turkey…but really, nothing like that happened. There [were] no major defections within the SDF as the result of the Turkish intervention,” Holmes explained, later telling a personal anecdote about an Arab individual from Sere Kaniye who joined the SDF in 2015, as well as mentioning Kurds who joined the SDF to liberate Arab-majority areas such as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. “The SDF has maintained its unity even in the face of this Turkish aggression,” she continued.
Mutlu Civiroglu further commented on the talks, saying that “the initiative has brought a very optimistic atmosphere to the region…[it] has caused happiness among the people: activists, local people, military people, and politicians.” Civiroglu also mentioned local concern about the Caesar Act, saying “the other major topic in the region was the Caesar Act, and its impacts on the region under the Syrian Democratic Council or Syrian Democratic Forces’ control – how will the region be protected?”
The seminar lasted around an hour and a half, with each panelist sharing their views and answering viewer’s questions in the end. Many topics, including the intra-Kurdish negotiations, entry of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq-based Rojava Peshmerga into Rojava, the Turkish occupations of Afrin, Serekaniye, and Tel Abyad, and the efforts and unity of the Syrian Democratic Forces, were discussed during the meeting.

 

Reporting by Lucas Chapman

https://npasyria.com/en/blog.php?id_blog=2860&sub_blog=12&name_blog=SDF%20has%20maintained%20its%20unity%20even%20in%20the%20face%20of%20Turkish%20occupation%20-%20US%20Middle%20East%20Analyst

Kürt sancısı

Somut tabloya baktığımızda durum çok korkunç. Ben uzun zamandır etnik temizliğin bu kadar konuşulduğunu hatırlamıyorum. İsrail-Filistin meselesinde konuşuldu bu bağlam en son, şu an bunun bir ‘çözüm’ olarak hem ABD hem Türkiye liderleri tarafından açıkça konuşuluyor olması zaten yeterince korkunç.

ZABEL MİRKAN

Dr. Yektan Türkyılmaz, soykırım ve toplu şiddet çalışmalarında Türkiye’de akla gelen ilk isimlerden biri. Söyleşimizin ikinci bölümünde Türkyılmaz, soykırım ve etnik temizlik üzerine konuştuk. ‘’Uzun zamandır etnik temizliğin bu kadar konuşulduğunu hatırlamıyorum’’ diyen Türkyılmaz, Türkiye’de soykırım tehdidinin hiçbir zaman ortadan kalkmadığını belirtti ve ekledi: ‘’Çünkü Türkiye Cumhuriyeti hükümetleri bunu sorundan ziyade işe yarayan ve kriz anında gerçek veyahut da hayali düşmanlara karşı başarıyla kullanılmış ve bir daha kullanılmasında bir sakınca olmayan bir edavat gibi tutuyor çantasında.’’

Savaşın 3. gününde AB-ABD eksenli somut bir adım göremeyen QSD’nin Şam ve Rusya ile hızlı bir diyalog geliştirmesi bu duruma hazırlıklı olunduğunu mu gösteriyor?

Bence tersini gösteriyor. Özellikle QSD’nin Amerika’nın çekileceğine dair bir beklentisi olmadığını anlıyorum. Yani ABD güçleri çekildiğinde ne yapılacağına ilişkin bir A, B planı da yoktu bence. Dolayısıyla aciliyet üzerine yapıldı bu hamleler. Bir öngörü yoktu. Bunun böyle olduğunu üç gün sonra da ABD’nin araya girmesi vasıtasıyla da gördük. Madem siz Şam’la anlaştınız, o doğrultuda ilerlersiniz; ama öyle olmadı. Bu işin birinci kısmı. İkinci kısma gelince: ABD’nin QSD ve YPG’yle yakınlaşmasına bakarsak, bu kadar önemli bir güç haline gelmelerinin koşullarını Türkiye Cumhuriyeti hazırladı. Davutoğlu hazırladı, Tayyip Erdoğan devam ettirdi. Bütün NATO üyesi ülkeler için öncelik IŞİD olarak belirlenirken, Türkiye bu önceliğini Esad’a verdi. Hâl böyle olunca, Ankara IŞİD’i Esad karşıtı mücadelenin ister zımni deyin, ister de facto deyin, ister fiili deyin ortağı olarak gördü. Ayrıca İŞİD’in Türkiye’nin ‘doğal’ düşman gördüğü grupları da hedef aldığını unutmayalım. Bu sebeplerle Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ne zaman ki IŞİD’e karşı global koalisyon kuruldu, bunun olmaması için elinden ne geliyorsa yaptı. Tel Abyad, Resulayn gibi bölgelerin IŞİD’in lojistik damarı olduğu biliniyordu. ABD temsilcileri ısrarla Ankara’dan buraları kapatması talebinde bulunuyor, yapılmıyor. İŞİD karşıtı mücadeleye aktif katılımı istendiğinde imkansız şartlar koşuyor. Peki Türkiye’nin IŞİD’e karşı savaşıyoruz dediği nedir? Ne zaman anlıyorlar ki QSD-YPG Efrîn’de kantonları bağlayacak noktaya gelir, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin IŞİD’le ‘savaşı’ başlar.

Burada ortaya çıkan çok atipik bir tablo. Bir NATO gücü, yanınızdaki NATO devletiyle değil devletsiz bir silahlı güçle işbirliği yapıyor. ABD bunu isteyerek, can-ı gönülden yapmıyor; mecburiyetten yapıyor. Çünkü alanda IŞİD’e karşı savaşan bir güç yok, stratejik ortağı ise bunu kendi çıkarları doğrultusunda görmüyor. Bu siyaseti YPG çok iyi değerlendirdi. ABD bu durumdan çok memnun olmasa da, YPG alanda o kadar efektifti ki bundan vazgeçemediler. Minbiç’te vazgeçmeye çalıştılar, baktılar olmuyor YPG’yle yollarına devam ettiler. Kısacası, bu ilişkinin koşullarını Türkiye yarattı, YPG de muazzam bir şekilde değerlendirdi.

Şunun altını çizmek istiyorum; ABD için YPG siyasi bir ittifak değildi; askeri bir ittifaktı. Stratejik bir ortaklık da sözkonusu değildi; konu ve hedef odaklı bir ortaklıktı söz konusu olan. Zaman içerisinde başka ihtimaller ortaya çıktı; ama ittifakın özü değişmedi. Kürt tarafının bunu iyi anlaması lazım. Bunlar olurken ABD yönetimi için stratejik ortak hâlâ Türkiye’ydi. ABD’nin YPG-QSD’yle askeri işbirliği hiçbir zaman siyasi işbirliğine dönmemiştir ve tam tersine ABD bu konuda her zaman çok kararlı biçimde otonom yönetimin siyasi açılımlarına engel olmuştur.

Kürtlerin cephesinden baktığımızda da anladığım kadarıyla QSD, ABD’yle ittifak düşünürken siyasi kanattakiler daha başka ittifakları da değerlendiriyor. Siyasi kanat Suriye’nin birliğine inanıyor ve bu işin Esad’la olmasına yekten karşı değil; ama ABD’nin askeri planı ve ülkeye ilişkin siyasi öngörüsü Esad’sız. SDK’den gelen seslere bakarsanız İlham Ehmed, Aldar Xelil, Salih Müslim; Mazlum Abdî ve Polat Can’dan daha başka yerden bakıyorlar meseleye. İlham Ehmed Foreign Policy dergisindeki röportajda söylüyor örneğin: Şam’la görüşmeye çalıştığımız zaman ABD geri çekilmekle tehdit etti. Bu önemli çünkü ABD’nin Kürtlerin siyasi bir proje geliştirmelerine engel olmaya çalıştıkları ortada. Uluslararası birçok toplantı yapıldı Suriye’nin geleceğiyle ilgili, ABD Kürtlerin temsiliyeti konusunda ne istekli ne de ısrarcı oldu. Tam tersine; buna ABD’nin kendi içinde yapılan toplantılar da dahil. Buna Obama ve Trump yönetimi ve şu anki durum da dahil. Nihayetinde evet QSD büyük bir güç oldu; ama diplomatik, siyasal alanda büyük bir güce dönüşemedi.

