What is happening in Afrin ?

ANF – Afrin 29.05.2013 – Twenty one battalions and brigades in Syria have released a declaration informing about an agreement between some armed groups attacking the region of Afrin with an aim to weaken the Kurdish resistance here.

 Some of the groups mentioned in the declaration however released statements denying their involvement in the attack plan against the Kurdish region, claiming that the Baath regime was behind the declaration. Clashes in the western Kurdistan province of Afrin broke out after some armed groups, allegedly affiliated to Free Syrian Army, attacked the villages of Ziyaret and Akibe in the town of Şerawa on 25 May. According to ANHA news agency, 38 fighters of armed groups were killed and dozens of others injured in clashes with YPG (People’s Defense Units) forces in three days. On 28 May, the conflict in the region spread to the village of Basıla where clashes are reported to be continuing in some places, as well as in the village of Ziyaret, today. The armed groups here have reportedly escaped from the region in the face of strong resistance and response by YPG units. According to local people, armed groups have suffered a great loss in the last two days. YPG figters are said to have besieged the village of Basıla to avoid any harm to come to the villagers.

The group Liva el Tevhid is said to be leading the attack against the Kurdish region in Syria, and is allegedly supported and accompanied by some other groups called Liva el Fatih, Devl ül İslamiye and Selahaddin. The militants of  Liva el Tevhid are said to be based in the Turkish province of Antep.

In a written statement in response to the declaration of 21 battalions and brigades, Liva Ehrar Syrian Battalion’s executive official Ali Bilo said that their group had nothing to do with the declaration which -he said- had been issued by some circles serving for the Syrian regime. Bilo said that their battalion had good relations with YPG and Kurds. “Arabs and Kurds have historical relations and they have never lived a serious conflict among each other so far. We have many Kurdish fighters in our battalion and they fight together with us”, he said.

Referring to the alleged kidnapping of some 700 Kurdish civilians by some armed groups while on the way from Afrin to Aleppo last week, Bilo said that “the kidnapping of civilians is neither humane nor moral” and promised to make efforts to enable the release of these civilians. 

One other group, Liva El Furkan, also released a statement denying any relation with the declaration. Özeyfa Yusuf Cenudi on behalf of the group said that recent attacks on the Kurds in Syria aimed at weakening the Kurdish resistance and leading to a conflict environment in the Kurdish region with the support of the Syrian regime. Cenudi claimed that the declaration was issued by a single group intending to wage a political and physclogical war.

Reminding that YPG units are fighting to defend the Kurdish region, Cenudi added that “these allegations are put forward by those who are provoked by some international powers and intend to prevent the Syrian revolution”.

Halit Heyani group, which had also attacked Kurdish neighborhoods and targeted the civilians in Afrin earlier, also responded to the declaration with a statement made by Halit Heyani on behalf of the Unity of Bedir Martyrs. Heyani said they had nothing to do with the declaration. The Brigade of Coast Falcons, also strongly responding to the declaration, claimed that it was the agents of the Syrian regime that attacked Kurds in and around Afrin. “We are not enemies but friends with Kurds. We have always lived in peace with them and we will continue doing so”, said the statement and alleged that the attacks against Afrin aimed to lead up to a conflict between the peoples in Syria. “Those attacking Kurds should go to Kuseyr and fight there against the regime’s attacks if they want to protect their honour. Those intending to shed the blood of Kurds in Afrin are the regime’s agents who aim to demolish the Kurdish system in the Kurdish region”, it added.