Turkey's operation has been widely condemned in the West, and mostly by those who don't understand Syria, the region, or its people.
Since the announcement by the White House to withdraw from the immediate area of the planned Turkish military operation, the international media has been fixated on northern Syria.
Most discussion misunderstands the scope, nature and aims of the operation including the League of Arab States which has criticised the operation. The joint Syrian-Turkish military operation against the YPG terror group aims to normalise the demographics in northeastern Syria and hand over the governance to the people itself.
While most nations ignore the discrimination against Arabs and Kurds who oppose the rule of the YPG in northeastern Syria, and ignore that a Marxist terror group rules over Arab areas, Turkey and the Syrian opposition will address this issue and end the occupation of the local people.
If the international community and the people of the Middle East were willing to listen, they would hear many voices who articulate their frustration with the current YPG-governance in northeast Syria.
Ahmad Hassan*, a Syrian refugee in Turkey from Tal Abyad, told me, “We are sick of the occupation. We want to get rid of the occupying forces that came from the mountains of Qandil.”
The first operational arena of the joint Syrian-Turkish military operation between Tal Abyad and Ras al Ayn has large Arab populations. Many fighters of the Syrian National Army originate from those areas.
Muhammed Hussein*, a fighter of the 20th Brigade of the Syrian National Army expressed his desire to join the military operation by underlining that he and his close friends waited for years for the moment to liberate their home towns from the occupation of the YPG: “My grandparents still live in Manbij. I haven’t seen them for years. I can’t wait to see them.”
Turkey and the Syrian Interim Government’s goals not only seek to enable the return of Syrians to their homes and their home countries by ending the occupation of the YPG, but also to change the political environment from a one-party rule towards a local governance system in which local people will elect their own councils and will determine their own future.
Currently, the YPG rule in northeast Syria doesn’t allow for sharing political power with anyone.
PKK veterans, who are mostly Turkish citizens or lived for years in the mountains of Qandil are in charge of decision-making. The local people and the Arab tribes in the region are only integrated as distributors of aid and implementers of the decisions by the core PKK cadres.
Fadima Bayrakdar*, a resident of Manbij, put it into words: “The faces in front of us are Arabs but they are controlled by a Kurd from behind,” stating that most of the Kurds are even not Syrian Kurds and can’t speak proper Arabic but Turkish.
Within the ideology of the PKK or its Syrian branch, the YPG, there is no room for opposition and popular demands. The ideology of ‘democratic confederalism’ interpreted by Abdullah Ocalan, the founding leader of the PKK, is a construct of radical far-left Marxist ideas.
As the ideology of the YPG is set in black and white in accordance with the general perspective of the radical far-left, even Kurdish political parties are banned from operating in YPG-held areas if they criticise their rule.
In this manner, it is noteworthy that the YPG expelled Kurdistan 24 TV after a guest criticised a PKK veteran and leading figure in a live TV debate.
Until today, the US approach only facilitated a change from the dogmatic and radical ideology of Daesh to the dogmatic and radical ideology of the PKK. The flags of Daesh were replaced by the flags of Abdullah Ocalan whose portraits are omnipresent in northeastern Syria.
Now the Syrians and the Turks together aim to end this occupation. Many tribes in Syria have expressed their support for the operation. Even if an international audience ignores the demands of the Syrians, it is worth listening to them for the sake of safety, security and peace in the region.
If the area being cleaned from the YPG, with the aid of Turkey, the Syrian Interim Government will work on building an environment of peace and local governance for the people of Syria.
*Names have been changed for the safety of the sources
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