ABD bir yandan da sınırdaki ağır silahların kaldırılmasını istedi?

Bu zaten akla ziyan bir durum. Amerika’daki durum Türkiye’dekine çok benziyor. Suriye temsilcisi Jeffrey konuşmalardan haberi olmadığını söylüyor. Pentagon’un nasıl bir planı olduğuyla State Department’ın ne yaptığı, Trump’ın nihai kararları arasında uçurum var. Biri sürekli QSD’nin kıymetinin altını çiziyor, biri Türkiye’yi koruyan bir yerden konuşuyor. Bir diğeri ise Türkiye’yi tamamen hedef tahtasına koymuş tonda…

Bu süreçte demokrat dünya kamuoyunda Kürtlere yönelik bir soykırım tehdidi olduğu pek çok insan ve hatta devlet yetkilileri tarafından deklare edildi. Siz bu tehlikeyi ne boyutta görüyorsunuz?

İlk evvela “soykırım” kelimesini özenli kullanmakta fayda olduğunu düşünüyorum. Bunun etik sorunları kadar umduğunuz tersi siyasal sonuçlara yol açma ihtimali var. Biraz kanıksayıcı bir hâl de yaratıyor bu tür kavramların sık kullanımı ve baktığınızda “etnik temizlik” kavramı yeteri kadar korkunç bir şey zaten. Sanmayalım ki pogrom daha az kötü, soykırım daha kötü ve iki ayrı şeyler. Bunlar zaten relatif kavramlar. Birbirinden kopamazlar. Soykırım pogramlar içerir ve zaten etnik temizliktir. Meselenin etik kısmına gelince, bugüne kadarki soykırım örneklerini, Kürtlerin uğradığı Dersim de dahil, ucuzlatıcı tavırlara girmemek gerekiyor. Siyasal boyutta ise, siz soykırım dediğinizde insanlar mobilize olmuyorlar; çoğu zaman paralize oluyorlar. Madun grup adına siyaset yapanlar bu mefhumu kullandıklarında ne yapacaklarını da söylemek durumundalar. Bir de tabii ki soykırım dediğinizde siyasi tercihlerinizdeki doğrular ve yanlışlar da görünmez kılınıyor. Başka ihtimaller neydi diye kimse soramaz siz böyle dediğinizde.

Somut tabloya baktığımızda ise durum çok korkunç. Ben uzun zamandır etnik temizliğin bu kadar konuşulduğunu hatırlamıyorum. İsrail-Filistin meselesinde konuşuldu bu bağlam en son, şu an bunun bir ‘çözüm’ olarak hem ABD hem Türkiye liderleri tarafından açıkça konuşuluyor olması zaten yeterince korkunç. Soykırım ihmaline gelirsek de, 2016’da Cizre sonrası ilgili bir yazı yazmıştım Evrensel’de. Kabaca şunu söylüyordum orada, Türkiye’de bu tehdit hiçbir zaman ortadan kalkmamıştır. Çünkü Türkiye Cumhuriyeti hükümetleri bunu sorundan ziyade işe yarayan ve kriz anında gerçek veyahut da hayali düşmanlara karşı başarıyla kullanılmış ve bir daha kullanılmasında bir sakınca olmayan bir edavat gibi tutuyor çantasında. Özellikle Suriye krizinin ve Kürt meselesinin geldiği noktaya baktığımızda kırmızı alarm çalıyor. Bölgesel duruma soykırım demeyeyim ama zaten benzeri felaketleri üretebileceğini sürekli gösterdiler bize. Êzîdîlere ne oldu örneğin? Ve felaketler unutmayalım ki bulaşıcıdır, sınırları çok kolay aşar. Şengal dediğimiz yerin bir tarafı Suriye sınırı, bir tarafı Türkiye. Özellikle bu savaş esnasında sivillerin maruz kaldığı işkenceler ve etnik temizlik konusundaki programatik ve aşkâre çaba çok tehlikeli. Kürtler şurada yaşayabilir, Araplar şurada yaşayabilir söylemleri akla ziyan, kan dondurucu söylemler.

Türkiye’nin işgali Şam’ın elini Kürtlere karşı güçlendirdi gibi görülüyor. Bunun olası sonuçları nedir, Kürtlerin Suriye’de 2011’den önceki duruma gelmeleri söz konusu mu?

Evet; ama bir yandan da şu ortaya çıktı. Bu gibi anlarda maksimalist düşünen aktörler hem kendilerinin hem de başkalarının başına felaket getirmeye en meyilli aktörlerdir. Kazanç-kayıp hesabı için özellikle Kürtler için çok erken. Şu an ABD ve Avrupa genelinde yaşanan büyük bir sancı var ve bu aslında “Kürt sancısı”. Kürtlerin siyasi aktör olarak bugüne kadar dışlanması nedeniyle artık bu ülkelerin başkentlerinde büyük sancı yaşanıyor. Ayrıca, el güçlenmesinden ziyade önemli olan bu aktörün ayakta kalabilmesi. Şu an Kürtlerin ve Türkiye’nin temel sorunu ayakta kalma mücadelesi. Bu fırtına dindiği zaman kim ayakta kalacak? Güçlerinin bütünlüğünü koruyarak bu kasırgadan çıkma çabası kıymetli. Ayakta kaldığınız zaman rüzgâr daha çok değiştirecek yönünü.

Şam kısmında da Kürtlerin yapabileceği çok fazla bir şey yoktu, ABD bunu direkt bloke etti çünkü. Bugün anlaşma yaparsanız üç yıl öncesine göre tabii eliniz daha zayıf; ama 2011 öncesine dönmeyi kimse artık rüyasında bile göremez. Kürt Hareketi için böyle bir geriye gidiş mümkün değil artık…

Mutlu Civiroğlu Kürt yetkililerle yaptığı görüşmelerde Şam rejiminin hâlâ tekçi bir yapıyı savunduğunu, en azından o mantıkla işleri yürütmeye çalıştığını söylüyordu. Şam ve Rusya, ABD’yle kıyaslandığında nasıl müttefikler oldu Kürtler için? Ya da daha doğrusu, oldular mı?

Kürt dememeye çalışıyorum çünkü QSD’nin yüzde 40’tan fazlası Kürt olmayan unsurlar. Şam masaya öyle oturacaktır muhtemelen. Şam bunda ısrar ederse çözümsüzlükte ısrar edeceği manasına geliyor bu durum ki Rusya bile bu yönde konuşmuyor. Almanya’nın bir çıkışı vardı örneğin, güvenli bölgenin çok uluslu olmasına dair. Ve baktığınızda Avrupa Suriye konusunda pişmanlık yaşıyor gibi görünüyor ve daha çok dahil olmak istiyor. Onlar başından itibaren Esad’lı çözüme kategorik olarak karşı çıktılar ama gelinen noktada bir gerçeklik var. Esad’ın da bu çözümsüzlükten yana kalması teritoryal bütünlük iddiasını oldukça zora düşürecek bir konum. Şu an Kürtlere hiçbir statü vermeden çözüm, sadece Ankara’daki intiharcı maceracıların düşlerinden ibaret.

Son gelişmeler ışığında konuşacak olursak, Bağdadi’den sonra IŞİD sözcüsü de Cerablus’ta öldürüldü. Bu durum bize ne ifade ediyor? Bağdadi’nin Reyhanlı’da çekilmiş fotoğrafları da olduğu iddia ediliyor bir yandan…

Türkiye’de bu konuda “milli sessizlik” ilân edilmiş gibi gerçekten. Doğru düzgün kimse bir açıklama yapmadı ve aksine lafı geveledi. Cumhurbaşkanı tarafından İngilizce bir tweet atıldı, sanki olayın Türkiye için bir önemi yokmuş gibi. Onun dışında garip ifadeler geldi iktidara yakın kesimlerden. Başka dillere çevrildiğinde de insanın kanını dondurdan açıklamalar bunlar. “O ne kadar teröristse bu da o kadar terörist” gibi. Sükût ikrardan gelir sözünü unutmayalım. Burada bir sıkıntı var demek ki.

