Category Archives: Syrian Kurdistan

YPG Afrin Spox: Turkey Attacks Us to Prevent Defeat of ISIS

ferat-xelil

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

Head of Afrin Canton Hevi Mustafa on Turkish Attacks

hevi

Afrin is right now under great embargo, and the people have been living under heavy circumstances. Thousand people harbored to Afrin because of the war. They live in Afrin as refugee. The situation of these people are in dangerous, lacking of medicine and lack of milk for kids is a big problem.

We have no capacity to meet these needs. There are no any roof nor tents for the refugee to sleep. We created a communal system, we work together and share all our foods with refugees. So far nobody helps us and the refugees.

Moreover, Turkey has begun bombing Afrin. The people in these towns were only able to survive a three and a half year siege because they were supplied with essentials by us, Afrin Canton administration. Thousands of refugees from surrounding towns are now making their way to Afrin. There is very tragic situation, many women gave birth in nature. This is very tragic what happened to this people.

Turkish bombardment damages not only to people but also damage to the nature especially many olive-trees were eradicated because of Turkish attacks. In our border town Shiye, in border village Qirmila nearly 800 olive trees were uprooted by Turkish soldiers. We took the tree branches to extend our friendship Turkey but Turkish government does not make distinction between people und nature. While we wanted to show our peace intention to Turkish government but right now Turkish government attacks on the Hamame village, some civilians wounded during the attacks. We get into a difficult situation and under this situation we try to treat injured civilians.

Audio file of the message: 

Turkish Artillery Attacks on Jaysh al-Thuwar

Turkish forces attacked Manegh, Maranas, Malikia villages in Azaz countryside which is currently under Jaysh al-Thuwar which is a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) component.

azazzzzz

Jaysh al-Thuwar released a statement saying Turkey attacked the villages they recently liberated from Jabat al-Nusra and Ahrar al–Sham and by doing so Turkey shows its support to these groups.

Jaysh al-Thuwar  also say by this action Turkey shows its hostility towards democratic forces in Syria.

Jaysh al-Thuwar warns that attacking them will strengthen Assad forces as they prevent regime advancement towards north by controlling those areas.

Below is the Jaysh al-Thuwar statement:

thuwar

 

***

Here is a video by Hawar News Agency showing Turkish artillery attacks:

Aerial Footage of the Destruction in Kobane City

kobane tepeden

This flying camera footage shows the horrifying destruction in the City of Kobane after ISIS attacked the city on September 15 with heavy weapons.

After Kurdish YPG and allies defeated ISIS, now the local government is trying to expedite reconstruction efforts through http://www.helpkobane.com

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.

***

For my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

***

Premierminister des Kantons Kobane: “Für die Entschärfung der Minen werden dringend Spezialisten gebraucht”

10818505_373739149475979_2814843610372079953_o

Mutlu Civiroglu: Nach der Befreiung der Stadt gaben Sie in einer Erklärung bekannt, dass

Hilfe für den Wiederaufbau gebraucht werden würde. Journalisten, die Kobane besuchen, kommen zum selben Schluss. Welche Art von Unterstützung braucht Kobane?

Anwar Moslem: Seit viereinhalb Monaten wird gekämpft, um die 40 Fahrzeuge wurden in Kobane in die Luft gesprengt, tausende Mörsergranaten schlugen ein. Die Fundamente der Stadt, kommunale Dienstleistungsstellen, Wasserleitungen und das Stromnetz wurden zerstört. Auf den Straßen liegen viele Leichen der ISIS-Kämpfer. Es ist notwendig, dass medizinische Organisationen uns vor Ort unterstützen, damit sich keine Krankheiten ausbreiten. Zudem wurden in der Stadt, in vielen Dörfern und Häusern Minen verlegt. Auch das ist eine große Gefahr für die zurückkehrende Bevölkerung. In den vergangen Tagen sind in den Dörfern Çuqur, Rovî und Yêdûq Minen explodiert, Zivilisten kamen ums Leben. Für die Entschärfung der Minen werden dringend Spezialisten gebraucht. Die Situation ist sehr schwierig, es mangelt an Trinkwasser, Nahrungsmitteln, denn schon vor diesen Übergriffen war Kobane von allen vier Seiten umzingelt, mit Beginn des Kampfes wurde diese Situation noch schwieriger. Weil wir schnellstmöglich eine Camp-Stadt errichten wollen, müssen wir eine medizinische Grundversorgung gewährleisten, damit die Bevölkerung wieder allmählich zurückkehren kann.

Enwer_Mislim_Roj

Mutlu Civiroglu: Wieviele zivile Opfer kamen durch Minenexplosionen ums Leben?

Anwar Moslem: Bisher gab es sechs Tote und dutzende teils Schwerverletzte. Nicht nur die Dörfer, sondern auch einige Teile der Stadt sind vermint. In den Dörfern wird noch gekämpft, aber in der Stadt wurde dem Terror ein Ende gesetzt. Deswegen bemühen wir uns, mit allen Nationen und Organisationen Kontakt aufzunehmen und sie nach Kobane einzuladen, damit sie uns behilflich sein können.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Die Nachrichtenagentur ANHA teilte gestern mit, 400 Zivilisten seien zurückgekehrt. Sie teilen uns mit, dass Blindgänger und Minen eine große Gefahr darstellen. Wie bewerten Sie die Rückkehr der Zivilisten trotz der Gefahr?

Anwar Moslem: Wir teilen den Menschen immer wieder mit, dass die Situation sehr gefährlich ist. Zum einen gibt es keine medizinische Versorgung, zum anderen sind überall Minen verlegt. Unser Aufruf nach Kobane zurückzukehren, richtet sich an junge Menschen, die in der Verwaltung oder im medzinischen Bereich arbeiten wollen, oder sich unseren Verteidungseinheiten anschließen möchten. Es kommen aber auch einige Zivilisten zurück. Manchmal betreten sie unbefugt gefährliche Gebiete, sodass es ständig Explosionen gibt. Auch wir leiden darunter, aber wir geben dutzende Erklärungen und erstellen Flugblätter, um die Menschen zu warnen, damit sie Orte nicht unbefugt betreten und sich bei der Asayish oder der YPG melden, wenn ihnen Blindgänger und Minen auffallen.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Sie sagten, dass es Bemühungen gibt, ein Camp zu errichten. Die Organisation “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” wollte ebenfalls ein Camp in Kobane errichten.

Anwar Moslem: Wir haben Kontakt zu dieser Organisation, diese möchte ein Krankenhaus und einiges mehr errichten. Wir sagten, dass unseren Türen allen Organisationen, die Kobane unterstützen möchten, offen stehen. Wir von der Stadtverwaltung versuchen, ein Camp zu errichten, damit die Bevölkerung zurückkehren kann, obwohl tausende Häuser zerstört sind. Um sie unterzubringen, brauchen wir dieses Camp. Wenn “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” oder andere Organisationen uns bei diesem Vorhaben unterstützen möchten, können sie dies tun. Wir haben ein Komitee gegründet, die noch Untersuchungen anstellt und die Ergebnisse bald publik machen wird.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Vor zwei Tagen hat der französische Präsident Hollande die Kommandantin der YPJ Nesrin Abdullah und die Präsidentin der PYD Asye Abdullah im Élysée-Palast empfangen. Viele bringen diesen Besuch mit dem Sieg der Kurden in Kobane in Verbindung. Was sagen Sie dazu?

Anwar Moslem: Unser Kampf war ein Krieg gegen einen Terror, der auch die USA, Frankreich, Kanada und Australien bedrohte. Zur gleichen Zeit, vor vier Monaten, fiel auch Kobane diesem Terror zum Opfer. Wenn unseren jungen Männer und Frauen diesen Terror bekämpfen, dann tun sie dies nicht nur für Kobane, sondern für die ganze Welt. Alle demokratischen und friedliebenden Menschen, die sich für Kobane einsetzten, haben ebenfalls Anteil am Sieg. Die Einladung von Herrn Hollande hat uns mit Stolz erfüllt. Wir hoffen, dass weitere Politiker Kobane unterstützen, indem sie Kobane besuchen, Delegationen schicken. Wir hoffen auch, dass uns unsere Freunde und Verbündeten aus den USA beim Wiederaufbau unterstützen, so wie sie auch zu Beginn des Kampfes an unserer Seite standen.

***

Mutlu Civiroglu ist Analyst der Kurdischen Frage mit Schwerpunkt Syrien und Türkei” Er verfolgt insbesondere den Kampf der YPG gegen die ISIS und andere dschihadistische Gruppen.

***

Vom Kurdischen ins Deutsche übersetzt von N. Ozdemir

Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy

*Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy

YPG_FSA_Kobane

By Mutlu Civiroglu and Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

Now that the anti-ISIS coalition has struck Raqqa in Syria, it must seriously consider the Kurds as its most effective on the ground partners. The Obama administration needs local partners in Iraq and Syria to fight against the jihadist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State) if it hopes to maintain any gains resulting from its attacks on ISIS positions.

A spokesperson of the main Kurdish armed group in Syria highlighted the importance of Kurdish assets. “Whoever wants to destroy ISIS should take YPG into consideration. Let me say clearly that any strategy in Syria without YPG is doomed to fail,” the People’s Protection Units (YPG) spokesperson Polat Can said in our interview with him. Given the Kurds’ extensive experience and professionalism, they represent the best the best chance to revitalize a beleaguered Syrian resistance and help President Obama achieve his objectives.

In his September 10 speech, President Obama ruled out the Assad regime as a partner in fighting ISIS and emphasized strengthening the Syrian opposition. “We must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all,” he said. While admirable that the president choose not to work with a man whose preferred strategy involves bombing his own civilian population, it leaves a dearth of effective partners on the ground. However, in Syria—just as in Iraq—cooperation between Kurds and Arabs could play a key role in eliminating ISIS. US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey recognized the fact that Kurds constitute an important part of Obama’s new strategy to fight ISIS.

Although Iraq has witnessed firsthand the effects of ISIS-induced instability, neighboring Syria has suffered far more with the advances and atrocities of the extremist group. ISIS has succeeded in wiping out many Syrian nationalist armed groups that comprise the bulk of moderate anti-Assad opposition. Both the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Kurds have faced attacks by ISIS, leading to incredibly large refugee flows into Turkey.

Nonetheless, the Kurdish YPG forces have successfully fought ISIS and won most of its battles in both Iraq and Syria. Not only was the YPG an asset in the rescue operation for thousands of Yezidis fleeing from Iraq’s Sinjar, it also secured a wide area in northern Syria from the Kurdish city of Afrin to Yarubiya, a town border to Iraq, despite the extremist push against Kurdish villages. These regions maintain relative stability compared to other parts of Syria, allowing Kurds, Arabs, and Christians to live peacefully together, thanks in large part to the ability of the YPG to keep a modicum of security.

Western diplomats have traditionally been reluctant to meet the PYD for their ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), viewed as a terrorist group in the United States and Turkey. After successful operations against ISIS extremists, however, both countries have begun reevaluating their positions towards it. The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials recognize the fact that Kurdish fighters in Syria may play a critical role in the campaign against ISIS, and have conducted talks with Syrian Kurds. The success of the YPG also prompted Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman to write about how the fight against ISIS has given the YPG and the PKK more legitimacy.

For their part, the Syrian Kurds have not only expressed interest and enthusiasm in pursuing Obama strategy against ISIS, they have already laid the groundwork for cooperation with Syrian nationalists. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), YPG Spokesman Polat Can said, “We are the most experienced military force fighting against IS, and we are willing to actively participate in the international coalition. We are currently meeting many countries on this issue including with those who are decision makers.”

As the YPG continue its fight against ISIS on several fronts, it hosted a former rival on August 22. FSA Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi sought to mend fences with the Kurds by meeting YPG commander with General Commander of YPG Sipan Hemo in the Kurdish city of Afrin, north of Aleppo. Al-Oqaidi, the former head of the FSA’s military council in Aleppo, initially angered the Kurds by fighting jointly with Islamist groups against the Kurds in Aleppo. The FSA said it attacked the YPG for supporting Assad. Kurds allege this led to the killing of nineteen Kurdish civilians and the kidnapping of at least 400 others by the various rebel groups.

