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by Steven Argue
Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 at 6:43 PM
U.S. and Turkish Troops Out of Syria!
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With U.S. Backing, Turkey Invades Kurdish Syrian Afrin
Syria Continues Advances on al-Qaeda Controlled Territory in Idlib
U.S. and Turkish Troops Out of Syria!
By Steven Argue
[Photo: Mass protest against the Turkish invasion of Afrin, held January 19th in Afrin.]
Turkey is presently invading eastern Syrian Kurdistan in the region of Afrin with a target of taking the city of Afrin. Turkish military attacks started with the shelling of villages on January 15th and that shelling continues. On January 18th, Turkish armored vehicles began moving across the Turkish border into eastern Syrian Kurdistan and continued an ominous buildup of powerful military hardware.
Turkey has a long history of genocide against Kurds in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. With U.S. backing, Turkey murdered 50,000 Kurds with weapons provided by the United States. The height of that U.S. backed genocidal war with the Clinton Regime in the 1990s. Afrin is part of eastern Syrian Kurdistan and is currently under the control of about 10,000 armed fighters of the YPG / YPJ who will justly fight to militarily repel the Turkish invasion. Turkey’s stated goal is the extermination of the YPG / YPJ fighters, which Turkish President Recep Erdoğan labels “terrorists”.
Turkish hatred for Kurds stems from Kurdish resistance to oppression and repression in Turkey. The Kurdish people of Turkey have long suffered the banning of all national rights including the right to their written and spoken language, culture, and political representation. This repression is constant and, as mentioned, has even escalated to the form of genocidal mass murder. Turkish repression has also spawned armed resistance organized by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Turkish government fears the liberation of Kurds in both Syria and Iraq as it sees this as both a potential inspiration and a potential launching pad for the liberation of Kurds in Turkey.
In response to Turkey’s invasion, a protest of thousands took to the streets of Afrin on January 19th. One of the protesters declared:
“We as people from Afrin, we will defend our city and those fascist Turks can’t defeat us, we will be defending to the last drop of blood (…) Erdoğan, listen: neither you, ISIS nor FSA [Free Syrian Army], you and all of your mercenaries can’t break our will, and [you should] stop interfering in our land and be aware that Kurds from all countries will come to defend us.”
The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has also condemned Turkish actions, saying the Syrian military viewed any incursion as an invasion and threatened to shoot down any Turkish planes involved in the operations. The Syrian government, which has itself had problems with Kurdish self-determination and long oppressed Kurdish national rights, viewed the CIA backed counterrevolutionary insurgency of Sunni supremacists a greater threat, as did the Kurds. As a result, at the outbreak of the war, the Syrian Army pulled out of Kurdish regions allowing the Kurds to form their own YPG / YPJ defense forces.
The armed units of the YPG / YPJ have been used primarily to defend themselves from the CIA armed, trained and financed, as well brutally genocidal, forces of al-Qaeda, the Islamic Front, and the so-called “Free Syrian Army”, as well as al-Qaeda’s spinoff organization of ISIS (Daesh). The United States has spent a billion dollars a year on this insurgency that has killed perhaps as many as nearly half a million people, left much of Syria in ruins, and created millions of refugees.
Throughout the civil war, the Syrian government has continued to aid the Syrian Kurdish region and, despite a few skirmishes with the Syrian Army, have mainly fought on the same side against the U.S. led and Turkish supported Sunni supremacist insurgency. The current fickle U.S. support for the YPG / YPJ has only come as a U.S. imperialist plan B after the defeat of their Sunni supremacist insurgency. This has come with extreme anger from Ankara which now denounces U.S. support for supposed “terrorists”.
It is with some irony that Recep Erdoğan claims the Kurdish YPG / YPJ are terrorist, as he backed the genocidal terrorists of ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Islamic Front, and the so-called “Free Syrian Army” FSA in the Syrian civil war. All of these forces have slaughtered unarmed civilians of minority religious groups including Christians, Alawites, and Shiites. Likewise, ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Islamic Front have all slaughtered Kurdish civilians as well.
Turkey, in fact, continues to back the al-Qaeda led insurgency in Idlib. This week, the ongoing collapse of the defenses of Turkish and U.S. backed al-Qaeda forces in Idlib has caused a good number of disgruntled al-Qaeda fighters to switch flags and join ISIS. The increasing numbers of ISIS forces in Idlib still remain far smaller than those of U.S. and Turkish backed al-Qaeda forces, but ISIS now numbers about 900 fighters in Idlib. On January 19th, a pincer action by the Syrian Army and allied forces has now cut off all ISIS and a major portion of al-Qaeda forces from their Turkish supply lines. Several days ago, the “Free Syrian Army” and several other factions joined an al-Qaeda dominated offensive attempting to stop this rapid advance of the Syrian Army and its allies, but it was also repelled.
One of the most important groups fighting alongside the Syrian Army in the liberation of Idlib has been the National Defense Forces (NDF). They are a citizen militia of 60,000 people comprised largely of religious minorities who were being slaughtered in mass genocide by the U.S. backed Opposition forces since 2011.
Another group that has been playing a role in the liberation of Idlib is Liwa al-Quds. Liwa al-Quds is a brigade of 9,000 Palestinian fighters formed in 2013 to combat the extreme repression and genocide that emerged after U.S. armed, trained and financed "Opposition" rebels took control of areas in and around Aleppo. Liwa al-Quds fighters are among the 7.1 million refugees of Israel's backed ethnic cleansing living around the world. Nearly 70% of the Palestinian people are refugees. Syria is home to 427,000 of these Palestinian refugees.
Turkish military strikes on Afrin started on January 15th with the shelling of Kurdish villages. This was the same day as the U.S. military issued statements differentiating its disinterest in Afrin in eastern Syrian Kurdistan, while currently occupying and supporting western Syrian Kurdistan. U.S. statements can only be read as a green light from the United States for the current invasion. This was given in a press release to the Anadolu Turkish state run media by Colonel Ryan Dillan on January 15th saying:
"We are not operating in Afrin. We are supporting our partners in defeating remaining ISIS [Daesh] pockets along the Middle Euphrates River Valley, specifically in areas north of Abu Kamal, on the eastern side of the Euphrates River."
Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway immediately followed this up in an email to the Anadolu Agency saying:
"We don’t consider them as part of our Defeat ISIS [Daesh] operations which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all. There is no train-advise and assist program going [on] in Afrin. Elements out of SDF areas are not receiving any train-advice assists from us. The groups that we support are exclusively are involved in operations countering Daesh.”
While abandoning eastern Syrian Kurdistan to Turkey’s genocidal military forces, the U.S. is continuing its attempt to seize western Syrian Kurdistan with the assistance of the Kurdish people. The United States claims this is purely in the fight against ISIS, but oil and U.S. geostrategic interests loom large.
It is true that the U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the Kurdish YPG / YPJ, are continuing to fight ISIS in the region. Ongoing battles have yet to liberate a number of villages on the eastern side of the Euphrates River.
Yet, this region of eastern Syrian Kurdistan has the richest oil fields in all of Syria. These are currently under the legal ownership of the Syrian government as part of Syria’s semi-socialist system, with that state ownership being a remaining gain of Syria’s 1963 socialist revolution. The U.S., however, whose over 2,000 troops in Syria are also there illegally, may well be planning to privatize those oil fields through outright looting for U.S. oil companies.
In addition, the U.S. has continued to state their desire to continue to occupy that region to force regime change in Damascus as well as to cut off Iranian supply routes to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah in Lebanon are a popular liberation army who have repelled two major Israeli invasions and also were central to defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda forces in Lebanon that had spilled over from the U.S. proxy war in Syria. It is the right of the Lebanese to receive supplies from anywhere they see fit. It is not the right of Turkey or the United States to occupy any part of Syria or Syrian Kurdistan.
It is on any of these grounds that the YPG / YPJ, Syrian Army, and their allies are in their rights to expel both the Turkish and U.S. invasions. The United States’ betrayal of Kurds in Afrin should also be warning enough of the dangers involved in their alliance with the United States. The extreme dangers posed by ISIS may have made this an alliance of necessity at one time, but Afrin is the new Kobani, and the U.S. has sold you out.
For Syrian and Kurdish Self-Determination!
U.S. and Turkish Troops Out of Syria!
Israel Out of The Occupied Syrian Golan Heights!
U.S., Turkey, and Allies, Stop Arming Sunni Supremacist Terrorists!
End the U.S. and EU Led Economic Blockade of Syria!
-Steven Argue for the Revolutionary Tendency
The Revolutionary Tendency
Support The Stop Arming Terrorists Act
Also check out and like:
Imperialist Hands Off Syria & Rojava
U.S. Imperialists Out of Iraq & Iraqi Kurdistan
For The Liberation of Palestine
Saudi, Israeli, & U.S. Imperialist Hands off Lebanon
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