Şimdi bu sıkıntının ne olduğuna bakalım. Bir ülke düşünün, ‘ben teröre karşı mücadele için canımı vermeye hazırım’, ‘benim için hayat terörle mücadeleden ibaret’, ‘benim dünyaya gelmekteki en büyük hedefim terörle mücadele etmek’ diyor. Çok güzel. ‘Hatta o kadar rahatsızım ki terörden, 30 kilometreden yakın olduğu zaman uyuyamıyorum bile’ diyor. Gayet güzel. Bunun için de meşru bir güç kullanmak zorunda olduğunu söylüyor. Çok güzel. Peki ondan sonra ne oluyor? Kendi sınırına 5060 metrede, kendi gözlem noktasının dibinde, Türkiye denetimi altındaki topraklarda bir operasyon yapılıyor. Bu operasyonu NATO müttefiki bir ülke herkesi dahil ederek yapıyor; ama gelin görün ki Türkiye’ye kırmızı kart gösteriyor. Trump esas itibariyle sadece şunu söylüyor Türkiye’yle ilgili: “Bize sorun çıkartmadılar.” Operasyonu Pentagon yapıyor ve biz buraya TSK’dan habersiz QSD’yle ortak operasyon yaptık diyor. İşbirliğini geçin beraber operasyondan bahsediliyor, İŞİD sözcüsüne karşı Cerablus’taki operasyonda helikopterde QSD’lilerin olduğu bile iddia edildi. Bu operasyonda IŞİD kadar Türkiye de Pentagon’un hedefi, bunu görmemek mümkün değil. Türkiye’nin dahil edilmemesi ise Türkiye’nin güya terörizme karşı mücadeleyle hikâyeleştirmeye çalıştığı şeyin ne kadar berhava olduğunu gösteriyor. Bu anlatı, iflas etmiş bir anlatı ve dünya çapında bir karşılığı yok. Türkiye’nin IŞİD’le mücadele ettiğine diplomatik düzeyde inanacak kimse yok artık, aksine Türkiye’nin ne yaptığına dair eklenen daha fazla soru işareti mevcut.

9 Ekim’de gönderilen ama bizim bir hafta sonra haberimizin olduğu ve Türkiye devleti cumhurbaşkanına yönelik sert ifadelerin olduğu mektupta dahi Mazlum Abdî’nin adı geçiyordu. Abdî’nin hakkında kırmızı bülten çıkarılması isteniyor; ama bir yandan Twitter gibi güçlü bir sosyal medya kanalı onu tanıdığını gösteren “mavi tik” veriyor. Bu durumu nasıl yorumluyorsunuz?

Türkiye’nin terörle mücadele meselesinin ciddiye alınmadığının bir diğer göstergesi bu da. Dedik ya Türkiye küme düştü, düşünün artık Türkiye’nin Interpol raporlarını kimse ciddiye almıyor. ABD’nin davet ettiği bir ismi siz Interpol’e bildiriyorsunuz. Bu artık acziyetin ifadesi olabilir sadece. Sembolik durumu da gösteriyor tabii bu “mavi tik” olayı. Türkiye bu operasyonla eğer Kürt Hareketini marjinalize etmeyi umuyorduysa olan tam tersi oldu ve aslında olan Türkiye’ye oldu. ABD’de artık YPG, PYD zaten meşru ve hatta müttefik olarak görülüyor ve PKK ile bağın bir sorun olarak gündeme gelmiyor kongredeki tanıklıklarda. Jeffrey’nin söylediklerine bakın. Ki Jeffrey bakıldığında QSD’ye en uzak isimlerden biri aslında.

Terörle mücadele söyleminin artık dünyada bir karşılığı yok. Türkiye’nin trajedisi de bu oldu. Hiçbir meşruiyet devşiremediklerini; tam tersine, saldırdıkları tarafı güçlendiren bir pozisyona kendi elleriyle sürüklendiklerini gösteriyor. Bu süreçte içeride yürüttüğü politikalardan en ironik olanı ise antiemperyalist olduklarını iddia ederek yaptıkları. Türkiye kadar bölgedeki emperyalist güçlere sınırsız itaat gösteren başka bir ülke daha yoktur. Kıbrıs’ta Türkiye’nin talebi kolonyalist İngilizlere karşı isyan eden Kıbrıs Rumlarının statü sahibi olmamasıydı; ama Türkiye Kıbrıs’ta İngilizlerin varlığına hiçbir zaman itiraz etmemiştir. Aynı şekilde İskenderun’da mandaya hiçbir zaman itiraz etmemiştir. Ne zaman ki manda yönetimi, sosyalistler iş başına gelince geri çekileceklerini söylemiştir Türkiye de o zaman çıkmıştır. Burada da benzer bir durum söz konusu. Türkiye’nin emperyal güçlere karşı durduğu en büyük yalan. Bir şeyler elde ettik, “zafer” elde ettik diyorlarsa, öyle diyorlar ya biz de zafer kabul edelim, bunun yüzde 90’ı Trump idaresine ve Rusya’ya bağlı…

 

Kürt  sancısı

Son dakika – SDG ile anlaşan Suriye ordusu Menbiç’e girdi, sırada Kobani var

Türkiye’nin Suriye’nin kuzeyine yönelik askerî harekâtının beşinci gününde Suriye ordusunun ana omurgasını YPG’nin oluşturduğu Suriye Demokratik Güçleri (SDG) ile anlaştığı öğrenildi. Bu anlaşma kapsamında Suriye ordusunun Menbiç’e girdiği duyuruldu. Suriye ordusunun bu gece de Kobani’ye gireceği belirtiliyor.

Menbiç yerel kaynakları Suriye ordusunun çeşitli bölgelerden kente doğru ilerlemeye başladığını aktarıyor.

Menbiç’e giren Suriye ordusundan ilk görüntüler geldi.

Fırat Bölgesi Savunma Komitesi Eşbaşkanı İsmet Şêx Hesen de Kuzey ve Doğu Suriye Özerk Yönetimi’nin Suriye rejimi ile anlaştığını açıkladı. Hesen “Rusya ve Suriye rejimiyle anlaştık. Bugün akşama kadar gelmeleri gerekiyor” dedi.

Mezopotamya Ajansı‘nın haberine göre Hesen “Elimizden geleni yapıyoruz. Bütün devletlere çağrıda bulunduk; ancak bir şey yapmadılar. Kendi derdimize derman olacağız. Yaralarımızı kendimiz saracağız” diye konuştu.

Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu da Kuzey ve Doğu Suriye Özerk Yönetimi’nin Şam yönetimi ile SDG’nin Suriye sınırını birlikte koruması konusunda anlaşmaya vardığını yazdı. Çiviroğlu, anlaşmanın Afrin de dahil tüm bölgelerin özgürlüğüne kavuşturulmasını da içerdiğini belirtti.

North Press Agency’nin haberine göre Suriye rejiminin Fırat Bölgesi Başkan Yardımcısı Mohammed Shaheen, SDG ile anlaşan Suriye ordusunun bugün Kobani bölgesine girmeye hazırlandığını duyurdu.

Kobani’deki SDG yetkilisi, Suriye hükümetiyle birkaç saat içinde Kobani’ye girmek için bir anlaşma yaptıklarını söyledi.

Gazeteci Aylina Kılıç da bölgedeki bazı yerel kaynakların SDG ile anlaştığını ve Suriye ordusunun Kobani’ye gireceğini bildirdiğini yazdı. Kılıç, “Aynı zamanda Minbiç için de bu yönde bir anlaşma olduğu belirtiliyor. Dün akşam ABD ile Rusya’nın Minbiç’te görüştüğü iddia edilmişti” dedi.

