In light of the recent attacks by Turkish forces on sovereign Kurdish land in the territories of Afrin and Manbij, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has released a public statement:
We in the Syrian Democratic Forces are a peaceful movement focused on defeating Daesh and bringing stability to Syria consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We seek a unified Syria, at peace with its neighbors. We harbor no hostility towards anyone other than Daesh, which, thanks to our heroic fighters, has one foot in the grave.
We are in the midst of operations in eastern Syria to defeat Daesh once and for all. We have lost a number of martyrs even in the last 24 hours in these battles against Daesh. These operations are in the decisive phase and we are prepared to complete them.
The sudden and unjustified threats of offensive operations from Turkey into Afrin, Syria, threatens to breathe new life into Daesh. These threats are wholly unjustified as we are determined to preserve the sovereign borders of Syria, and would not allow any hostile acts to launch against Turkey from Syrian soil, including from Afrin. Allegations that we have launched attacks across the border are false and a pretext for Turkey to bring its military forces and its extremist opposition groups onto Syrian soil. This would be an act of aggression against us, our people, and Syria.
If attacked, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves and our people, but we state in front of the world that we harbor no hostile intent towards Turkey and would only take measures in our own defence in the event of hostile operations against our people.
We call on Turkey to halt its unjustified threats and we call on the international community to ensure that all attention is paid to Daesh, which is not yet defeated, and to forging a lasting political solution in Syria to end the suffering of the Syrian people once and for all.
We, as Syrians, do not seek or need a new front after so many years of conflict and war. It is time, after the defeat of Daesh, to focus on political reconciliation and rebuilding our country.”
– General Commander of The Syrian Democratic Forces; January 20, 2018.
The SDF have been engaged in conflict with Turkish military forces since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield earlier last year. Tensions have been on the rise as the SDF and coalition prepare to stand up a new Border Guard, utilizing the SDF as a basis for its organization. Turkish President Erdoğan has made multiple threats to attack the Syrian Kurds if they do not relinquish control of the Afrin and Manbij territories.
Featured image: A members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk inside a prison built by Islamic State fighters at the stadium that was the site of IS fighters’ last stand in the city of Raqqa, Syria, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. The SDF on Friday declared from the stadium during a ceremony the “total liberation” of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State for more than three years. (Photo/Asmaa Waguih).