But in January last year, alliances started to change, when the Free Syrian Army clashed with ISIS, and lost huge swaths of territory in Syria, including Raqqa and the oil fields in Deir Ezzor. This led new cooperation between rebel groups and the Kurds, resulting in an agreement between the YPG and the Ahl as-Sham operation room in April last year to fight ISIS in Aleppo, and to cooperate against Assad. On August 22, al-Akidi and an FSA-delegation apologized for the FSA’s past mistakes, saying that Kurds, Christians, and Arabs, should work for the overthrow of the Syrian regime. “We want to work with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the FSA if they accept the rights of Kurdish people and correct past mistakes,” Hemo said in a video.

In an exclusive interview, the Defense Minister of local Afrin Canton government Abdo Chilo, who took part in the meeting between the YPG and the FSA in Afrin, also told the Atlantic Council that the FSA wants to open a new page with the Kurds. “We told him we accepted his apology and we valued his visit. He realizes the power of YPG and wants closer relations with us, something we have long desired as well.”

The Kurds appear ready to fight alongside any secular group that will work for a pluralistic and democratic Syria against ISIS and the Assad regime. “We value Akidi’s visit and his request of help from YPG. It shows his willingness to work and create something good. We are ready to form a joint front with FSA and work against IS thugs and the brutal Assad regime,” Chilo added.

YPG spokesman Polat Can told Turkey’s daily Radikal that they are ready to work with anyone who is willing to fight against ISIS. “It has been over two years that we have been fighting against ISIS and like-minded extremist groups. We are keen on collaborating with moderate that respect to democracy, human rights and accept our national rights as Kurds.”

This historic meeting signifies a major starting point for effective cooperation against ISIS as well as the Assad regime. The meeting led to the formation of a new joint FSA-YPG operations room named “Euphrates Volcano” on September 10 in Kobane, which will carry out operations in areas surrounding Kobane, including the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqah. One day after its formation, the joint operation room carried out its first attack against ISIS in Qara Qawzak.

Abdurrahman Saleh, a spokesperson for ISIS, confirmed in our interview with him an alliance between Syrian anti-Assad rebels and Kurds, but suggested it to be a local alliance rather than a cohesive policy. “Some battalions of al-Tawheed brigade in Aleppo cooperate with the YPG against ISIS, but I do not know if this is a general decision, or a specific case. It may be a local agreement, rather than an overall strategy,” he said.

The new rebel alliance between the Kurds and the FSA could provide a determining factor to stop the expansion of the ISIS caliphate. If the FSA and the YPG can maintain a joint front, it will likely have a major impact on the success of fight both the militant group and the Assad regime in the longer run. The YPG, with its experienced and skilled fighters and strong popular support can provide a morale boost for the secular and moderate Syrian opposition and be a determining factor in preventing ISIS expansion in Syria. For Obama and the anti-ISIS coalition, keeping the Kurds incentivized to be their boots on the ground will be the key to fighting this war.

Mutlu Civiroglu is a Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. He has been closely monitoring YPG’s fight against IS and other jihadist groups. You can follow him on Twitter @mutludc

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is an analyst of Kurdish politics for the Jamestown Foundation and a contributing writer for Al-Monitor

* This article was originally published on Atlantic Council Website on September 23,  2014

US Consul Espinoza: “Biji Obama” Chants by Kurds Are Important For US

John L. Espinoza US Consoul to Adana, Turkey (Photo: http://adana.usconsulate.gov/consul_general.html
John L. Espinoza, US Consul to Adana, Turkey

Commenting on the “Biji Obama [Long Live Obama]” chants by Kurds after the U.S. bombarded ISIS targets in Syria’s Kobane, U.S. Consul John L. Espinoza said it was important for them to see the support people gave to their fight.

“I cannot speak directly for the White House, but the fight against ISIS is very important for the U.S. We see defeating ISIS as being linked to us. Of course, it is very important for us that people who see our fight support us,” said Espinoza, who is the U.S. consul in Turkey’s Adana province.

Espinoza said their fight against ISIS would continue and they were discussing ways in which they could better continue the fight against the ISIS threat together with the coalition forces.

“As this threat constantly changes, we don’t know how to fight against it tomorrow. Therefore, we need to assess the threat very well and struggle with it accordingly,” said Espinoza, adding that in meetings they conducted, they learned the reconstruction of Kobane was very important and they were working on the topic together with the coalition forces and Turkey.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

***

Please Click the Player Below for the Video

Video by DHA 

Psaki: We’ll Continue to Support the Brave Defenders of Kobani

Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the US State Department
Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the US State Department

Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the State Department comments on Kobane on Daily Press Briefing of January 27, 2015:

QUESTION:  The biggest challenge in Kobani seems to be over. The Kurdish officials from Iraq and from Kobani have declared victory there.  But as you know, there are many more challenges that faces the rebels protecting the city.  Of course, they have said it officially that they don’t have ammunition – enough ammunition and stuff.  Also the civilians who want to go back to the city, when they want to rebuild the city – I’m wondering whether the United States is going to be a major player in terms of providing humanitarian and military assistance for the people and the rebels there to help alleviate the challenge that remain.

PSAKI:  Well, we have been, continue to be, have consistently been the largest provider of humanitarian assistance as it relates to the Syria conflict in the world, and that won’t change.  And certainly, as there are humanitarian needs, whether it’s in Kobani and other places, I expect that we will contribute – continue to be major contributors.

I know you’re looking ahead, but obviously the point we’re at now, so let me just reiterate this.  As CENTCOM announced yesterday, anti-ISIL forces now control approximately 90 percent of the city of Kobani, and we congratulate its brave defenders.  We’ll continue to support them as we look to the coming weeks ahead.  This is an important step in the first phase of a long-term campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, because of the strategic value ISIL places on Kobani.

I think, broadly speaking, the fight against ISIL is far from over, but we do feel that their failure in Kobani has denied them one of their strategic objectives.  And over time, we’ve seen that they’ve not only used Kobani as a base for driving their own narrative of inevitability, but also they’ve put a lot of resources and people into Kobani as well.

QUESTION:  There is no doubt that without the United States military support, the rebels would not have been able, probably, to do what they have done.  But as you know, the United States has helped transfer weapons to those rebels.  But should we expect that they would receive more ammunition?  Because probably the United States is the only partner they can look up to now.  Turkey is not going to do that; Syrian Government is not going to do that.  Should we expect the United States to do that?  Because ISIS could, at any moment, when the airstrikes are gone, come back and recapture the town and attack the town.

PSAKI:  As I mentioned, we will continue to support the effort.  In terms of more specifics, I’d certainly point you to my colleagues at the Department of Defense.

Source: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/01/236800.htm#SYRIA

 

Chief YPG Commander Berxwedan: Our Victory is the Beginning of the End for 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 other officials Photo (Mislim Nebo)

Mahmud Berxwedan, the chief commander of the YPG in Kobane delivered a speech at the special ceremony held about the liberation of Kobane City.

“ISIS thugs should know that just as the houses of Kobane became a graveyard for them, our villages will also be a graveyard for them. Our victory is the beginning of the end for ISIS worldwide.”

Berxwedan recalled that victory had come a day before the anniversary of the declaration of the founding of the Kobane canton, adding: “We will continue to resist until not one square meter of our land is under occupation. We would like to thank everyone who supported us, in particular those maintaining the vigil on the border.”

YPG commander also thanked the coalition forces led by the USA that supported the Kobane resistance from the air, the FSA forces that fought alongside the YPG/YPJ and peshmerga forces that provided support with heavy weaponry.

“Our struggle has not ended yet. Our villages are under occupation and the threat to Kobane has not gone away. I call on the youth of Rojava and Kobane to join the operation to liberate the villages. If we cannot liberate our land we will have to live a 100 years under ISIS barbarism.”

Source: http://en.firatajans.com/gallery/our-victory-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-isis/our-victory-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-isis-1422360472