Turkey has launched a military campaign against the Kurds.
He goes on: ‘The remaining Kurdish residents say they are suffering a litany of abuses at the hands of Turkish-backed rebels – kidnappings for ransom; armed robberies; appropriation of homes, shops, businesses, fields; and torture and killing.’
The area’s revolutionary experiment in autonomy, he says, is attacked by enemies, surrounding it like ‘sharks’: ‘the Turks and their cruel proxies from the north, IS and pro-Turkey sleeper cells from inside as well as Iranian militias from the south’.
Here, in numbers, are the consequences of six months of Turkish occupation in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES, aka Rojava): 200,000 civilians permanently or temporarily displaced; 288 killed by Turkish shelling and drone strikes; 600 settlements occupied; 127 homes destroyed; 460,000 people denied access to clean drinking water; 1.8 million in need of humanitarian aid; 86,000 children denied access to education.
It’s hard to believe that not so long ago the Kurds were being lauded on the international stage as victors and heroes. The plucky ones who, with international coalition support, saw off Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Whose women and men had bravely led the ground fight against IS and taken back the Syrian city of Raqqa that the extremists had made ‘capital’ of their caliphate. Who, as part of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), partnering with the US, drove IS militants out of their last stronghold of Baghuz in early 2019.
Young female fighters of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) were the symbol, not only the more acceptable face of the Kurdish armed struggle, but also the most interesting and media-friendly one. Perhaps the military success and kudos the Kurds of Rojava had gained would bring them closer to international recognition of their self-declared autonomous authority?
Then, suddenly, on 6 October 2019, US president Donald Trump announced, after a phone call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that he was pulling US troops out of North and East Syria. It was a green light for Turkey to invade Rojava, which it did three days later under the cruelly inappropriate name of ‘Operation Peace Spring’.
There were international cries of dismay and talk of suspending arms sales to Turkey. Faced with Turkish military might, Syria’s Kurdish officials even struck a deal with Assad, their former enemy, for military reinforcements in the border area.
On 22 October Russia and Turkey reached an agreement. Turkish troops would remain in the areas they had seized and Russian troops and the Syrian army would control the rest of the border. The Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) element of the multi-ethnic SDF had 150 hours to withdraw. Both powers agreed they would not allow ‘any separatist agenda’ in the territory.
There was a bit of rollback on the part of the US: it would keep a small number of troops in the area after all. But the damage was done. Turkey had got away with its invasion under the pretext of ‘securing its border’ by creating a 5,000-square-kilometre, ideally Kurd-free, buffer zone within Syrian Kurdistan.
The Syrian Kurds, still under attack today, had been stitched up by the great powers and hung out to dry by their former partners.
As Hassan puts it: ‘Regretfully, in whichever state they live, the Kurds endure a perilous existence and world powers only see them as useful proxies when needed – and friends to forget when not.’
This is my worst nightmare come true. This is worse then when Bill Cornwell and Heather Hanson told me I was about to lose my grandson because I was a “parasite” on society. There was no consideration about the thousands of hours I spent publishing this blog-newspaper – and practicing a very real Spirituality – that WAS PROPHETIC! My adopting the mission of Herbert Armstrong – is profound! He died warning us about the Russians.
Don’t give up the good fight. I have little doubt Trump is working with Putin. This is madness! I have been made put be insane by my daughter and all family members who do not have sobriety. This is a drunken brawl by He-men, who are toying with the lives of women and children. This is what rich and powerful men have done – before the Bible was written. Whenever the little people, and poor…
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