The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Hemo: We Have A Right To Respond To Attacks – Part II


(ANF) Below is Part II of an ANF interview with Sipan Hemo, the commander of the YPG. Part I can be found here.

The YPG Has Provided Security For All The Peoples Of Syria

Does everything you are saying not also mean at the same time the defense of the Syrian revolution?

Of course it means that. In fact from the beginning we have been working with along these tactics and this line in order to be an example for Syria in general. At first no one understand that we had this goal. The character of our revolution was not understood. For that reason there who those who came out against it. But now everyone sees this. International forces have also seen this and now certain forces have begun to show more respect. On the other hand certain forces which are struggling within Syria have seen this and now they are saying that we were the ones who took the best step forward. With the the defense that we began in our region and with the system we are implementing we are becoming an example for the whole of Syria. There are those who see this and admit it.

The Kurdish regions are all like this but in particular in the area around Cîzıre one finds all the colors of Syria and they are living freely. The YPG took the duty of defense on its shoulders and now with the practices that we brought out into the open we believe – and the whole world knows this – the most secure place for the peoples of Syria as a whole to live is Rojava. That is those peoples who are living in the cantons of Cizîre, Kobanê and Afrin. Not only local people are living in Rojava. Civilians forced to flee fighting between the opposition and the regime or between different elements of the opposition as well as the majority of the poor have come and settled in Rojava. They chose the Kurdish regions under our administration and defended by our forces in order to live in security. People have come and settled in Qamişlo, Afrin, and Kobanê. The majority of Rakka has migrated and settled in Kobanê. The area around Hesekê has been almost completely evacuated and people have settled in Qamişlo. Hundreds of thousands of people have migrated from Aleppo and settled in Afrin. People have migrated from Hama, Homs and Damascus and come to our region. People from all faith and ethnic backgrounds have come and settled [here]. In all of this is the security provided by YPG’s understanding of defense.

As the YPG we are proud of this. And our heads are held high. We are happy that the peoples of Syria today find our regions to be the most secure and come and settle here. Because the YPG is defending them, it provided for such conditions and is protecting them.

We Have The Right To Respond To Attacks

Are your statements valid for all forces? For example if regime forces direct an attack again your regions you will respond in a similar manner…  

In the recent period attacks against us have increased more from groups coming from abroad. However our statement is very clear. We will respond in the strongest manner to any force that threatens or attacks the Kurdish regions no matter who they might be. It does not matter if it is the regime or other armed groups. Reciprocal action will be taken against any force that threatens or attacks our regions. Because we do not have a duty only to our own regions but we also have a duty toward the protection of the Syrian revolution and we are attempting to carry out this duty.

No matter what power employs threats or attacks us we have a right to respond on the basis of legitimate defense. We will employ this right to the end…there are rules of wars regarding legitimate defense and we will act according to them.

We Are Ready For An Alliance With The Forces Of The Syrian Revolution

Why did you feel the need to begin such a process?

Our statement merely spelled out the goals and philosophy of the YPG, nothing more. Notice that the subject of the statement coincides with the results of the YPG conference. They complete each other. They do not exclude or invalidate each other. There were certain segments who wanted to characterize our recent struggle around Cizîrê, Kobanê and Aleppo as an “Arab-Kurdish” conflict.  In fact it was never like this. On the contrary we wanted to have relations and to be in an alliance with all the revolutionary forces of Syria.

With our statement we are saying that we are ready for this if they have come to this point and have the will. If there are forces which want Syria’s freedom, which want democracy in Syria, which want what is in the interests of the people of Syria, and which want to make a meaningful revolution then we are saying we are ready to establish relations and an alliance with these forces. We have always said this. We have the goal of building a democratic Syria. We have no goal to dominate the life-spaces of the people or the places that they live and we never have. We also have no such goal as to threaten the gains of others and we never have. Our goal is to protect the Kurdistani regions, to protect our revolution and to be an example for Syria. And up until now we have proven this with our practice.

We have a goal to be in an alliance and to have relations with the all the revolutionary forces of Syria. We believe that our resistance will strengthen those who say ‘we are the revolutionary force and will in Syria.’ Because we are carrying out a war against savagery and appropriation by foreign powers. And we are struggling arduously against that bigoted segment and those forces which are attempting to bring Syria back to dark ages. We resisted an intervention of foreign powers with our strength, our faith and our knowledge. With this resistance we obstructed the implementation of the schemes of foreign powers.

