The Rojava Committees, a Swedish solidarity group, outlined their actions to demonstrate that support for Syrian Kurdish groups remains legitimate in Sweden in an article published in the Swedish magazine ETC on Wednesday.
This follows a diplomatic deal in July in which Turkey agreed to support Sweden’s NATO membership in return for Sweden’s pledge not to support the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party, which Turkey considers ‘terrorist’. This was hailed as a victory by the Turkish government and its media, which claimed that Sweden had accepted Ankara’s position, despite the fact that Turkey’s definition of Kurdish groups in Syria as “terrorists” is supported in the world only by Qatar.
The Rojava Committees have said that this interpretation is unfounded and that Sweden’s commitment not to support the YPG doesn’t mean it recognises them as terrorists.
In fact, the official memorandum between Turkey and Sweden does not use the term “terrorist” when referring to these groups. “Sweden reiterates that it will not provide support to the YPG/PYD,” reads the text on NATO’s official website.
To prove that Sweden is still free to support these Kurdish groups, the Rojava Committees organised two different actions in recent days.
Firstly, they have organised a big demonstration that will take place in Stockholm on 30 September. This protest follows an earlier demonstration, which Erdoğan denounced as “unacceptable” and damaging to the relations between Sweden and Turkey.
Secondly, the Rojava Committees, in cooperation with the Left Party in Malmö, openly collected 114,541 SEK (over $10,000) for the YPG and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). The funds have already reached the Kurdish forces, and the YPJ spokesperson expressed gratitude for the support, stressing the importance of supporting their efforts to promote women’s rights and grassroots democracy.
In the article, the Rojava committees also stressed the urgent need for support against Turkish military offensives in the region. The solidarity group alleged that Salafist militias, some with links to extremist groups such as al-Qaeda, have been trained, led and equipped by Turkey, citing UN reports that have raised concerns about alleged war crimes committed in areas under their control, including rape, ethnic cleansing, torture and abductions.
While maintaining their support for the Kurdish-led North and East Syria, the Rojava Committees stressed the right to “self-defence” for those “facing invasion”.
“If Erdoğan still sends his troops across the border to violate international law, it’s clear to us who deserves everyone’s support,” the solidarity group said.