Washington Kurdish Institute
January 24, 2018
Following hundreds of unprovoked attacks over the years on Afrin, a Kurdish majority area in northwest Syria, the Turkish state has launched a full-scale military offensive against the area – an act of naked aggression against a region that has not once targeted Turkey, despite years of Turkish threats. As Turkey’s offensive against Afrin enters its fifth day, high level representatives of a number of the world’s most prominent democracies have issued perplexing statements which are tantamount to complicity in Turkey’s unprovoked campaign of mass murder.
On January 21, 2018, the US State Department issued a statement expressing concern “about the situation in northwest Syria, especially the plight of innocent civilians,” while also being “supportive of addressing the legitimate security concerns of Turkey.” This statement implies there is some level of legitimate military casualties that may result from this Turkish offensive, an outrageous statement considering that the military forces targeted by Turkey, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are the closest, most dependable and effective ally of the US in Syria in the war against ISIS. There is no explanation of what Turkey’s “legitimate security concerns” may be, though this phrase seems synonymous with Turkey’s apparent right to kill a certain number of Kurds, regardless of whether or not these same Kurds have shed blood as allies of the US and, indeed, the world in eliminating ISIS and preventing the spread of the terror organisation to Europe and beyond.
UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson went a step further, tweeting on January 22, 2018 that he was “Watching developments in Afrin closely. Turkey is right to want to keep its borders secure” – offering unequivocal support for Turkey’s military offensive without even paying lip service to the idea of minimizing civilian casualties. It is bewildering that the government of the UK, a country directly targeted by ISIS numerous times in 2017, is offering wholehearted support for a campaign aimed at eliminating Syria’s most effective anti-ISIS force, backing Turkey, a country that has been, at best completely unhelpful in the war against ISIS.
Afrin spent the last few years trying to build a new society while hosting hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Syrians and defending itself from various jihadist terrorist groups (at least some of whom were supported by Turkey). Those European governments who choose not to support the YPG are nonetheless among the many beneficiaries in the war against ISIS as, without the YPG’s contribution to the weakening of ISIS, Europe would continue to face an even greater danger from the group. While YPG’s struggle and sacrifice prevents additional terrorist attacks in Europe, Turkey’s actions have indeed had the opposite effect.
There is no fact-based justification for Turkey’s offensive against Afrin. Turkey, by its own admission, seeks to destroy the YPG and change the demographics of Afrin. Turkey’s aggression is unwarranted and unproductive in the context of the battle against ISIS. Foreign powers choosing to argue Turkey’s case with respect to the ongoing operation in Afrin are, in effect, providing false justification for the mass murder of the people of Afrin and cheering a serious disruption to the ongoing campaign against ISIS, a true threat to global security. Turkey’s actions must be harshly and unambiguously condemned, and the world powers should stand by the YPG and Syrians who shed their blood to protect Europe and the US from the menace of ISIS and support those innocent civilians being targeted by Turkey’s ongoing campaign of brutality.
شريط مصور للمرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان يرصد الدمار الناجم عن الغارات والقصف التركي على ناحية جنديرس في الريف الغربي لعفرين، مع استمرار عملية "غصن لازيتون" في يومها الخامس على التوالي
Posted by المرصد السوري on Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Video: Turkish bombard on west of Afrin.