The following editorial is published on South Front, a website of world analysis based in Russia, August 19, 2016
The Kurdish police, Asayish, loyal to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) loyal to the Syrian government are engaged in intense clashes for control of Hasakah city in eastern Syria. A series of street clashes with usage of small arms, that started on Wednesday has turned into full-scale clashes, with usage of heavy military equipment and artillery. The People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are also linked with the PYD and the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces), are supporting the Asayish attempts to advance on the pro-government forces. In turn, the Syrian Arab Forces have launched a series of air strikes on YPG and Asayish military sites and HQs over the province. By August 19 morning, all attempts to implement a ceasefire agreement has failed.
The pro-PYD forces have been implementing a long-standing strategy of putting pressure on the predominantly Arab NDF in order to push pro-government militias from Hasakah province. However, the situation has gone out of control this week when the pressure turned into firefights and then into intense clashes. Furthermore, a significant part of Arab, Christian, Assyrian and other fighters defected from the US-backed SDF to the NDF as result of this escalation, expanding the breach between PYD-linked Kurdish fighters and the non-Kurds in the area.
The main reason of these tensions is the PYD’s will to set an independent state in the whole northern Syria. The move is not supported by majority of Syrian population. Furthermore, the ethnic composition in northern Syria, that includes major non-Kurdish populated areas, sets the ground for constant conflicts between the PYD and other local groups of influence. The proclamation of the “Northern Syria Federation” by the PYD (without any consideration with the Syrian government) has not contributed to stability of the situation.
It’s clear that the solution of the so-called “Kurdish issue” with peaceful means can be found only via diplomatic negotiations on the international level. BUT the PYD main sponsor, the United States, along with Turkey is blocking the involvement of the Kurds in the international negotiations on the Syrian crisis. An important fact is that the statements of Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs that the PYD should be involved in the negotiations remain ignored in Washington.
Such a situation paves the way for further escalations between the Syrian government forces and the US-backed PYD. This contributes to the US interests in the region because will allow Washington to turn its public image from “the state that supports terrorists against the Assad government” to “the state that supports the ‘democratic’ Kurdish forces against the Assad government.” The problem is that such developments will not contribute to the long-awaited peace in Syria, for sure.
YPG Commander: We intervened in Hesekê (Hasakah ) to protect the people’s values
YPG commander Lewend Rojava pointed out that the regime continuously developed provocations because they can’t accept the gains of the Rojava revolution.
MANBIJ, Syria – YPG commander Lewend Rojava spoke to ANF about the clashes entering their 5th day in Hesekê and expressed that the clashes started due to the monistic fascist ideology of the Baath regime.
YPG commander Lewend Rojava pointed out that the regime continuously developed provocations because they can’t accept the gains of the Rojava revolution, and said: “Despite this fact, YPG and Asayish forces took care not to enter into a conflict with the regime.”
Rojava said the Baath regime created clashes using the sects and conflicts in Syria, and that “The Baath regime has no chance left to win the war from the ground.”
YPG commander Lewend Rojava assessed the 4 day long conflict in Hesekê and repeated that they had promised to protect the people under any circumstances. The commander said the YPG got involved after the regime started bombing the people with artilleries, tanks and aerial attacks.
‘Hesekê is a common living are for the peoples’
YPG commander Lewend Rojava expressed that there were intense clashes between regime forces and YPG, YPJ, Asayish and Self Defense Units in Hesekê and said: “The regime forces first started this conflict by attacking our security points in the city.” The commander said a dirty plan and diplomatic meetings were clearly behind the Regime’s provocations and attacks and continued:
“There had been some incidents between Rojava Asayish forces and regime forces due to the regime provocations for some time now. At the base of these clashes is the Baath regime’s old approach and tone, and their tendency towards denial and destruction.