Kılıç anlaşamaya Rusya’nın dahil olduğuna dair haberlerin bulunduğunu belirtti.

https://ahvalnews.com/tr/firatin-dogusu/son-dakika-sdg-ile-anlasan-suriye-ordusu-menbice-girdi-sirada-kobani-var

Turkey military operation much larger than anticipated: Analysts

Tactic is to advance into Arab-majority areas and drive a wedge between YPG-controlled territory, observers say.

Arab and Kurdish civilians flee following Turkish bombardment in Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

Arab and Kurdish civilians flee following Turkish bombardment in Syria’s northeastern town of Ras al-Ain [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

 

The long-awaited operation launched by Turkey into northeastern Syria extended far beyond what was initially expected by military observers who predicted Ankara would likely embark on limited action.

In the first hours of Operation Peace Spring, Turkish air raids across the border reached as far as Qamishli in the east and further west of Kobane.

Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based Middle East analyst, told Al Jazeera the scale of the attack surprised many analysts.

“They’ve already hit 300km length and 50km depth, almost all major cities are hit,” Civiroglu said.

Soner Cagaptay, Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s research programme director, told Al Jazeera Turkey’s assault at this point was focused on Arab-majority towns.

“I think that’s quite a smart choice for Ankara because of the fact that Turkish troops will be more welcome in Arab-majority areas, given how friendly Turkey has been towards the Arab population,” Cagaptay said.

He said Turkey will continue to drive a wedge between Kurdish-controlled territory as a strategy to undermine the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and weaken the political authority that controls the border region with Turkey.

The SDF is spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has operated inside Turkey for decades. The PKK has been branded a “terrorist” organisation by Turkey and several other countries.

Wednesday’s cross-border operation was not the first. Last year, Turkey launched a similar offensive dubbed Operation Olive Branch into Syria’s Afrin town to “clear the area of terrorists”.

The SDF, while not wanting to comment on specifics, told Al Jazeera it was reviewing Turkish military strategy during Olive Branch to map out a response to the current operation.

According to local activists on the ground, the number one target for Turkey is the Arab-majority town of Tal Abyad, where Ankara hopes to quickly establish a ground presence.

Turkish security analyst and former special forces soldier Necdet Ozcelik told Al Jazeera he expects the first phase of Turkey’s operation will only last about 10 days, or a couple of weeks maximum, with the goal to take control of the area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

The offensive will also involve thousands of Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels providing ground support for Turkish commandos and its regular soldiers.

‘Under pressure’

Civiroglu said two scenarios were likely to unfold: Turkey intensifying ground operations, or the operation being halted because of condemnation from the international community.

“Trump is under pressure, the Turkish government is under pressure, the UN Security Council will meet today … The world is not buying arguments of the Turkish government,” he said.

“The SDF always wanted good relations [with Turkey] … Kurdish sympathy is very strong, that’s why there’s strong diplomatic efforts to put an end to this.”

The possibility remains that Syrian government forces of President Bashar al-Assad may try to capture the main city of Manbij, if the United States decides to withdraw its troops from there without giving early warning to the Turks.

“In this case, the Syrian army may try to capture Manbij before the Turkish forces or the FSA,” Ozcelik said.

“We might be seeing some sort of tension, or maybe limited confrontation, between the FSA elements and the Assad regime forces in Manbij area, but not in the eastern part.”

‘Turkish aggression’

The SDF responded to Turkey’s military action with artillery attacks and rockets fired into Turkish territory.

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter the Kurdish fighters would not allow Turkish troops to advance further. “We will use all our possibilities against Turkish aggression,” he said.

Heavy fighting was taking place in Syrian border villages between advancing Turkish forces and SDF soldiers on Thursday.

Ozcelik said the Kurds were no match for the advancing Turkish-led forces.

“The YPG elements are composed of a lot of PKK ideology people, and they forcibly recruited many people who did not have serious military experience,” he said. “I’m expecting a lot of defections from the YPG side, so the Turkish military is going to take advantage of that.”

Robert Wesley of the Terrorism Research Initiative told Al Jazeera that Turkey will also suffer setbacks considering how vast the area is that it wants to control.

“It will require huge amounts of direct military engagement from the Turkish side,” Wesley said.

“The use of the FSA, that will also be limited [because] these groups are not really well-trained. They don’t have a strong track record with more sophisticated defences.”

Turkey may not have the appetite for sustaining significant casualties, Wesley said, which a serious military encounter with the SDF would necessitate.

“I don’t think either side is particularly well prepared for the engagement,” he said.

The biggest challenge for the SDF is not having a weapon system that can counter Turkish air attacks, Civiroglu said.

“[Even so] they have said they will defend themselves until the end,” he noted.

Russian reaction

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Ankara after the Turkish operation began to stress that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected.

The Kremlin said it would not interfere further in Syria after years of supporting Assad’s forces against rebel groups, but cautioned Turkey not to take any steps that would destabilise the region.

Cagaptay said Moscow has no choice but to back Turkey’s move. “The most Russia will do is to voice support behind closed doors, even though they may publicly criticise the operation,” he said.

He said the Kremlin may even be welcoming Ankara’s military action. 

“The [Syrian] regime and Russia consider Turkey a threat, so by provoking Turkey to attack Kurds really Russia is hitting two birds with one,” Cagaptay said. “Hitting Kurds, trying to make Kurds dependent on Russia, at the same time allow Turkey to suppress the Kurds, not allow them to make gains.”

Even if Turkey is successful in securing its so-called “safe-zone” to return about two million Syrian refugees, there will be major challenges ahead, observers said.

The complex issue of containing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) fighters who are still active in the region must be addressed by Turkey.

As seen by the suicide attack claimed by the armed group in Raqqa on an SDF intelligence base, killing 13 people, ISIL may be defeated militarily but sleeper cells are still prevalent.

“It’s unfamiliar territory for Turkey,” Civiroglu said. “It’s Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Christians, and Yazidis of the region [who] fought these people.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/turkey-military-operation-larger-anticipated-analysts-191010054605380.html

‘A bloody conflict’: Trump’s actions in Syria will have long-term consequences

Kurds call it a stab in the back: chaos to come will have many participants

A ticking time bomb: Meeting the ISIS women of al-Hol

Al-Hol woman A woman at al-Hol camp in Syria. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

A pregnant woman was reportedly beaten to death this week in a Syrian refugee camp housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the war against Islamic State where they live among the militants’ wives and children in conditions described by international agencies and reporters who have visited the camp as harsh, dire, and even apocalyptic.

The woman, identified as 30-year-old Sodermini by ANHA news agency, was six months pregnant, and originally from Indonesia. On July 28, her body was discovered in a tent and taken to a hospital run by the Kurdish Red Crescent, where an autopsy determined she had suffered tremendously before she died.

The Indonesian government said it is investigating the circumstances of her death, and the woman is believed to be among about 50 Indonesian adherents to Islamic State living among about 70,000 people in the camp. It’s not known yet who killed her or why.

Children have died in the camp, and the International Committee of the Red Cross said recently that, despite the efforts of international NGOs to treat people with war wounds, infections, or who are suffering from malnutrition, the humanitarian needs in al-Hol remain “tremendous.”

Last month, Kurdish analyst and journalist Mutlu Civiroglu visited al-Hol camp and other areas managed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the de facto government in northern and eastern Syria. He found al-Hol to be a “ticking time bomb” – dangerously overcrowded, too large for the Kurdish internal security police force called the Asayish to control, and full of children deeply at risk of becoming the next generation of ISIS fighters.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Women in al-Hol campWomen walk in al-Hol camp in Syria in July 2019. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

The Defense Post: To start, tell me about the camps. Who runs them? How many people are there –how many women, men and children? How many are believed to be ISIS adherents and their families? How many are civilians?

