NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — Commenting on the escalating attacks of Turkey and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) on North and East Syria, particularly Ayn Issa and Tel Tamr, former Co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD) and current and now a foreign relations official in the Movement for a Democratic Society (Tevgera Civaka Demokratîk, TEV-DEM) Salih Muslim said that Ankara is trying to complete what it started between 1915 and 1925.
When the Islamic State (ISIS) was attacking the Yezidis of Shengal (Sinjar) and Christian Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians of Nineveh Plains in Iraq, Turkey did nothing to intervene and even left its borders open to extremists seeking to join ISIS, said Muslim. Allowing, and even helping, ISIS to uproot the Yezidi and Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people from their ancestral lands, was in the interest of Turkey, he continued, saying Turkey’s strategic goal is to reclaim territories it has lost since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey is exploiting the tensions in the Middle East and pursing expansionist policies using its proxies, Muslim said. When its proxies cannot implement Turkey’s agenda, it intervenes directly, he added.
Regarding the Turkish incursion into Syria, he stated that when the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) failed to achieve the Turkish goal, it intervened itself.
“The repeated attacks on Afrin and Ras al-Ayn are an example of that,” Muslim added.
Turkey’s attacks have not stopped since the occupation of Cafrin (Afrin), Azaz, Jarabulus, and the rest of the region, despite the cease-fire agreements with the U.S. and Russia, said Muslim. Turkey has not respected the charters of the agreement by bombing the areas adjacent to it with heavy artillery and drones, he added.
Muslim pointed out that Turkey is particularly focusing attacks on Tel Tamr because it is the home of Syriacs–Assyrians.
“Turkey intends to occupy the areas of Tel Tamr, its countryside, and Ayn Issa, in order to prevent the return of the Turkish-occupied areas to the rightful inhabitants.”
The response to the Turkish and SNA attacks is being carried out by the Tel Tamr Military Council, said Muslim, and it is outside the scope that was determined for the ceasefire and the points from which the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are withdrawing.