General Commander of YPG, Sipan Hemo commented on the recent progress following the invasion of Mosul by the radicals of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Hemo drew particular attention to Kirkuk and said "Kirkuk is the Jerusalem of Kurds. Within the YPG we are at all times prepared to defend Kirkuk together with our brothers, no matter the conditions." Hemo pointed that there now is a historical opportunity for the Kurds and added "The Kurdish people and people of Kurdistan will have the victory."
Answering questions from ANF, Sipan Hemo evaluated the attacks and invasion by ISIS, which started in Mosul June 10 and progressively moved towards regions near Kirkuk. Hemo assured they will be ready to defend the people of Southern Kurdistan together with the Peshmerga's, not only by words as they in fact already by now have actively participated in a joined war against the radicals.
-The radicals have intensified their attacks in particular in the provinces of Mosul and Kikuk. How would you comment on this?
"I like to extend our greetings to the Kurdish people and those of Kurdistan. We wish victory for Kurds in all parts [of Kurdistan] as we stand ready to step in wherever there might be a need for us.
In latest days, we have witnessed important progress and changes in the region, particularly in Kurdistan. In YPG, we have monitored these happenings closely and will continue to do so as it involves us closely. For this reason we make our plans, take our precautions and are in midst of preparations.
Short time ago the ongoing developments started to show signs of coming. And few days back the radicals from ISID performed a series of brutal attacks against certain points belonging to PUK in Southern Kurdistan leading to human casualties. Then they attacked Mosul and the surroundings leading to an actual invasion.
We have previously warned against this sort of activities as we now for more than a year have fought against and been at war with ISID. Our units have resisted for more than a year against this group and have protected the people of Rojava and the Kurds. Still we shall continue to protect our people. Our forces have shown a fearless resistance and have bravely protected Kurds and all people of Kurdistan. Now and then we added to our statements that any attack against us is an attack against all Kurds. Very clearly, we had pointed that targeting Rojava equals to target the entire Kurdistan. However, our statements unfortunately have led to various actions due to the fact that some parties were concerned of narrow benefits of their own.
This is why these continuous strikes have led to brutal attacks against our people in Southern Kurdistan. Within YPG we have given our words to our people. We promised that no matter where it may come from, we would protect our people against any attacks and keep up our struggle and resistance. Bound by our words we expect from ourselves to protect our people in Southern Kurdistan and this is what our struggle is for now."
-Did the attacks happen to be sudden? Do you not expect to find international and regional forces behind this?
"The recent activities possess a very serious situation and must be thoroughly evaluated. No activities of this region happens to be of a random character nor of any ease. Lengthy planning and preparations need to be done. No city like Mosul or any other city in Iraq can be invaded overnight like this and plans have been done for a long time. There are obviously a series of forces behind the radicals and their homework. Invasion of a city like Mosul within just few hours cannot happen without the knowledge of international forces and their intelligence services. Nor can any of these be unaware of the preparations of these attacks. Thousands of individuals come together, make their preparations, settle their heavy artillery and move toward a city of high value for the entire world. Can any of these happen without anyone knowing of it beforehand? None such arguments can be true. There are preparations, plans and certain initiatives by various forces ahead of this to happen. Of course, this is nothing to happen suddenly. Future will disclose that international forces knew very well of this, and this will not take long."
-What do the attacks aim for?
"Mosul and Kirkuk are just parts of these strikes. The attacks constitute solely parts of overall attacks toward the region, especially Kurdistan. In one way, it aims to split the region in various shapes and by doings this to place all people, cultures, societies and groups and all beliefs against each other. It aims to goad the Middle East towards civil war, brawl and a quagmire. This will pave the way for international forces to benefit from the situation economically such as the weapon industry.
No matter the path of these activities, we had previously stated that Middle East is in midst of a third world war. The wars in Syria and Iraq clearly prove that a third world war is ongoing in the region."
-What is your stand as YPG?
"Within the Peoples Protecting Units YPG the most important for us is the gain of Kurdish people and people of Kurdistan, no matter whatever is going on in Iraq or in Syria. For us it is the gain, the freedom and free future of all Kurds, Arabs, Keldanis, Assyrians, Syriacs, Armenians, Turkmens and other people, is of most importance. It is the protection and assuring of these, which we are the guarantee of. Our first degree of concern is the protection of the gains of people of Kurdistan, which we have done under heavy attacks against us in Rojava. And as of now we have clearly declared that we will stand by the official forces of the Southern Kurdistan, the Peshmerga, in protecting our people and other people of Kurdistan. First, we declared our will of doing so and then we showed in practical.
Today our forces within the YPG has fought side by side with Peshmerga's in the city of Rabia and province of Sengal against the radicals of ISID. This could have been in Rojava, Southern Kurdistan, Mosul or in Kirkuk, there is no difference. We are ready to protect our land and achievements together with our brothers in Southern Kurdistan. For this reason, these recent attacks, possessing a serious threat, have proven one issue clear.
We have taken a stand during these days. In fact, this is not a new stand from our side, it has always been our position, from the very beginning. Ever since YPG was formed this has been our policy. That is to be ready to defend the Kurdish areas under any attack wherever and whenever. Some argue that YPG recently has adapted this line of policy. On the contrary, this is the founding principle of YPG, our philosophy. Till this moment we have stood resisting against all attacks. May it be Northern Kurdistan or Eastern Kurdistan, we will adapt the same standpoint. We in YPG will preserve this attitude at all times.