Mutlu Civiroglu: According to the U.N. over 70,000 people live in al-Hol Camp. UNICEF estimates that more than 90% of them are children and women. Nearly 20,000 of the children are Syrians. According to Kurdish officials I spoke with, in total there are about 30,000 ISIS women and their children from 62 different countries. They are mainly in al-Hol but also in Ain Issa and Roj camps.

The whole of al-Hol camp is very crowded. Over 70,000 people live there. Considering the very hot summer, the camp residents live under very tough circumstances.

We were there one day when it was very hot. The sewage water was outside, on the surface – a very unhygienic environment and invitation for disease and illness. There are not enough doctors or health centers, according to the people we spoke to.

Security-wise it’s very risky because it’s over-crowded, hard to control. A few weeks ago an Asayish officer was stabbed. A 14-year-old Azeri girl was killed because she was not covering her hair, according to the people on the ground. I had to go to the camp with strong protection after this incident. It’s like a ticking bomb. The Kurdish administration runs the camp but UNICEF [the U.N. children’s agency], UNHCR [the U.N. refugee agency], the Red Cross, World Health Organization, and other intergovernmental organizations are there to support them, from what I could see.

Abdulkarim Omar, head of foreign relations in Jazira canton, told me that including Syrians and Iraqis there a total of 30,000 ISIS women and children under their control and around 12,000 are foreigners (muhajirs) and 8,000 of them are children. Of course male suspected ISIS members are kept in prison in different locations. Currently some 6,000 ISIS fighters are under SDF control: 5,000 are Iraqi and Syrian, and the other 1,000 are foreigners from 55 different states.

TDP: How are they separated?

The ISIS families are separated from the rest of the Iraqis and Syrians. There are wires separating them from the rest of the refugee community in the camp, and their location is known by the security and Asayish forces.

TDP: Do they live more or less freely within the camp or are their schedules and movements restricted?

The camp residents were allowed to go out for shopping until recently, but several escape incidents took place, and some ISIS women were taken out by smugglers, so the camp administration recently banned residents from going out. Instead they set up a new market inside of the camp, called Baghuz market. The administration is more strict now.

Their movements have to be restricted because of the killings. I was told the Russian women did that [killing of a 14-year-old Azeri girl] – by Russian I mean women from Chechnya, Dagestan, the Muslim republics of Russia – so their movements are more restricted and security is tightened after these incidents. Some camp residents have complained that because they’re not allowed out of the camp, the prices became more expensive and they’re having a hard time living because things are more expensive now. But they also acknowledge that by the mistake of some of the ISIS wives they’re all suffering.

I was told that kids are encouraged by women to throw stones at the camp officials. This also creates pressure on the security forces to be more careful.

TDP: What is the food and water supply like? Medicine? Sanitation? Are international organisations helping with humanitarian needs?

Based on what I saw I think there is enough water, but because the camp is overcrowded it causes problems especially with the water and in the summer. The Red Cross, WHO and UNHCR are there to provide help in addition to the Kurdish administration. They are also in-camp hospitals and health centers being built and mobile health centers set up by the Kurdish Red Crescent, so I don’t think there is a very desperate need, but because of the large number of residents I’m sure from time to time food and water is becoming a problem. International organizations and the local government are there trying to do their best.

However, Kurdish officials are asking for more support from the international community in terms of medicine, hospitals, water and cleaning materials. They also want countries to take back their citizens so that the population of the camp will be reduced.

TDP: There were some reports recently that some women escaped – do you know how? What is internal security like?

I was told the same thing and also read that some people in the Asayish are involved in taking the women out of the camps, but Kurdish officials strongly denied that and said it’s propaganda and their members would never be involved in such a thing because money is nothing for them, and they do this because of their values.

But the way different sources explained it to me is this: The women were allowed to leave the camp before for shopping, and since they all have the black burqa on, they look alike, and when they leave, they never come back because their families arrange a smuggler who is waiting for them in the town. Once these women go out of the camp they change their clothes and they are smuggled out. Since the camp is very large it’s not possible to have 100% control. That’s why the camp administration has now stopped allowing the women to leave for shopping. According to sources it’s arranged by families who pay a large amount of money to smugglers.

Internal security is tight. There are many Asayish forces guarding the camp, and the main gate is also a checkpoint. Before you reach the camp you pass through several checkpoints on the road from Hasakah. After you enter the main gate there’s another gate that’s also well-protected, and visitors are strictly controlled. When you’re inside they give you protection so stabbing incidents won’t happen. With me I think there were four people guarding us.

But again, because of the large area and a huge number of residents it’s not very easy to control the camp, and since you don’t know what’s inside of the tents or what kind of weapons they might have it’s not 100% safe or secured.

Al-Hol marketAuthorities in the al-Hol camp in Syria set up a market called Baghuz in an attempt to counter the smuggling of female ISIS adherents. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

TDP: Do the families seem to be repentant?

I observed mixed feelings. Some were defiant; for example an Egyptian woman was cursing us. She was using bad language and was very aggressive towards us, and was chanting pro-ISIS slogans. Also Russian-origin ISIS wives were very aggressive, so you see that they’re very motivated by what they’re doing. Some Turkish ISIS families seemed defiant, but at the same time I saw some Azeri women look very regretful. They seemed willing to go back home.

One Tajik woman showed me drawings by her child, saying her son drew their home and they want to go home. And you see people saying they were deceived, especially Dutch and Belgian ISIS wives, they say they believed everyone was equal but realized that the rich lived better lives, and the emirs paid money to smuggle their families out of Baghuz before the SDF took control, but these women ended up in these camps in very tough circumstances.

They were criticizing Baghdadi, saying he was in Libya living a good life but they are like this [in al-Hol], and they want their countries to take them back. When I pressured ed them, saying they had many opportunities to leave and that they came to Syria willingly, they said they are ready to be in prison in their countries, but at least their children would not live in camp conditions. They hoped even when they are in prison, their families will be able to take care of children. They were well-aware that they might spend long years in prison, which I found very interesting.

Because of the tough circumstances in the camp I think going home is a common desire. But to me the most important thing was that the vast majority of the camp residents are children, and especially children under 12. They are on the dirt, they play in dusty alleys – no playground, no sanitizing, under the sun – I think no child should be living under those circumstances, no matter what their parents did. Children have nothing to do with this, so they need to be given the opportunity to play and be a child, to flourish. They need help to get out of this trauma and be de-radicalized and rehabilitated, and the camp is no place for that. They need expert support and psychological support.

I am hoping that the governments will understand that children desperately need help, because if they stay there they will be brainwashed by their mothers. In a few years these children are going to be core ISIS members, so there’s a danger waiting for societies if these kids are not helped as soon as possible.

TDP: Do you think there’s a realistic possibility of a tribunal? Why in North and East Syria rather than the International Criminal Court, or trials in Iraq for foreigners, as with some French citizens who already have been sentenced? The Autonomous Administration isn’t recognized as a government, so how would sentences or verdicts given by the tribunal have any force in international law?

The Autonomous Administration feels like they’re under pressure because there are thousands of ISIS fighters, their wives and children. It’s a heavy burden for them to carry so they need the international community to help them. Especially after the Turkish statements about a military operation inside Syria, there are concerns that such a move may help these people to flee from the prisons and camps. But so far very few countries have taken back their citizens so the problem remains on Kurds’ shoulders and they feel like they need to do something.

The idea of an international tribunal is a step in this direction to push the international community to do more to share the burden with them.

Currently the administration is not recognized officially but a tribunal can be different. The legal experts in International Forum on ISIS conference agreed that there is a base for establishing a tribunal in Rojava because there is already a judicial system, legal experts, lawyers and with the support of the international community a tribunal could be established and it would be a good way to start to find a solution to the huge problem of post-caliphate ISIS.

Again, there are thousands of fighters under SDF control, many of their wives, and tens of thousands of children and they feel like they need to do something because so far the international community is turning a blind eye to the issue.

