Syria’s Kurds deserve international protection
Xeber24.net – The Guardian
The world owes the Kurds a huge debt of gratitude for helping to defeat Islamic State, says Fionn Skiotis
Ilham Ahmed is right in calling for an international presence to protect the predominantly Kurdish areas of northern Syria (Syrian Kurdish leader: border force needed to protect us from Turkey, theguardian.com, 19 February). Turkey has for years been threatening the Kurds in Syria, and in 2018 invaded Afrin with the aid of Islamist proxies, causing bloodshed, displacement and ethnic cleansing. Turkey’s oft-repeated justification for its stance is that the Kurdish YPG and YPJ militias are “terrorists”. The falsity of this claim is clear on even a cursory examination.
As the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the YPG/YPJ have, since 2015, led the successful fight against Islamic State, with the aid of a US-led coalition. They have been praised by US generals as a disciplined and effective force. At the cost of many casualties, they are now on the cusp of defeating Isis in its last territorial stronghold. For this alone, the world owes the Kurds a huge debt of gratitude.
But it is in the liberated areas that the true nature of the SDF is clearly seen. There, refugees have been sheltered, popular democratic councils established and real pluralism practised. Women have taken huge strides towards emancipation, and ecological issues given serious attention.
So the YPG/YPJ are democratic, feminist, multicultural and green – hardly qualifying them as terrorists – and have defeated the region’s worst terrorist threat in cooperation with western allies. The west should repay the Kurds by standing up to Turkey’s lies and ensuring the autonomous region is free from aggression.