A senior representative of the major component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that has been serving as the ground force in the international coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, said that Turkey’s fresh incursions into North and East Syria were likely to help boost ISIS activities in the region.
The People’s Defence Units (YPG) that constitute a significant part of the SDF, the armed force of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), is regarded by the Turkish authorities as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish administrations have been engaged in a war against the PKK since 1984, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdopan recently signaled a fresh large scale military campaign into territories controlled by the AANES, presenting it as part of the war against the PKK.
Speaking to Fırat News Agency (ANF), Nuri Mahmud, spokesperson for the People’s Defence Units (YPG), said on Friday:
“ISIS attacks increase alongside Turkey’s incursions. ISIS regains strength and there is a surge in its activites. This signifies a re-emergence of terror risks. The world has to consider this. It’s time that the relations between the Turkish administration and ISIS are scrutinised. There are countless evidences. The [January] attack in Hasakah was one of the cases that demonstrate these relations. Now there’s the risk of a fresh ISIS attack on the Al Hol camp.”
Asked about how YPG would respond to a possible Turkish campaign, Mahmud responded:
“North and East Syria’s organisations of defence, including YPG and SDF, underwent serious processes in recent years. They gained experiences in terms of defending themselves and the achievements of the revolution through battles, particularly in Afrin, Serêkaniyê [Ras al-Ayn] and Girê Spî [Tell Abyad] (…) There will not be a repetition of the cases in Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. In the case of a large sccale attack, the attackers will be receiving an unprecedented response.”
Asked about Turkey’s declared objective of establishing a ‘belt’ along the Turkish-Syrian border, Mahmud said:
“The belt Erdoğan has been mentioning about are territories where democratic achievements have been made. He’s talking about Kurdish-majority areas that have been experiencing revolutionary changes. His remarks reveal his fear of Kurds, democracy, and human rights. He wishes to destroy a new pioneering administrative model that emerged in Syria.”