As many people expected, the Turkish regime led by Tayyip Erdogan has resumed its offensive against the Kurds in Syria, with an apparent go-ahead from U.S. imperialism. In recent years, Washington had given military aid to the “Syrian Democratic Forces,” in which the Kurdish People’s Defense Forces (YPG) played a major role in the fighting. The U.S. goal has been to use the YPG to weaken the Damascus government, under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State forces.
Since the U.S. has no permanent allies — only permanent interests — it surprised few people that, when the Assad government regained control of most of Syria’s territory, Washington would abandon its temporary ally in Syria’s Kurdish region and leave the Kurds as a target of the oppressive Turkish regime. The following article appeared in the German daily newspaper Junge Welt on Nov. 1.
On the morning of Oct. 31, the Turkish army shelled the villages of Korel, Selim and Ashma in northern Syria, west of the town of Kobani (Ain Al-Arab), which is mainly inhabited by Kurds. The day before, the military from the neighboring country of Turkey had attacked the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.
Anha, a news agency, reported that civilians had been injured. Four fighters from the Kurdish People’s Defense Forces (YPG) were killed and six others were injured in fighting in the Syrian-Turkish border area on Oct. 31.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDK) military alliance issued a statement which said it had “the right to retaliate for any attack on our territories.” The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), an umbrella organization of the SDK, condemned Turkey’s aggression in a statement on Oct. 30, and called on the U.S.-led “international coalition against the Islamic State” to “live up to its responsibility.”
The SDC alliance also called on the Syrian government “not to remain silent and to take action within the framework of international legislation.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had equated the Syrian-Kurdish party of the Democratic Union (PYD) with the terrorist organization “Islamic State” at a summit meeting attended by Turkey, France, Russia and Germany on Oct. 27. He pledged that the PYD would be exterminated.
Turkey seeks to extend its presence in northern Syria further to the east. Officially, Erdogan justifies this goal as necessary in “the fight against terror” carried out by IS and PYD. However, it could also serve to expand Turkish control over oil and gas resources in northern and eastern Syria, with Washington’s tacit consent.
Germany Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier stated in Ankara on Oct. 26 that the city sees itself as “a regional hub for oil and gas supplies.” Berlin aims to support Turkey in this.
Riza Altun, member of the Executive Council of the Community of Societies of Kurdistan (KCK), told Mediya TV that the U.S. “wants to create a new order in the Middle East.” According to Altun, co-founder of the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), this is “in the context of a reorganization of global relations.” This type of endeavor is always associated with new crises.
Leukefeld has been covering news in Syria and the region for over a decade. Translation by Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto.