Turkey Syria offensive: 'The Kurds have no friends but the mountains'

Families flee the town of Ras al-Ain in north-east Syria (10 October 2019)Symbol copyright

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Activists say tens of hundreds of other folks have fled cities alongside the Syria-Turkey border

“It is like hell. I’m afraid for all my circle of relatives and everybody I do know.”

Sevinaz is from a the city close to Syria’s border with Turkey that instantly got here below heavy bombardment when the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebels introduced an attack on Kurdish-led forces there on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Kurdish filmmaker and activist stated repeated air and artillery moves in town – referred to as Sere Kaniye by means of Kurds, and Ras al-Ain by means of Arabs – had compelled her to escape with a number of individuals of her circle of relatives.

“I’m out of doors town with my in poor health mom. My brother is inside of. I’ve been knowledgeable that my cousin would possibly had been martyred. There is not any secure position for any one,” she advised the BBC on Thursday morning, hours sooner than rebels stated town used to be surrounded.

She added: “I am involved in it being the final time that I see my town.”

‘Erdogan is a liar’

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stated the purpose of the army operation is to create a 32km (20-mile) deep “secure zone” alongside the Syrian facet of the border and to resettle as much as two million Syrian refugees there.

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Media captionSome citizens started to escape as smoke rose over the border the city of Ras al-Ain

He has stated he desires to ward off from the Turkish border individuals of a Syrian Kurdish defense force referred to as the Other people’s Coverage Devices (YPG). He has insisted the YPG is an extension of a rise up staff that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey and is designated a terrorist organisation by means of Turkey, america and EU.

The YPG, which has denied the declare, is the dominant drive in an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias referred to as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It’s been the vital spouse at the floor in Syria for the US-led multinational coalition in opposition to the jihadist staff Islamic State (IS).

Sevinaz brushed aside Mr Erdogan’s statement that he desires “to stop the introduction of an apprehension hall throughout our southern border, and to carry peace to the realm”.

  • Turkey v Syria’s Kurds defined
  • 4 maps explaining the offensive

“He is a liar and he desires the Kurds to be completed. And no longer simply Kurds, as a result of in Sere Kaniye and all of the different towns it isn’t simply Kurds who’re dwelling right here.”

Sevinaz stated she believed the SDF and YPG’s combatants would do all they might to repel the Turkish attack, and that in the end they might be victorious.

“They’re the kids of this land. They’re our brothers and sisters,” she defined. “Even with all of the issues which are going down and the silence from the arena, I nonetheless imagine that the suitable other folks will win.”

Azad Cudi, a British-Iranian Kurd who’s a sniper for the YPG, advised the BBC on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s determination to withdraw US troops from the border space in anticipation of a Turkish offensive felt “like a stab within the again”.

The United States army had in the past tried to avert a Turkish offensive on its Kurdish allies by means of putting in place with the Turkish army a “safety mechanism” within the border space. The YPG co-operated by means of dismantling fortifications.

“In August, we got here to this ‘safety mechanism’ settlement,” Mr Cudi stated. “According to that, we withdrew. We destroyed the preventing positions which have been constructed to struggle the Turkish in case of an invasion and we passed them over to the American citizens.”

‘We don’t have any pals however the mountains’

Mr Cudi stated SDF forces weren’t supplied with the heavy machine-guns and anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns that they might want to repel a Turkish attack.

“But when there’s no selection, there’s no selection. We will be able to struggle again in any respect prices.”

“There is been many, many letting down and forsaking Kurds previously. That is what we are saying: ‘We don’t have any pals however the mountains,'” he added. “The USA, like another state or another executive, will do no matter serves their very own best possible pursuits. We all know that.”

He stated Mr Trump and different US politicians were “lied to” in regards to the warfare with IS, and he expressed worry in regards to the possibility of hundreds of suspected IS militants being detained in SDF prisons escaping if their guards got here below assault by means of Turkey.

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US troops pulled again from the border on Monday in anticipation of the Turkish attack

“[The war] isn’t completed, it’s not over. We would not do any such factor as shedding prisoners, however consider when issues get difficult and there’s a warfare and you’re preventing on many fronts. It is going to be nearly tough to keep an eye on and organize those prisoners.”

He added: “The Kurds are the one individuals who have fought [IS]. The Iraqi executive and the Syrian executive could not stand their assaults. We had been the one ones who may withstand them. With us being threatened, their hope for a brand new caliphate would possibly develop once more.”

  • May just Turkish offensive unharness IS risk?
  • Who’re the Kurds?

Sevinaz stated she believed Turkey used to be additionally in touch with IS sleeper cells inside of north-eastern Syria and would ask them to focus on the Kurds. On Wednesday, a number of IS militants reportedly attacked SDF posts within the area.

“I am nervous and I feel quickly that there shall be loads extra motion from them. They already did one [attack] subsequent to Sere Kaniye, and… in Raqqa, and I feel there shall be extra quickly.”

She additionally held out little hope of Mr Trump wearing out his risk to “completely damage and obliterate” Turkey’s financial system if it does anything else he considers to be “off limits”.

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The Syrian Democratic Forces has stated it’s going to shield its territory “in any respect prices”

“What does ‘off limits’ imply? They are already attacking all over the place,” she stated. “They do not care about civilians. They do not care in regards to the center of the towns.

“Donald Trump goes to do not anything. He cares about cash. He does not care in regards to the 11,000 individuals who [died] whilst preventing and resisting in opposition to IS.”

Sevinaz insisted that she would no longer flee to some other a part of Syria. “I will be able to no longer transfer from Rojava. I will be able to by no means transfer,” she stated, the usage of the Kurdish identify for the north-east of the rustic.

As an alternative, she referred to as for other folks internationally to shed light on to their governments their anger on the scenario.

“The states don’t care about us. The states did not care about bringing their [foreign] IS prisoners again to their nations. The states did not care about us being below risk for a protracted, very long time,” she added. “It’s the time for the voices of the folks, who imagine in freedom, who imagine in human rights.”

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