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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Syria-Kurdistan, libertarian communist in the IFB # 07: " The coexistence between YPG and pro-Assad militiamen is quite tense " (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 8 Mar 2018 09:54:21 +0200

" The alliance displayed today in Afrin against the Turkish invasion does not change this rivalry ; it results from a compromise that can only be temporary. " ---- Libertarian Alternative reproduces the posts of the blog Kurdistan-Autogestion-Revolution where, after Arthur Aberlin, engaged in the YPG, now expresses Damien Keller, engaged him in the International Battalion of Liberation (IFB). ---- Over the weeks, he will testify to life in the IFB, the debates that are going on and the evolution of the revolutionary process in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. ---- International release Battalion, ---- Canton Cizîrê, 1 st March 2018 ---- The entry of Bashar al-Assad's troops into Afrin, to reinforce the Kurdish defense against the Turkish invasion, raises many questions. Will this end the offensive ? Are the Russians going to put pressure on Erdogan ? Did the SDS throw itself into the dictator's arms ? Were they cornered to the point of having no choice ? etc.

Above, the self-administration elected officials from Afrin Township on January 23 read a statement of resistance to the Turkish invasion. In arms.
To begin, we must measure the weakness of this reinforcement, more symbolic than anything else. It was not regular troops of the Syrian army that entered Afrin, but only a convoy of 300 to 400 Shiite militiamen (probably ultranationalist, so anti-Kurdish), with the red-white-black flag of the Baath party. A 2 e convoy bombed by Turkish artillery, fled to Aleppo and Afrin has not reached. For now, that's all. That's not much compared to the 30 or so thousands of MSF fighters and fighters who defend the township on foot.

As for cohabitation with these pro-Assad militiamen, it is obviously quite tense. As it is whenever we have to neighbor, whether in Hassakê, Qamislo or Deir ez-Zor.

Bloody clashes
Since 2011, the " armed peace " between the YPG-YPJ and the regime has been broken several times by bloody clashes. That of April 2016 in Qamislo has killed dozens of people. Ditto Hassakê, four months later, during clashes that saw the soldiers of Damascus almost driven out of the city. As for Deir ez-Zor, the regime's troops took advantage of the Turkish attack on Afrin to launch an assault on the SDF on February 8 - an assault that ended in a bloody rout for them.

The alliance displayed today in Afrîn facing the Turkish invasion does not change this rivalry ; it results from a compromise that can only be temporary.

A few words on Qamislo, the capital of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, where there is still a war atmosphere, with flags hanging on the roundabouts, discolored portraits of Abdullah Ocalan and martyrs (sêhid) of the revolution displayed in the streets.

The memory of the martyrs is very present: we baptize with their name schools, hospitals, premises of self-administration ; some businesses display their photos, as well as flags of the Turkish and / or Kurdish revolutionary organizations they support.

Traders refuse to pay for our purchases
Some destroyed buildings have not yet been cleared, some are uninhabitable, and interrupted shipyards have never restarted. In front of the local employment center, dozens of people are looking for work while the reconstruction of the country is hampered by the blockade organized by Turkey and its ally in Iraq, the Regional Government of Kurdistan.

In the midst of these ruins, schools work. Arab, Kurdish and Assyrian children often share the same, and sometimes walk several kilometers to get there.

A ceremony in Qamislo on 14 February for Afrîn defenders fallen in action.
In Qamislo, the regime of Damascus still holds an enclave. Nearby, the YPGs, the regular police as well as the regime's army each have their checkpoints. The portraits of Bachar el Assad and those of Ocalan sometimes meet, in a strange face-to-face. A war of images, with giant portraits shot.

Small shops and workshops are also open, despite the damage: often, parts of their walls were ripped to the ground to open passages during street fighting. These traders, who also display political posters, it is not uncommon for them to refuse that fighters and combatants pay for their purchases, even when we insist.

And then, there is Afrîn: the population lives to the rhythm of the information that comes from the battle, the demonstrations of solidarity and the funeral of the combatants and fighters who fall.

Damien Keller

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