Thus, the following we shall make clear. For soon 1,5 years our YPG forces have been at war with radicals from ISID. We have been at war in a region governing from Afrin, Cezire to Yaroubia (Tel Kocher in Kurdish), which has continued for more than a year. Our forces have gained experienced during these fights and our resistance, while our fighters have reached a certain level of proficiency. With this self-confidence and belief we feel prepared to engage in protecting our people in Southern Kurdistan and other people in our country and not allowing anyone to cross passing our land.
For sure, our people in Southern [Kurdistan] have their own forces, namely the Peshmerga's. Whenever these forces ask and call for our support, we shall provide our help by all possible means. We are ready to join their military posts and stand side by side with them in fighting against this violent and brutal group, which has set its mind to attack the entire Kurdish people. We will resist against this group and will share our experiences, provide opportunities and be at war together with the Peshmerga's.
-How do these attacks oblige Kurds and people of Kurdistan to act in the near future?
Today it is evident that there is no certainty as to for what benefits these groups are fighting and whom they are representing since they at times fight for the interests of regional countries and at times for gains of international forces.
Moreover, since it is evident that these evil forces target all Kurds another reality reveals itself, and that is the importance of national Kurdish unity. The only certain block against these threatening attacks is a unified Kurdish national congress, where all parts come together to formulate a common force, policy and defence system to protect the Kurdish nation. This is no longer an option, but an obligation.
-What do you expect from the new scenario in the region and in Kurdistan?
We should pay careful attention to what is going on in the region, for multiple reasons. Firstly, this socalled ISID initially fought against the Free Syrian Army. Then, all of sudden, they revealed their true identity as they attacked the Kurdish regions. There is no inconsistency between this group and the Shia state. In fact, a certain level of collaboration was even observed. We saw very clearly how the Syrian Ba'ath regime pay no heed to their activities at certain points and even openly supported at other points. Then again, we saw that this group turned their faces toward Iraq to fight against Shia, the Maliqi administration. This appears to be a contradiction, but in its nature it is not at all. An international project is designed and framed in form of ISID, which is active all over the region with the purpose of paving the way for other interests. Current attacks from ISID occurred simultaneously with the talks expected to be between the Hasan Ruhani [Iranian President] and Turkey. Way before Ruhanis vist, Iran and Turkey have had a long list of secret meetings. Following these meetings, Ruhani visited Turkey and the attacks occurred shortly after these meetings. We thus believe that the new strikes occurred in line with these talks. Moreover, both USA and other Western countries are engaged in providing backing for the activities, since none of these countries can claim that their intelligence forces were unaware of this coming as they argue to be knowledgeable about even flying birds in the air. How convincing is it now to argue that they did not saw preparations of heavy artillery and military operations coming. Impossible. Only children will be convinced of this. Thus with these attacks all parts have joined – each for their own benefit – without any clear sense for where this could lead.
Needless to say, one is pounded about whether the overall aim is to split Syria and Iraq each into a Sunni part and a Shia part. This is indeed a plan between Iran and international forces. Iran has always had dreams of a Shia frontier going from Tehran to Baghdad and from their over Damascus to Lebanon. For the Iranian state there is no interest in the Northern Syria or Northern Iraq. The interest is within the Shia frontier, this is of relevance for her.
On the other hand, Iran is engaged in forming a Sunni area under a Salafi leadership in Northern Iraq and is attempting to engage international forces with her. What is most of importance is that Iran is using these groups [ISID] to attack Kurdistan and the Kurdish areas. For instance, they are attempting to form a Salafist government in Mosul-Tiqrit-Salahaddin from where they could attack the Kurdish regions. Likewise, they want to handover Aleppo-Raqqa to ISID and from there attack Kurdistan. This will complicate the problems even more and form an impossible scenario to solve. They want to deepen inconsistencies and fights in order to have reason to intervene. Western forces want to benefit from the crisis. This is their aim."
TURKEY PLACED AL-NUSRA BUT NOT ISIS ON TERROR-LIST
-Do these attacks provide opportunities as they possess threats for Kurds and Kurdistan?
As of speaking, we are at fight against these groups in Kobani and in Cezire. In parallel with this, we are ready to fight together with our brothers in South. We are that organised, ordered and ready for command. Because the aims of this socalled ISID is not targeting Shia's, this we observe in Syria. They are not targetting Sunni, this was proven in Iraq. Also from their obvious relations with Turkey, it is evident that they are not targeting Sunni. The relations between ISID and Turkey are clear. For instance, Davutoglu declared yesterday that a number of their vehicles were released following talks. A week ago, Turkish forces were escorted by ISID to Jarablus and from there to Mumbic and Sah Suleiman. There they shifted their forces and returned to Turkey following the same path. Finally, and very obviously, we saw that Turkey placed Al-Nusra on their terror-list but not ISID.
All of these reveal tight relations and intense negotiations. ISID does not differ between Sunnis in Turkey and in Iraq, their target is the people of Kurdistan. And Kurdistan.
Now, facing these attacks all people of Kurdistan should join in spirit, emotions and thoughts and protect this land of ours. These attacks are both threatening but could also bring an opportunity. Kirkuk was a dream for Kurds. The Iraqi army declared today that they are not able to protect it. Kurds should protect Kirkuk by all means. Of course, we too at YPG are ready for this holy mission. Kirkuk is the Jerusalem of Kurds and is one of the most important places of Kurdistan. Kirkuk is no different from Amed, Qamishli and Mahabad for Kurds. We want to say that the YPG is ready to protect Kirkuk with our brothers and likewise all forces of Kurdistan should take stand in a clear position towards this.
This is historic moment for Kurds and we should take advantage of it. Kurds and the people of Kurdistan will prevail. We are the rightful ones...