The Syrian branch of the terrorist group has recruited child soldiers, forced Arab civilians from their homes, and killed its civilian opponents.
US President Donald Trump has announced his intention to put a stop to “ridiculous Endless Wars” and withdraw US troops from a strip of land bordering Turkey in northeast Syria.
The decision came ahead of Ankara’s operation to create a peace corridor for Syrian refugees in the region east of the Euphrates River, which started on October 9.
“We've been in Syria for many years. Syria was supposed to be a short-term hit. We were supposed to be in and out,” Trump told reporters at a press conference on Monday.
In its four-decade-long terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians in bomb attacks, assassinations, and kidnappings. It is consequently recognised as a “terrorist organisation” by the US, the European Union, and Turkey.
But in recent years, thanks to a PR campaign and favourable media coverage, the YPG has won the support of many western politicians, analysts, and journalists, who are willing to ignore its strong operational relationship with the PKK and look past its abuses in Syria.
Here we address some of the most widespread myths the group and its supporters would like you to believe but which have no basis in reality.
MYTH: Turkey is fighting the Kurds
Kurds are not synonymous with the PKK, in fact, Turkey is home to the largest ethnic Kurdish population in the world but if you look at the coverage in many Western media outlets, no effort is made to distinguish ethnic Kurds from the terrorist organisations that claim to speak for them.
Kurds in Turkey are integrated citizens of the republic - they serve in the Turkish Armed Forces, they serve in the civil service, and are found in every sector of the country’s society. Turkey’s state broadcaster has a dedicated Kurdish language channel.
Ankara’s operation is aimed at the PKK terrorist group and whichever other names its affiliates use to refer to itself.
MYTH: The PKK-affiliated YPG defeated Daesh
The fight against Daesh involved more than a dozen armed groups and countries, including Turkey and the Free Syrian Army.
Dozens of Turkish soldiers and allied Syrian units were killed in during Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, which was aimed at liberating land to the west of the Euphrates river from Daesh and YPG terrorists.
Even Daesh’s expulsion from East Aleppo, which was previously held by the opposition, was entirely at the hands of Syrian groups, such as the FSA.
To credit the YPG with defeating Daesh completely erases the sacrifices made by thousands who opposed both terrorist groups throughout the totality of the conflict in Syria.
MYTH- Turkey is looking to occupy Syria
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that they respect Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently said: “Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, we have supported the territorial integrity of this country, and we will continue to support it.”
Since the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 2011, the security of the country’s northern border has been in flux.
Both Daesh terrorists, in the past, and YPG terrorists today have controlled parts of the northern border Syria shares with Turkey.
This gives free rein for the YPG to link up with its parent organisation, the PKK, which carries out terror attacks and suicide bombings against Turkey.
Turkey has lost hundreds of civilians in attacks by PKK-affiliated cells that have access to the YPG for training, funding, and weaponry.
Ankara’s aims are clear; to prevent the establishment of a “terror corridor” which allows terrorists to attack it on a whim, and to create safe areas where Syrian refugees can return to without fear of war and instability.
The country also wants to ensure that Daesh does not rear its head again and pose a renewed threat to its citizens.
MYTH: The YPG is committed to advancing human rights
Since its occupation of Syrian land began, YPG terrorists have been involved in a number of abuses, which has been detailed by human rights groups.
These include forced disappearances of its opponents and forcing women and children to serve within its cells.
A September 2019 estimate suggests that upwards of 3,000 people have disappeared under YPG control. That number includes 631 children and 172 women.
Here’s why Turkey sees the YPG as a threat to its national security, and that of Syria:pic.twitter.com/Y7T7Ig2ahX— TRT World (@trtworld) October 7, 2019