YPG Spox –  Rêdûr Xelîl on Turkish Airstrikes Against Them – 12 May 2017

Mr. Xelil, it is reported that Turkish warplanes have carried attacks on your positions, and you have reported that a number of your colleagues have lost their lives. What is the pretext of the Turkish attacks?

The attacks occurred on April 25th, around 02:00 AM. 20 of our comrades have lost their lives and 18 others are injured, three of which are in serious conditions. The attacks have occurred at a time when the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are taking a leading role within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the International Coalition of Anti-ISIS and have strained the ISIS terrorists. The Turkish attacks aim to reduce the pressure that our forces have exerted on ISIS. On the other hand, it is an overt support to ISIS and deterrence against the SDF and global collation’s efforts against ISIS.

How will these efforts be deterred? Are you referring to the Raqqa operation?

If Turkey continues its intensified attacks, the YPG cannot continue the fight against ISIS. Our forces will have to be redirected to project our borders. It is not possible YPG that are leading the SDF forces with the international coalition to carry both fights. Our people cannot accept sending their children to fight ISIS in Raqqa while Turkey attacks us from behind.

Turkey has officially claimed that PKK’s supply chain extends [from Syria] to Sinjar and they reserve the right to attack [the threat]. How do you respond?

We stated previously and very openly, and we will stress again that we have always viewed Turkey as a neighboring country, with which we seek to develop good relations. However, Turkey always perceives us as an enemy, and they continue to attacking us. It means Turkey doesn’t prefer to seek a solution to the issue. With regards to the accusations that weapons are transferred to Turkey through our territories are baseless. We stress that our in the past six years our 600km long border with Turkey we have not allowed the transfer to any [illegal] weapons to Turkey. But in reality, Turkey is opposed to the Kurdish struggle anywhere, and they are using baseless accusations to carry attacks against us.

Fox News reported that the positions that came under attack were in close proximity to the positions of the coalition forces.

The international coalitions have several [operation centers] in Rojava. The building that came under attack the YPG General Command headquarters. The coalition forces confirmed to us that they had no prior knowledge about the attack. However, the international coalition must act responsibility towards these attacks. If we are fighting ISIL side by side, the new must also protect each other when necessary.

The US government hasn’t shown any support to the attack, and the Department of State made an official statement against Turkish attacks.

Yes, we received the news positively, but practical steps on ground must be carried. Statements alone will not be sufficient. Mr. Trump has made it clear that war on terrorism is a priority, and we agree the American administration that ISIS is our priority. What we expect and request from the Trump Administration is a guarantee that Turkey will not repeat the attacks. As a said it previously, we want friendly relations with Turkey, but they refuse. We hope that US led coalition will do what it can to prevent Turkey from attacking us again, so we can continue fighting ISIS in Raqqa and elsewhere.