YPG fighters in Afrin
People's Protection Units (YPG) Commander Sipan Hemo, speaking to Yeni Ozgur Politika, said that the existence of the Turkish state in Rojava-Syria is illegitimate and against the people there.
"In all ways the Turkish state is an occupying force. Nobody can close their eyes to this reality. The fact that its goal is the defeat of the Rojava Revolution does not change that fact."
Hemo added that all the Rojava and Syrian people were expecting the US to explain the limits of the agreement and cooperation with the Turks.
YPG Commander Sipan Hemo answered questions about the attempted occupation of Afrin and Shehba, which the Turkish state has recently clearly expressed, and its quest for an agreement with Russia to achieve this.
The Turkish state and the gangs within it occupied the Jarablus-Bab-Azaz triangle, but after being blocked in Manbij and kept away from the Raqqa assault, it was not enough to intensify attacks on the lines of Shehba and Afrin. Can you tell us precisely what the Turkey is trying to do?
The Turkish state officially invaded the region from Jarablus to Exterin, from Exterin to Bab, and left the "Euphrates Shield" groups there. These groups were from the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) since the beginning of the Syrian war and they were 'warriors' against Syria first. Then they changed direction and began a war against the Rojava Revolution and Kurds. For this reason, they have concentrated on the Azaz and Shehba lines since then. Now they are sending in reinforcements here every day.
The Turkish state's aims are complex and run deep; They are trying to launch an operation that starts from the Jarablus line to Shehba and Bab, from there an operation on Rojava to join all of it with Idlib. They want to establish an authority in this region that is officially run by the gangs but is actually the Turkish state. So, after strengthening sovereignty here, the Turkish state will continue its aim of liquidating the Rojava Revolution from Afrin line. At the same time, it will try to weigh in on Syria's future and have a say in its restructuring. In other words, the desire, the target of the Turkish state and the plans accordingly depend on what it is doing now. It does not hide this. [Turkish officials] have clearly expressed the desire to join the region between Jarablus and Manbij to Idlib. Aleppo was also among these plans before, but after they agreed with Russia, Aleppo was left out. Now, there are plans to build a corridor towards Rojava from the Shehba line to Idlib.
We are expecting attacks on both Shehba and Afrin from Azaz and Idlib in order to weaken our powers in the coming period and to create a corridor and control from Jarablus to Idlib. They are sending in reinforcements and stacking munitions to achieve this. From time to time we are being attacked, and are responding instantly. All their attacks were repelled. There is no change in the field dominance until now.
Afrin has been under a kind of siege for a long time, nevertheless it has gone a long way in terms of both organising legitimate defence and society. How prepared is the whole social structure of Afrin; military and political institutions, relations and alliances for such an attack. What can you say about the composition and deployment of your military forces?
Afrin, as you have mentioned, has long been under siege and experienced different levels of war. It's been fighting like this almost since 2012. In this long term, our forces have both developed a serious defence and achieved valuable things. That such a power is careful, prepared and well placed for war is already an essential task. The people of Afrin are also very brave and not afraid of making sacrifices. Despite all the hardships, bother, siege and embargo, Afrin has displayed an honourable stance. There is also a determination to show a stance beyond even this. Our belief is that if the Turkish state attempts to invade Afrin today or intensifies its attacks the people of Afrin will stand beside the defence forces and support it. Turkey's attempt will open the gates of a new era of success, contrary to the anticipation of our enemies. The Rojava Revolution will complete an important phase of the process. I want to emphasise this and nobody should forget it: Afrin will play a major role in both its own defence and the liberation of the Shehba. I will not go into details, but all our forces are ready at the highest level against any possibility.
The Baath regime and its allies have also shown discomfort regarding the offensive of the YPG-led SDF on Raqqa, which is being carried out with the support of the US-led International Coalition, and the slander turned into an attack. There are claims that this common discomfort with the Turks is also shared with Russia and Iran and that the Turkish army has been given tacit support for the occupation. How do you read this, what is the attitude of Russia-Iran-Baath?
This approach is correct and we see it the same way. The progression and successes of the SDF under the leadership of the YPG and support provided by the US-led International Coalition is naturally disturbing the other bloc. This is evident. Of course they are uncomfortable and this discomfort will continue. So it is possible for the Turkish state to lay the groundwork for new attacks and occupation attempts. Our alliances and accomplishments are disturbing the bloc formed around Russia. They are not happy with this.
This crisis will manifest itself more clearly in the forthcoming period.
Our problem or issue is not how these forces view each other or their approach to one another. Our project and actions for the democratisation of Rojava and Syria is open for all to see. We are working towards our own goals and in line with our own agenda. Therefore rather than focus on the agenda or projects of the US, Russia and other forces we focus on our own projects and actions. Because this is what is essential for us: our plans and goals. Our relationship with international powers is based on this. Our framework is Rojava's freedom and Syria's democratisation. Naturally, we have the right to expect respect and understanding from powerful states like the USA and Russia.
How much does the US, which is leading the International Coalition, know about Turkey's maneouvers and what is it planning on doing in the event it is carried out?
The US, which is leading the International Coalition must answer this question openly and clearly. They are the ones who need to explain the boundaries of the relationship with the Turks, the preparations, the agreements and the cooperation, the frame, and the extent it is against us. Therefore, it is the expectation of all the peoples of Rojava and Syria that the respondent of this question answer it satisfactorily.
If we assume that all this is being done to prevent victory in Raqqa, how do you view this victory from Afrin and what will its effects be?
The success in Raqqa and ultimate victory there will not be local. It will begin a new and blessed process for all of Syria. It will play the role of forming the base for the democratisation of Syria. We have been thinking this since the liberation of Manbij. Our struggle against terrorism will continue everywhere. Our goal is not a secret, it is very clear: we are not doing what we are doing because we want to be just a part of Syria, on the contrary, it is to become the main / founding element of the democratisation of Syria.
Due to this stance, we don't have much to say on scenarios based on covert, dirty cooperation between the international forces and the Turks. Our goals and methods, and the alliance based on these are highly transparent.
During Ramadan the Turkish President repeated that the Kurds would never be allowed recognition and a status. What other evils can be expected, where can your reaction against these evils evolve?
Our goal in this region is very clear and transparent. We do not accept any form of occupation of the Turkish state in this region. They may have acquired some facilities and formed international alliances. I underline that; We do not care for these alliances and do not recognise them. The liberation of the Azaz-Jarablus line will always be our goal and we will continue to struggle for this. From the beginning, the Turkish state took an illegitimate position against Rojava and Syria; their presence is against the peoples. The Turkish state is an occupying force. Nobody can close their eyes to this reality. The fact that its goal is the defeat of the Rojava Revolution does not change this fact.
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