The Residents of Syria: Kurdish Political Figures Betrayed Ordinary Kurds and Syrians by Building Relations with America

Translated by Ollie Richardson

30/03/2018 1/2


The special correspondent of the Federal News Agency (FAN) in Syria met the Syrian journalist Rafiq Lutf, who repeatedly visited Afrin even prior to the Turkish “Olive Branch” operation. Our reporter talked to him about the moods that reigned in the Kurdish people, the activity of the leaders of Rojava, and the possible further succession of events in the northern part of the Republic.

The interlocutor of the FAN emphasised that the steps taken by the leaders of Kurdistan aimed at separation between this self-proclaimed region from the Syrian Arab Republic don’t reflect the opinion of the ordinary inhabitants of Afrin or other parts of Rojava at all. Both the Kurds and Arabs living here unambiguously support remaining a part of a united Syria, and even more so would like to transfer the Northern part of the Republic to the jurisdiction of the official government of the country. This was supported by the population of Northwest Aleppo when the Turkish threat hung over the canton.

“I was in Afrin even before Turkish units and their allies arrived there, and, frankly speaking, life was difficult for the people there. Then the ‘Olive Branch’ forces entered, and fights between the Kurdish formations and the Turkish army started. It is necessary to say that the ordinary inhabitants of the canton – whether Kurds or Arabs – were initially against leaders of Kurdish parties and leaders of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who wanted to separate from Syria. People, on the contrary, wanted the Syrian army to enter that area, because they knew that without them the situation can only become worse,” noted Rafiq Lutf.

He also added that during this whole situation in Afrin, the United States tried to use it in its own favour. On the one hand, they wanted to make Ankara and Moscow quarrel, and on the other hand a new center of instability inflaming in Syria is beneficial for them. According to the journalist, the Americans always see only their own interests and act only in accordance with them, and methods and means aren’t important for them.

“I think that the United States played a very cunning role here, they wanted to pit Turkey against its allies, i.e. against Russia and Iran. I consider that this was simply revenge or such a desperate reaction to defeats and failures, especially against the background of the successful activity of the Russian Federation and Iran in the Middle East. Russia played a big role in changing the situation in Syria, including trying to resolve the problems in Afrin. Russia has quite good relations with Turkey, but the US was interested in spoiling them. They consider that since Turkey is a part of NATO, its policy must be built according to American interests,” stressed the interlocutor of the FAN.

The journalist emphasised more than once that it is exactly Russia that is the main peacekeeper in Syria. This is exactly the one and only party that sincerely seeks to bring order to the Syrian Arab Republic and to settle the conflict.

“Our Russian friends have principles and values, and they from the very beginning were honest with us. We never saw Russia telling us one thing, but doing another. The Russian Federation always wanted peace, and didn’t intervene in the conflict for five years. But when it became absolutely clear for Moscow that the US behaves extremely impudently and immorally in Syria, and that peace can’t be achieved in this way, it decided to say to Washington and the whole world — ‘Enough!’. Earlier in Syria terrorism was raging, and Russia indeed fought against it, unlike the US. And the result can now be seen by all,” concluded Rafiq Lutf.

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The special correspondent of the FAN in Syria also visited the city of Latakia, where local residents were interviewed and their opinion concerning the role of Kurds in the Syrian conflict and Ankara’s military operation in the north of the Arab republic became known.

Our interlocutors noted that it is necessary to immediately distinguish between the Kurdish people and the Kurdish leaders. If the former are the first to be considered as absolutely fully-fledged citizens of a united Syria, then the activity of the latter remains incomprehensible for them and even causes offense. One of the residents of Latakia emphasised that all the latest steps taken by the administration of so-called Kurdistan had the disintegration of the country and secession from the Syrian Arab Republic in mind. And this causes bewilderment, since before the crisis the Kurds had no problems and were a part of a united Syrian society. In other words — the Kurdish question simply didn’t exist.

“The Kurds were among those inhabitants with who the Syrian leaders always behaved generously, they didn’t refuse them anything, they respected their national features, and helped them in every possible way. However, Kurdish political figures and party leaders at some stage chose the wrong path and acted in defiance of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic. This happened not once or twice – they repeatedly behaved incorrectly in relation to the Syrian authorities. One of such wrongful acts is the political relations that the Kurds built with the United States. My opinion concerning the Kurds is the opinion of the ordinary citizen: I think that it is exactly the Kurdish political leaders who are to blame for the situation that the once peaceful Kurds are now in,” noted the man.

Another interlocutor admitted that he was surprised by the decision of the command of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to reject the offer of the Russian centre for reconciliation of opposing sides and the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and to leave Afrin under its control in such a difficult situation. Kurds, even being in this position, continued to think of themselves as being separate from a Syria that always gave them everything they needed and thus respected their national traditions, recognising their special rights. According to the resident of Latakia, Rojava answered Damascus with another betrayal.

“Before Turkey entered Afrin, the Syrian army tried to protect the inhabitants of areas where there were Kurdish ‘Democratic forces’. Nevertheless, representatives of the command of the SDF rejected the appeals of the Russian Federation and the government in Damascus and didn’t want to hoist the national flag of Syria over the territories that were under their control. On the contrary, they raised Kurdish flags instead of Syrian one. For me it is a pity that they did this, after all they, like me, are citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic. Our State granted them special rights considering their national traditions. They studied and received medical treatment in our Republic, like all other Syrian citizens,” stated the interlocutor of the FAN.

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