The caliphate was ended in March. Western countries are not open to the idea to expatriate their citizens. So the problem is with Rojava, with the Syrian Kurds. The attacks show the gravity of the situation, and since nothing is being done, Kurds and their allies feel like they need to take the initiative.

Iraq is motivated to do that in a way to clear its name that was ruined when it was overrun by ISIS. The Iraqi army fled from ISIS and left it for them. But at the same time, Iraq is also driven by the idea of revenge. Numerous ISIS members have already been executed.

The system in Rojava is more progressive and closer to Western systems and it is a better location for an international court because most of the fight was done in Syria. The caliphate’s heart was in Raqqa. Manbij is where the attacks against the West were planned. Kobani is where ISIS was first defeated and ISIS’s unstoppable advance was first prevented. Baghuz was the last remaining stronghold of the caliphate. They’re all in Syria. And the SDF, YPG, YPJ, Syriac Military Council are there so Syria is more suitable than Iraq considering these people have done the work, they have paid the highest price. These people defeated ISIS.

Al-Hol security gateA security gate separates the families from ISIS fighters from displaced Syrians and Iraqis at al-Hol camp. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

TDP: Are there plans to help the victims of ISIS?

There are some orphanages for the Yazidi children, de-radicalization centers for Yazidi children and other ISIS children, and some villages for Yazidi women who were not accepted back by their communities, but the resources are very limited in the Kurdish parts of Syria. Finances, expert advice and equipment are limited, so there has to be external support. The West especially should step in because the problem is very serious and requires a joint effort by Kurds and the West, especially the countries that are members of the international Coalition. The camps have the support of the international, humanitarian organizations but mainly Kurds are running them. There are great efforts, but it’s not enough.

TDP: Do you see any sign that the International Forum on ISIS conference has influenced foreign countries to change their Syria policies? Will they leave troops in the north, will they take their citizens back?

Such international forums are good venues to understand what’s happening on the ground and hear what people people on the ground – activists, experts, military and political leadership – say. It’s very important. There were representatives from the U.S., France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other European countries, as well as South Africa. It’s important that people from different backgrounds come and learn about the situation in Syria, ISIS captives, operations against ISIS families, and also share with the local people what their countries think about it. So it’s a good platform for them, and when these people go back they talk to the public, media and think-tanks. I’m optimistic that they’ll have an impact in their own countries.

I think the countries that have a military presence in northern and eastern Syria will continue; I don’t foresee any significant change in the plans of these countries, specifically the U.S., France, Germany and others. They’ll be there because they all know the ISIS threat is not fully resolved yet. The caliphate is ended but the danger, the ideology is there, the support base is there, sleeper cells are there. CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie and Ambassador William Roebuck’s recent visit shows that the Coalition gives the same importance to Rojava.

The world has almost forgotten Syria. International foreign policy priorities change so rapidly that Syria does not have the same spot it used to have, but ISIS is a global problem and it hasn’t been fully resolved. The resolution needs a global effort. Taking back citizens from Syria is one way of doing that, because the more people who stay there, the more is it is a ticking bomb.

All countries should repatriate their citizens, and they should try these people in their countries. If not, they should support the idea of helping to set up a tribunal in Rojava so that these people can be brought to justice and pay the price for the atrocities they committed. But I think the world is still turning a blind eye, although recently I see more awareness in terms of countries taking back at least the women and children and sentencing them in their own countries instead of keeping them in Syria.

JOANNE STOCKER

A ticking time bomb: Meeting the ISIS women of al-Hol

Challenges after the elimination of ISIS

Although defeated on the battlefield, ISIS will continue to be a threat to stability in Syria, SDF commander-in-chief General Mazlum Kobane writes

Women and children from ISIS-held areas YPJ fighters screen women and children from ISIS-held camps in Baghuz, Syria. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

The final chapter of Islamic State has been completed successfully with the liberation of the town of Baghuz from the terrorist organization. After civilians were evacuated and hundreds of extremists surrendered, the Syrian Democratic Forces, with the participation of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, put up a strong fight against the last remnants of the terrorist organization and declared to the world the destruction of the so-called caliphate.

There is no doubt that the elimination of the terrorist organization’s territory was the result of great efforts and sacrifice by SDF forces and the Coalition. High-level coordination between the parties and their strong ties will soon bring an end to the nightmare that has enveloped the entire world and turned the region into a terrorist epicenter.

Rojda Felat surveys a flank of Tal al-Samam with other SDF commandersRojda Felat, who commanded the battle against ISIS in Raqqa, surveys a flank of Tal al-Samam with other SDF commanders. Image: ©Joey L./JoeyL.com/Used with permission

The joint decisions made by the SDF and Coalition forces made the liberation of city after city possible while civilian casualties were avoided by employing precise and controlled military tactics.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to leave some U.S. forces in Syria is very crucial for the next phase of the fight against ISIS, which involves uprooting its intellectual and ideological roots, requiring continuous and long-term work.

American political and military leadership, as well as members of the U.S. Congress, agree that the threat ISIS poses is far from being completely eliminated. By keeping U.S. forces in the region and rearranging the American strategy, the next phase of the fight against terror will help the SDF to preserve the gains made so far.

Generals Mazlum Kobane and Paul E. Funk meetGeneral Mazlum Kobane, Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces discusses plans to liberate the final ISIS pockets in eastern Syria with US Army Lieutenant Gen. Paul E. Funk, then Commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, during a meeting near Ayn Issa, Syria, August 21, 2018. Image: US Army/Staff Sgt. Brigitte Morgan

We want to emphasize the role of the U.S. Department of Defense, and especially the commander of CENTCOM General Joseph Votel, in the territorial victory against ISIS and for ensuring security and stability in the areas liberated from the darkness. We thank him for his leadership and the important role he played in this historic achievement.

Special Envoy Brett McGurk in RaqqaBrett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, alongside U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, Commanding General of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve during a visit to Raqqa, Syria in 2018. Image: Sgt. Brigitte Morgan/US Army

We also want to acknowledge important role of the former Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk in this victory, and thank him for bringing together different nations under the international Coalition and building a bridge between them and the SDF.

Though the structure of ISIS will come to an end, we also want to draw attention to some major challenges that are ahead of us: sleeper cells planted by the terrorist organization, and the danger in ISIS’s ability to reorganize itself by employing tactics of individual terrorist acts such as bombings and assassinations.

In addition, the vacuum of power left after ISIS and the partial withdrawal of U.S. forces will be undoubtedly be exploited by regional and international parties.

ISIS tent city near Baghuz, SyriaRemains of the ISIS tent city near Baghuz, Syria. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

There is also a growing need to restore cohesion of the community and to reorganize and return people to their communities. The areas the terrorists occupied have been turned into ruins and must be revived. This revitalization will require continued support and rehabilitation at all levels so that citizens can return to their normal lives.

In accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations, the continued cooperation between the SDF and the international Coalition to counter ISIS, led by the United States of America, will contribute to the end of the Syrian crisis. The social component and diversity of our free areas constitutes the first point toward the ultimate goal of a democratic Syria, free from all forms of terrorism.


General Mazlum Abdi is the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces.


All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of The Defense Post.

Challenges after the elimination of ISIS

Özgürlüğe yakışıklı girmek istedim

DAİŞ’in köle olarak alıkoyduğu Êzîdî çocukları bir bir kurtarılıp ailelerine teslim ediliyor. Ednan, Kînan, Walîd kurtarılan çocuklardan sadece üçü. Kînan, özgürlüğe takım elbise ve kravatla adım atarken, Ednan QSD’nin DAİŞ’ten kurtardığı annesiyle buluşacağı günü iple çekiyor.