“Hesekê is a delicate place where Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians have lived together. Our administration continuously keeps the sensibilities of the city in mind. Despite this, the regime kept creating problems and causing conflict. We have always tried to solve these issues before they turned into larger clashes. But in the last week, the regime conducted many deliberate provocations. They put more pressure on the people, they tortured them and wrongfully arrested them. Our Asayish, with the duty to protect the people, then had to intervene.”
‘We wanted to answer the people’s call, the regime increased the war’
“In the first three days of the war, Rojava Asayish retaliated against attacks by the regime forces and their allied gangs. Because this war has direct effect on the people’s lives, the people, the Clan leaders and rusipis in the society demanded a stop to this war. We wanted to end the war on the people’s demand. But we saw that the regime forces started to increase the war, they launched mortar, tank and artillery attacks, then they started shooting from fighter jets randomly. Meanwhile they kept sending threats. Now for the last two days, the jets have bombed Hesekê randomly in regular intervals. Civilian people were martyred and wounded because of this.
“The Syrian regime knows no rules in the sectarian war they have waged in so many places. Now they are trying to spark this war among the Hesekê people and create a chaos. The regime is of no character to create democratic values, but has an old, monist and fascist ideology. Due to this characteristic, they attempt to create conflict among the society to continue their existence. The Regime has issues with the Rojava revolution, and they have gone the way of attacking Hesekê after Manbij was liberated. They aim to distract us and disperse our forces against the gangs this way”
‘YPG promised the people to stand against the attackers’
YPG commander Lewend Rojava said they had to enter the war because the people’s interest was under threat in the clashes between Asayish and regime forces and continued:
“We promised our people that we will stand against any and all attackers. The people are under bombardment by the regime forces using mortars, tanks and jet fighters. There are civilian casualties because of this. YPG and YPJ forces have joined the war according to the promise we have made. The war continues with all the force in many locations since yesterday. Our forces are advancing in Hesekê as in other locations before. Up to now, 3 posts outside the city previously held by the regime have been taken and liberated by our forces.
“The advance of our forces isn’t fully concrete yet because the fighting continues inside the city. We will make more concrete announcements in the coming hours.
“Four of our friends have fallen martyr and 18 of them have been wounded in the 4 day war. As far as we were able to determine, 36 people from the regime forces and their allied gangs were killed. We have taken many regime soldiers prisoner, including commanders. The regime is in a serious bind. Thus, they resort to artillery, mortar and aerial attacks in intervals. We want to make this very clear, until the regime gives up on these inhuman attacks and this dirty approach on the Hesekê people; YPG, YPJ, Asayish, Self Defense Forces and all of society will stand against the regime and retaliate in the strictest way. If the regime gives up on these policies and respect our people’s democratic values, this war can end. Nobody should forget that we are the self defense force of our people and we will never accept attacks on the people.”
‘Syria must not be a part of the dirty affairs of the Turkish state’
Commander Lewend Rojava stated that the Turkish state’s search in the region, with Iran in particular, are being observed by them as well and said: “We hope the Syrian state doesn’t become a part of this dirty relations.” The commander pointed out that the forces who have power over the Kurdish people have created dirty plans and alliances in every historic turn, and continued:
“We announce that we will never accept these dirty alliances and plans and that we will resist. Last year when ISIS gangs attacked Hesekê, the regime forces didn’t take the jets into the air and strike the gangs. But now they use their jets against us and bomb the civilian population. This shows that the regime is failing. They have no power left to fight on the ground any more. That is why they resort to an immoral and dirty war. The Syrian state uses internationally banned weapons such as chemicals, napalm, phosphorus, cluster bombs and barrel bombs in many places. And here they also resort to these tactics because they are cornered.
“Last year around this time, the regime had all but handed the city over to the ISIS gangs. Our YPG and YPJ forces cleared the gangs off the city and liberated it. We also provided security for the city until now. But the regime can’t accept this. Because the regime is against the values of the people and the people uniting. The war in Syria has turned into a deadlock for the last 6 years because of the wrongful policies of the Regime. But we know very well that the regime will never achieve a military victory. Thus, if they try to test themselves against our forces, they will regret it.”
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