MESOP STATEMENT : Top YPG Commander in M. Berxwedan Comments on the Recent Situation in Kobane

Your operations continued after the liberation of Kobane town center as well. What is the latest situation on the southern, eastern and western fronts?

After liberating Kobane town center, we started an operation, as a second move, to liberate the villages of Kobane. This operation is still going on. 90-95 % of the Kobane villages have been retaken from ISIS thugs, while some 20-25 villages are still being held by them.

In the west, we reached the Euphrates and retook all the villages. In the south, we reached up to the Girik village and Karakozak Bridge. Only in the eastern part are there some Kurdish villages yet to be liberated. Our operations continue ceaselessly for not only Kurdish but also Arab villages. In line with our tactics, we suspend the operations some days, and escalate them other days.

ISIS has resorted to every kind of tactics to be able to repulse these operations of ours. In the areas of Sarrin and Girik, they attacked with boats over the Euphrates. There have also been many attacks on the southern front. They attacked with explosive-laden vehicles.

Most recently, they have attacked in the village of Xanmemed, and they are doing so almost every night. We have, however, repelled all their attacks and inflicted dozens of losses on them. They continue attacking but end up in either fleeing or surrendering soon for being left dispirited and demoralized. In the most recent clashes, we have taken some ISIS thugs captive.

It is being wondered about the situation in Manbij and Sarrin. What will happen here, will you enter these areas?

They blew up the Jarablus Bridge and the Karakozak Bridge, which is the biggest one, for fear of us entering Jarablus. This has proven to what extend they fear the YPG.

Reports on a separate incident are appearing on the world media in recent days. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 52 civilians were killed as a result of coalition airstrikes in a village to the east of Kobane three days ago. What do you have to say regarding these reports that have on the other hand been denied by U.S officials?

We have witnessed no mistakes since the very beginning of the coalition airstrikes. All airstrikes are conducted quite precisely after an aerial reconnaissance. They have so far avoided hitting mosques and schools very much. The village you mention is called Birmehl and is still under ISIS control. We were also surprised to hear about the death of civilians, because it is a Kurdish village with nobody in at the moment. The civilians killed are said to be Arabs. It makes one think a bit how Arab civilians are still living in a village located on the line of battle.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights states that both Arabs and Kurds are living in this village. Isn’t it true?

It is a Kurdish village at the border to the Arab region. According to the reports we have received, ISIS is not allowing the civilians to leave the village. They are using civilians as shields, knowing that they will not be targeted by the strikes. It is like a plot how and why those villagers came there.

Do you mean civilians were killed, if true, as a result of an ISIS plan?

There isn’t anything we know for certain. If there are civilians there, ISIS is using them as a shield, which is its sole remedy left against the coalition. They want to spread the propaganda that the coalition is killing civilians. A number of villages like Şêxler have been liberated so far but such an incident didn’t take place in any of them. We don’t know for certain but, if civilians have died, it could be due to an ISIS plot against the coalition’s attacks.