Babası Şengal Katliamı’nda katledilen Kînan, annesi ile birlikte DAİŞ çetelerince köle olarak kaçırıldı. Ancak annesi bir patlamada yaşamını yitirdi. Ebû Saed isimli DAİŞ çetesinin İdlib’e kadar kaçırıp 30 bin dolar karşılığı amcasına teslim ettiği Kînan, gazetecilerin karşısına takım elbise ve kravatla çıkıyor ve ekliyor: “Özgürlüğümün ilk günlerinde yakışıklı görünmek istedim.”

DAİŞ çetelerinin kıstırıldığı son toprak parçası Baxoz’da, 3 Ağustos 2014’teki Şengal Katliamı tekrar gündeme getiren gelişmeler yaşanıyor. Kaçırılan Êzîdî kadınlar ve köleleştirilen çocukların trajik öyküleri çıkıyor karşımıza.

Ednan, Kînan, Walîd… Üç çocuğun da babası katledilmiş ve anneleriyle kaçırılmış. Kînan ve Walîd’in anneleri ise DAİŞ’in kontrolündeki bölgelerde yaşanan patlamalarda hayatını kaybetmiş.

Ednan onlara göre biraz daha şanslı, bir süre önce annesi de QSD savaşçıları tarafından özgürleştirilmiş ve şimdi bir birlerine kavuşacakları anı sabırsızlıkla bekliyorlar.

Ednan annesine kavuşuyor

Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu önceki gün Twitter hesabından DAİŞ tarafından kaçırılan ve QSD savaşçılarınca kurtarılan Êzîdî bir çocuğun görüntülerini paylaşarak, söz çocuğun ailesine bir an önce kavuşmasını umduğunu söyledi.

Aynı gün akşam saatlerinde Êzîdîlere ait Ezidipress internet sitesi DAİŞ’in elinden kurtarılan çocuğun annesine kavuştuğunu duyurdu.

Çiviroğlu paylaştığı görüntüde çocuğun ismini sorması üzerine, “Benim adım Ednan” diyor. Ezidipress yetkilileri de çocuğun annesine ulaşarak oğlunun kurtarıldığının haberini veriyor. Haberi duyan anne mutluluk gözyaşları döküyor. Ezidipress Ednan’ın annesinin, QSD savaşçıları ile Mutlu Çiviroğlu’na teşekkür ettiğine de yer verdi.

DAİŞ çeteleri 3 Ağustos 2014 Şengal’de Êzîdî Kürtlere yönelik gerçekleştirdikleri soykırım saldırısında Ednan’ın babasını katletti. Çeteler, annesi ve kendisini de köle olarak götürdü. Annesinin de bir süre önce DAİŞ’ten kurtarıldığı belirtiliyor.

DAİŞ’in köle olarak kaçırdığı Êzîdî çocuğu Kînan, “Çok ölü gördüm, katledilen çok insan gördüm” diyor.

Kînan ömrünün tam yarısını DAİŞ’in zorbalığının altında geçirmiş. Bir süre önce QSD savaşçılarınca kurtarılmış. Fransız radyo kanalı France İnfo’nun haberine göre, Ebû Sead isimli DAİŞ çetesi sivillerin arasında küçük Kînan’i de yanına alarak Baxoz’dan kaçarak İdlib’e gitmiş.  Şengal Katliamı’nda Kînan’ın babası da katledilenler arasında. DAİŞ’in yanında yaşadığı kabusu ise Kînan, “Ben çok ölü gördüm, DAİŞ’lilerin eliyle katledilen insanlar… Bizi çok dövüyorlardı. Babamı haksız yere öldürdüler” şeklinde bir çırpıda özetliyor.

Şık bir şekilde radyo muhabirleriyle görüşmesi, dikkat çekmiş.

Bir iki boy büyük de olsa takım elbise giymiş ve kravat takmış. Şık giyinmeyi de “Özgürlüğümün ilk günlerinde yakışıklı görünmek istedim” sözleriyle ifade ediyor.

Büyük ablasını DAİŞ’liler tarafından satılmış. Annesi ise Baxoz’da yaşanan bir patlamada yaşamanı yitirmiş. Küçük Kînan annesinin ölümünden sonra Ebû Saed’in kendisini, hiç bir sebep yokken de dövmeye başladığını söylüyor.

DAİŞ çeteleri Kürtçeyi yasakladıkları için Kînan da bir çok Êzîdî çocuğu gibi 5 yıl içerisinde ana dilini tamamen unutmuş.

Baxoz, QSD savaşçılarınca kuşatmaya alındığı süreçte Ebû Saed İd lib’e kaçmaya karar vermiş. Kînan’ın amcası Ebû Saed’e ulaşarak Kînan’i almaya çalışmış. Ebû Saed amcasından aldığı 30 bin dolar karşılığı Kînan’ı bırakıyor, O da 5 gün sonra Güney Kürdistan’daki amcasına ulaşıyor.

Walid de kurtarıldı

France İnfo muhaberleri göre Kînan ve amcası ile görüşürken, amcasının telefonuna bir mesaj ile fotoğraf düşüyor. QSD savaşçıları 9 yaşında bir çocuğu kurtarmış. Adı Walid ancak DAİŞ çeteleri ona Ebdul Haman ismini vermiş.

Onun da babası DAİŞ çetelerince katledilmiş ve onun da annesi Kînan’ın annesi gibi bir patlamada ölmüş. Şimdi Walid de kurtarılan ve annesine kavuşma anını iple çeken Ednan gibi emin ellerde ve özgür…   

DÊRAZOR/PARİS


Baxoz’da 6’sı çocuk 8 Êzîdî kurtarıldı

Demokratik Suriye Güçleri (QSD), DAİŞ çetelerine karşı final savaşının yürütüldüğü Baxoz’da 6’sı çocuk olmak üzere 8 Êzîdî’yi daha kurtardı. Alınan bilgilere göre, QSD savaşçıları Baxoz’daki operasyon sırasında 8 Êzîdî’yi daha kurtararak güvenli alanlara ulaştırdı. Kurtarılanlar 6 çocuk ve 2 kadından oluşuyor. Operasyonda kurtarılan kadınların, T. S. ve E. M. olduğu öğrenilirken, çocukların isimleri ise şöyle: Eymen Xelil Heci, Dilbirîn Celer, Xeyri Şeref, Musa Hadi, Ayşe, İbrahim.

ANF/BAXOZ

 

Özgürlüğe yakışıklı girmek istedim

The distant dream of a secure safe zone in northern Syria

On January 13, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed, in an ambiguous tweet, the creation of a 20-mile safe zone in northern Syria.

Almost 10 days later there is still considerable confusion over what exactly it means and how it might be implemented. The Turkish government wants the area cleared of Syrian Kurdish forces, for instance, while Syrian Kurds oppose any Turkish role. And will it be primarily a Turkish venture, or might the United States spearhead its creation?

Ankara’s preferred safe zone is one that is free of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Syrian Kurdish fighters that make up the bulk of the multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that with U.S. help have largely defeated Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. The Turkish government says the YPG is as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule inside Turkey since 1984.

“The leaks about the buffer zone are unworkable,” Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East programme at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told Ahval News. “This is going to be fraught and tenuous.”

“I have a hard time accepting why the SDF would choose the U.S. proposal over the [Syrian] regime alternative, and how Moscow could then blow all this up,” he said, referring to talks the Syrian Kurds began with Damascus following Trump’s Dec. 19 announcement he was pulling the U.S.’ 2,000 troops from Syria. The Kurds hope that by ceding their border regions with Turkey to Damascus they can prevent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threatened offensive.

Syrian Kurdish authorities have affirmed they will support the creation of a buffer zone if established and run by the United Nations or the U.S.-led coalition. But UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the UN had no plans to participate in the creation of such a safe zone.

The Kurds adamantly oppose any Turkish involvement in the safe zone.

“We really need a safe zone, but without Turkish fingers,” Salih Muslim, former co-leader of the political wing of the YPG, told Kurdistan 24. “We want a safe area with an air embargo. There must be no role for Turkey.”

Any safe zone that is 20-miles deep along the northern Syrian border would include all the major Kurdish cities in Syria.