We obstructed the schemes that Saudi Arabia, the imperialist powers and Turkey were developing for Syria. We do not allow this. Secondly, we did not allow the emergence of war lords. We did not allow those groups of thieves and gangs to divide up Syria in the name of the revolution. We also did not allow imposter groups operating in the name of radical Islam who wanted to darken Syria to reach their goal. We were able to do all of these by paying a heavy price. We also stood in the way of the success of the Syrian Baathist Regime’s political, military and diplomatic attacks through every kind of resistance. We did not allow them to reach their goal.

We stood against the schemes of the regime in the Kurdish regions of Aleppo, in Gir Ziro, Tirbespiyê and other places. We prevented them from being successful. Because we believe that we are the real force of the Syrian revolution. We also understood that the duty of defending the revolution fell to us. Our war actually proved to be not only the war to protect Kurdish regions but at the same time to be a war to strengthen the forces of the Syrian revolution. Over the past two years we have paid a heavy price and have proved that we are the real force that wants democracy in Syria and the freedom of the peoples. In the period before us we will also operate with this target.

We Proved That We Exist With Our Own Will

How should your position be understood by international powers, the Syrian Baath Regime and the revolutionary forces?

What a pity that all the international powers who say they are thinking of Syria are actually in pursuit of their own interests. They don’t care at all if millions of Syrian people die in order for them to reach their goals. Today in Syria a dirty war is being orchestrated. Imperialist powers and in particular Western Countries together with the US, and regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan do not care at all if millions of Syrians die in order for them to protect their interests. The goal of all of these powers is that their schemes find life in Syria.

We believed from the beginning that the calculations and goals of these powers were always thus. And we dealt with ourselves and operated according to this. From the beginning we were guessing that the revolutionary process in Syria would be difficult. For this reason we adopted a conscious political and defensive position. We operated according to this and from the beginning worked to keep the goals of the imperialist powers out of the Kurdish region. We succeeded in this. We were not only content with defense. This approach also enabled us to achieve gains for Kurds and the peoples of the region. With this approach of ours we attempted to gain the acceptance of our existence as the Kurdish people and to prove that we were one of the foundational forces of this country. On this subject we covered a lot of ground. We worked to show that we operated through our own will and with our own strength and we showed this. We wanted them to understand this well and we worked so that they would comprehend this. We do not operate according to how international powers will see us and we will not.

From the beginning we knew that Western and some regional powers, together with collaborationist Kurds had secret schemes for Rojava and Syria and we struggled to defeat them. Many plots were hatched against the Kurdish regions. In fact in these most recent attacks directed against us some of them wanted to play a role. Every power wanted to play a role in a different way. The duty to deny the revolution fell to the Kurdish nationalists.

We defeated all of their plans, schemes and conspiracies. We went forward trusting in ourselves, our people and the peoples without hoping for or expecting anything from [foreign powers]. We developed our defense in accordance with the philosophy in which we believe and which we take as our principal. We made a move to put together an example of a real and lasting solution in Syria. That is to say that in stopping our military push with this statement we are moving toward a resolution based on a political move. We believe that we will be successful in this. And in succeeding we will defeat the schemes of the conspiratorial forces together with the treacherous, collaborationist forces.

All powers must understand that we are a disciplined and organized power. They should know we have reflected on these values deeply and in their entirety. They need to understand that we are not a power that has arisen out of tactical considerations or interests. Our force is a force that could fight for years. We are a part of a Syria seeking its freedom and its will. We are a part seeking its own autonomy and seeking its own freedom. We took a step to show that we are ready to leave in a Syria with a more democratic future together with Arabs, Syriacs, Turkmens, Assyrians, Chechens, and all the people of Syria as well as Alawites, Azidis, Armenians and all faith groups with which we have lived together for centuries

We Took This Step So That The Canton Governments Could Play Their Part

Did the proclamation of the canton governments play a role in your statement?

We began this process in order to respond to a demand to provide an opportunity for the proclaimed canton governments to play their part. They requested that we begin such a process officially so that they could take on their role in [building]  unity, integrity and peace in Syria. They said that in order for them to play their part the war needed to end. We took this step upon the request of our political leadership and its will in order that politics could take the place of war.

However exactly the day after we made such a statement attacks on us began. As you know just a short time after our statement there was an attack against Til Maruf. This attack which took place was an attack completely against all values, faiths and the honor of the Kurds. But within a short time we had liberated Til Maruf from the attackers. Everyone should know that we will hold the attackers of Til Maruf to account and that we will not leave them alone until we have held them to account. Women were kidnapped there. There were attacks against mosques and holy places. Minarets were knocked down. Holy places were ravaged. To hold these attackers to account is the most natural right of defense.

One comment on “Hemo: We Have A Right To Respond To Attacks – Part II

  1. Welat Parez
    March 7, 2014

    I hope the YPG next time also talks about the imperialist powers like Russia, Iran.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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