TEV-DEM official Bedran Çiya Kurd said the Syrian forces coming to Afrin is “a military partnership with Damascus in the face of the Turkish state invasion and genocide plans”.
Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) Executive Council Member Bedran Çiya Kurd spoke to the ANF about the invasion operation by the Turkish state and their allied gangs, the arrival of protection of the people units under the Syrian army into Afrin, how foreign powers in Syria see this, and the balance in the region.
We would like to start with the resistance. Because Afrin has shown a historic resistance for the last 33 days. What do you think about this 33 days of resistance?
33 days ago when the Turkish state launched the invasion attempt against Afrin, they said they would take Afrin in 3 hours, later revised to 3 days. In the battle field, however, despite all their advantage in numbers and technology, they came up against the will of our people and our fighters. They came up against an unprecedented resistance, which has continued for 33 days straight.
The resistance changed a lot of things. It caused a transformation and rupture among enemy lines. For instance, after the first week of the resistance, some of the gangs the Turkish state gathered decided not to fight. Because they were broken. Afrin turned into a swamp for them. The Turkish army suffered losses when they went down to the field themselves. They suffered great losses. Now Turkey’s public is starting to question this situation.
Cracks began to form in the opposite side. When they failed to achieve the results they wanted through military means, they resorted to attacking barbarically. They use all kinds of weapons. They targeted civilians and used various types of weapons, including chemical ones. They started bombing medical facilities, water plants, historic sites and schools. They targeted vital needs to push the people out of the land. Our people were left face to face with a very advanced fascism, and they held on to the resistance, displaying a glorious one at that. Our people have decided to resist this fascism to the end.
You say the resistance is starting to achieve results. In this line, some units from the protection of the people forces under the Syrian army arrived in Afrin yesterday. There are several questions in people’s minds on this matter. On what principles have these forces arrived in Afrin?
Here we tell our people and the public this: The arrival of these forces happened as a result of several meetings between the YPG and the Syrian army. But the Afrin Autonomous Administration had already called on the Syrian army to protect their borders before. We will leave it to the military forces to explain the principles and details of this agreement in full. The numbers, mission, positions and duties of these forces have all been determined through meetings with the YPG. All details of this agreement will be announced by the YPG.
We believe it is a legitimate and positive step that the Syrian army has come to Afrin to protect the province’s borders. Because Afrin is part of Syria. Afrin’s borders are Syria’s borders. The border issue is an issue of sovereignty, and this needs to be defended in conjunction. This duty against the invasion falls on the Syrian army just as much as it falls on us.
Your project is also based on Syria’s unity…
Yes. The project we developed as democratic autonomy and the Northern Syrian Federation is a project that proposes to stay within the borders of Syria and argues for the unity of Syria. It is not a project based on separating from Syria or tearing a piece apart. There are many things we will be discussing with Damascus in the future. Those are issues that will be discussed and decided together with Damascus.
These forces under the Syrian army arriving in Afrin is a military agreement, it has no political or administrative aspects. Political and administrative issues will later be discussed through dialogue. Other than this, the current political will in Afrin is preserved as it was, and it will continue to be so. Because these are the gains of the peoples. A grand and long term struggle was waged to this end, and these will be protected. Our priority now is the joint struggle against the invasion of the Turkish state.
Now there are some elements published on certain publications claimed to be the articles of the agreement…
There is no such thing as YPG laying down arms or Afrin being handed over to the regime. There is no such discussion or agenda either. There is a genocide, and an attempt to stop invasion attacks. There are no other discussions. The priority is to stop the invasion and the genocide.
You say there was a coming together in the face of the Turkish state attempting to snag Syrian territory and genocidal threats against the Kurds.
Following 33 days of resistance, the Syrian regime has seen that the Turkish state and the terrorist groups acting with them are a great threat against the territorial integrity of Syria. Everybody saw that this is an invasion operation, that the Turkish state would not be leaving the areas they entered. The presence of the Turkish state and their allied gangs here is not in the interests of Damascus, it’s not in the interests of anybody in Syria. There is a dirty plan in place. Erdoğan says he will settle 3.5 million refugees in Afrin. So he wants to change the demographic structure in the region. This dirty plan is seen by Damascus and many others. These gang groups settling here would mean the joining of Bab-Jarablus-Azaz with Idlib. It means the surrounding of Nubul Zehra and Aleppo. Thus, all the gains Damascus has made in the last couple of years fall under the threat of the Turkish state. Damascus has seen this threat and wants to prevent this dirty plan.
There are 3 forces that have influence in Syria: Russia, the US and Iran. How do you think these forces see the regime forces coming into Afrin?
Many forces are not happy that forces under the Syrian army have arrived in Afrin. One of them is Russia. Russia has some plans in place in coordination with the Turkish state. One of Russia’s goals is to keep Turkey on their side and in the future tear the country away from NATO. Russia knows that the Turkish state also played a negative role in the expansion of the Soviet Union. Now they want to pull Turkey close and increase their influence in the Balkans and the Middle East. On top of that, there are some commercial agreements, there are concessions secured from Turkey. But we believe the goals of the Turkish state will not be as harmonious as Russia assumes. Because the Turkish state is acting with a rationale like Ottomanism. There will be conflicts between the Turkish state and Russia.
The US on the other hand has its eyes shut completely regarding this operation. There is an agreement between the US and Russia in the Syrian field. Whoever has influence in any one region, they have the say there. This is classified as the east and west of the Euphrates. The US ignores Russian activity to the west of the Euphrates while Russia does the same for the US on the east of the river.
The US State Department Spokesperson said yesterday that they don’t know what is going on in Afrin. That is laughable. They are informed of everything. We held almost 10 meetings with the US and the Coalition about the Afrin agenda, but there have been no results. That could be a point of criticism. They should revise their policies. Such a hypocritical approach to a force that has been their partner in the war against ISIS is not genuine. It’s not right to separate the Kurds on the east of the Euphrates and the Kurds on the west of the Euphrates. An approach that says some can live and it’s OK for others to be massacred will hurt their interests in the region as well.
Russia and the US should revise their policies again. Because the ones who spend the most effort for peace and democracy in the region are the Kurdish people and the peoples of Northern Syria.
Iran on the other hand has been against the operation since the beginning as far as we could follow. They do not consent to this operation by the Turkish state. There are even conflicts between Iran and Russia on this issue. Iran sees this as an operation against them. The regime and Iran are in agreement in some issues.
You said that the Afrin resistance changed certain balances. What changes do you think could be expected from now on?
Following the 33 day long resistance, we are headed towards breaking this concept imposed upon us. There will be military results of this as well. I believe there will be changes in the balance in the region. New approaches and reactions are emerging, and they will continue to do so. The resistance has brought forth new developments in diplomacy and politics.
Our people should continue their solidarity with Afrin. Because the activities, protests, solidarity events our people have held for Afrin in their localities are very important. Everything has been determined by the resistance up to now. The initiative is at the hands of the resisters now, more than ever before.