“The problem with the buffer zone is that there is little information on how the U.S. expects to keep Turkey from attacking and destroying the SDF,” said Nicholas Heras, Middle East Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the heart of the matter because Turkey’s vision for the buffer zone is for the Turkish military to control the major Kurdish population centres in northeast Syria.”

“A large component of the SDF comes from these Kurdish areas, and it is to be expected that the SDF would fight Turkey, rather than be dismantled by it,” he said. “The buffer zone concept was supposed to achieve a deal between Turkey and the SDF that allows for power sharing in northeast Syria, as a way to prevent disastrous conflict between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds. Any plan to allow Turkey to control the Kurdish areas of northeast Syria will force the SDF into conflict with Turkey because the SDF is existentially threatened by Turkey.”

Heras said the SDF was trying to reach an agreement with Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad to prevent Turkey seizing land in Syria.

Yaşar Yakış, a Turkish former foreign minister, believes the terms buffer/safe zone are vague.

“A safe zone as it is conceived by Turkey is difficult to set up in northeast Syria. Russia, Iran, the U.S. and many members of the international community will have to be persuaded for it,” Yakış said.

He said Turkey had no means of persuading the SDF to peacefully leave the area.

“However, it may dare to achieve it by using its military power, without persuasion,” Yakış suggested. “If Turkey succeeds in persuading the U.S., Washington has the means to force the YPG to establish a safe zone. But if this is going to be a safe zone with international legitimacy, it has to be sanctioned by a U.N. Security Council resolution, which means that the permanent members of the Security Council – Russia, China, France and the UK – also have to be persuaded.”

Turkey fears the creation of a safe zone similar to the one in northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, which led to Iraqi Kurds achieving autonomy, he said.

“This will be considered a nightmare by Turkey, as it is vehemently opposed to the emergence of any type of Kurdish entity in the north of Syria,” Yakış said.

Mutlu Civiroglu, a Syria and Kurdish affairs analyst, said Trump’s tweet suggested a preference for protecting Syrian Kurds before mentioning the 20-mile safe zone.

“It’s not clear what it really means,” he said. “Assuming the buffer zone is something the U.S. is going to initiate to protect Kurds, that would be positive and would be accepted by Kurds and their allies.”

Russia could stymie the creation of such a zone though, Civiroglu said.

“Moscow can certainly undermine not only this safe zone, but also any development in Syria since it has the power,” he said. “Its move will depend on the details. Russia has the power and capability of preventing or shaping the steps taken by Turkey, the Syrian government and any other player.”

Mustafa Gurbuz, a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center in Washington, said the United States had engaged in dual discourse by promising Turkey a safe zone along its southern border on the one hand and promising Syrian Kurds protection from any potential Turkish attack on the other.

“YPG leaders will not retreat in a silent matter,” he said. “The YPG will exploit U.S.-Russia competition to prevent the Turkish safe zone and, in the case of Turkey-Russia agreement, may use its ties with the Assad regime. Thus, it’s a troubling case for Turkey.”

Paul Iddon

https://ahvalnews.com/buffer-zone/distant-dream-secure-safe-zone-northern-syria

ISIL-claimed suicide attack in Syria kills 18, including 4 U.S. troops

A suicide attack killed four U.S. personnel in northern Syria Wednesday, costing Washington its worst combat losses in the war-torn country since 2014 as it prepares to withdraw. Nine Syrian civilians and five U.S.-backed fighters were also killed in the attack.

The bombing, claimed by the Islamic State (ISIL) group, comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s shock announcement last month that he was ordering a full troop withdrawal from Syria because the jihadists had been “largely defeated”.

The Pentagon said, “Two U.S. servicemembers, one Department of Defense (DoD) civilian and one contractor supporting DoD were killed and three servicemembers were injured while conducting a local engagement in Manbij.”

“Initial reports indicate an explosion caused the casualties, and the incident is under investigation,” it said, adding that the names of the dead were being withheld until 24 hours after their families were informed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier said two Americans soldiers, nine Syrian civilians, and five U.S.-backed fighters were killed in the attack on a restaurant in the northern city of Manbij near the Turkish border.

Rubble littered the outside of the eatery in the city center and its facade was blackened by the blast, footage from a Kurdish news agency showed.

According to Pentagon statistics, Wednesday’s blast was the deadliest attack for U.S. anti-ISIL forces in Syria since they deployed in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Defense has previously only reported two American personnel killed in combat in Syria, in separate incidents.

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said it was the first suicide attack in the city in 10 months.

‘Security zone’

This image grab taken from a video published by Hawar News Agency (ANHA) shows the scene of a suicide attack in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, January 16, 2019. /VCG Photo

Addressing a gathering of U.S. ambassadors in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence did not comment on the attack, saying only that the United States would ensure the defeat of IS, also known as ISIL.

“We’ll stay in the region and we’ll stay in the fight to ensure that ISIL does not rear its ugly head again,” he said.

The bombing comes as Syrian Kurds present in areas around Manbij rejected any Turkish presence in a planned “safe zone” to include Kurdish-held areas along the frontier.

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack Washington’s Syrian Kurdish allies, who Ankara views as “terrorists” on its southern flank.

Washington, which has relied heavily on the Kurds in its campaign against IS in Syria, has sought guarantees for their safety since Trump’s pullout announcement.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would set up a “security zone” in northern Syria following a suggestion by Trump.

But senior Syrian Kurdish political leader Aldar Khalil said any Turkish deployment in Kurdish-held areas was “unacceptable”.

He said the Kurds would accept the deployment of UN forces along a separation line between Kurdish fighters and Turkish troops.

But “other choices are unacceptable as they infringe on the sovereignty of Syria and the sovereignty of our autonomous region,” Khalil told AFP.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has been a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIL.

They have taken heavy losses in a campaign now nearing its conclusion, with the jihadists confined to an ever-shrinking enclave of just 15 square kilometers (under six square miles).

But the jihadists have continued to claim attacks nationwide and abroad.

Ankara has welcomed Washington’s planned withdrawal of some 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, but the future of Kurdish fighters has poisoned relations between the NATO allies.

On Monday, Erdogan and Trump had a telephone conversation to ease tensions after the U.S. leader threatened to “devastate” Turkey’s economy if Ankara attacked Kurdish forces in Syria, and called for a “safe zone”.

No ‘outside interference’

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters participating in a training maneuver, near the town of Tal Hajar in Syria’s Aleppo province, January 16, 2019. /VCG Photo

Erdogan said he and Trump had a “quite positive” conversation in which they spoke of “a 20-mile (30 kilometers) security zone along the Syrian border… set up by us”.

The YPG-led forces fighting IS in a statement said they would provide “necessary support to set up the safe zone” – if it came with international guarantees to “prevent any outside interference”, in an apparent reference to Turkey.

The Turkish army has launched two major operations in Syria in recent years.

In the latest, Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies seized the northwestern enclave of Afrin from the Kurds last year.

Critics have accused Turkish troops and their proxies of military occupation and abuses in Syrian sovereign territory.

But while Ankara has spoken of a YPG-free “security zone” under its control, analyst Mutlu Civiroglu said it was not immediately clear what the U.S. president meant by a “safe zone”, or who he thought would patrol it.

Analysts were “waiting for a clarification from Washington to see what the president really meant”, he told AFP.

The U.S. planned withdrawal has sent the Kurds scrambling to seek a new ally in Damascus, which has long rejected Kurdish self-rule.

With military backing from Russia since 2015, Syria’s regime has advanced against jihadists and rebels, and now controls almost two-thirds of the country.

A northwestern enclave held by jihadists and pockets held by Turkish troops and their allies remain beyond its reach, along with the much larger Kurdish region.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Syrian government must take control of the north.

(Cover: An image grab taken from a video obtained by AFPTV shows US troops gathered at the scene of a suicide attack in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, January 16, 2019. /VCG Photo)