The spokesperson for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest armed force in north and east Syria governed by the Autonomus Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), spoke to Mesopotamya News Agency on Turkey’s recent threats and preparations for a new military operation, as military activity is observed along the entire border between Syria and Turkey.
Nuri Mehmud said that the Turkish administration was trying to prolong its rule in the face of a political, economic, social and military collapse by means of instigating a war while the peoples of Turkey sought the revival of democracy and freedoms instead of militaristic aggression.
Indicating that the armed groups active in areas under Turkish occupation in Syria were extensions of al-Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Nusra, Mehmud said they were falsely presented by the Turkish administration as ‘opposition groups’:
“The groups which fought against us under the banner of the Islamic State are now used for the Turkish administration’s interests under the guise of a so-called Syrian opposition. They are attacking Ayn Issa, Tel Tamer and Shahba, and haven’t stopped till now.”
Emphasising that some important achievements regarding democracy and freedoms have been made under the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria, which covers nearly 40 percent of the whole of the Syrian population, he drew attention to the situation in Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) and Tell Abyad (Girê Spî), which are all are currently under Turkish occupation.
“The United States and other states in the International Coalition know very well that what Erdoğan [Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan] ‘claims’ to be doing and what he actually does are not the same. What has been carried out in Afrin is a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds. Similar policies have been carried out in Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî as well. It is absolutely a policy of annexation that Turkey is carrying out in the region. They have now come up with a new incursion plan but they couldn’t get what they sought on the table from other powers. Unlike the case during the Trump administration, the US and other powers are no longer on positive terms with Turkey’s policies.”
Mehmud stated that the claims about the Syrian government and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) setting up a joint operations centre were not true. He also referred to their earlier experience during the Turkish occupation of Afrin in 2018.
“We’d called upon the Syrian Army and urged them to fulfill their defence responsibilities. The Syrian Army is constitutionally bound to defend Syrian soil. But they didn’t even move. They’ve only ever tried to protect the gains of the Baath regime. The recent claims do not reflect the truth. Such disinformation is circulated to exploit the current chaotic situation. The people of North and East Syria have been abandoned up till now. The region of Shahba is surrounded. There’s no delivery of diesel oil and gas to this region. While this is the situation, those circulating the claim that ‘the Syrian government and SDF have come to terms and set up a joint operations centre’ are actually trying to exploit the situation. These things are controlled by regional powers. Russia ought to be aware of this too and implement solutions accordingly.”
Mehmud also commented on the claims about a deal between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan regarding Kobanê and Idlib.
“Turkey wants to attack the Autonomous Administration. Russia wants to make progress in Idlib. There are intentions of launching a new war on such ambitions. But a war can’t solve anything any more. Idlib needs to be liberated. Turkey’s presence in Idlib must be terminated in accordance with international law. The return of the civilians must be ensured. Idlib is Syrian soil and belongs to the Syrian people (…) There are rumours that Putin and Erdoğan may be negotiating on a deal around Kobanê and İdlib, but there’s been no move indicating such a deal yet. Such things have been encountered earlier in the process, however. Such deals were made for Afrin. But a new deal of this nature will only serve to aggravate the war. It won’t serve a solution.”