SOHR Exclusive Videos | After mutual accusations on social media, relatives of “Peshmerga of Rojava” fighters talk to SOHR about accuracy of the information concerning threats against them
A few days ago, the SDF met with relatives of fighters in the so-called “Peshmerga of Rojava” forces operating in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. “Peshmerga of Rojava” is a military force comprising NE Syrian Kurdish fighters who sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq over periods since the beginning of the Syrian revolution. Some of those fighters were in the ranks of regime forces, where they were brought together by military commanders in the region and establishedthe “Peshmerga of Rojava”.
The meeting between the relatives and SDF generated varying reactions among the people of the region, especially after information circulated on social media about the threats issued by SDF leaders against the families of the “Peshmerga of Rojava” fighters; this information was denied by some of the residents, while parties close to the Kurdish National Council residing in Iraqi Kurdistan confirmed it.
Reliable sources have informed SOHR that the SDF leadership told the fighters’ families that they would be treated as ISIS families if one of their sons got involved in Kurdish-Kurdish infighting.
A military source in SDF said that the meeting, which took place in a former headquarters of SDF in al-Darbasiya area in Al-Hasakah countryside, came at the request of leaders in SDF and the relatives of the fighters were invited and accepted the invitation voluntarily.
The meeting focused on the fighters affiliated with the “Peshmerga of Rojava”, and stressed the need for remaining vigilant concerning the use of these fighters in a Kurdish-Kurdish conflict. SDF leaders also warned the relatives of the fighters that Turkey would use their sons as a tool in their operations in NE Syria, and use them to confront PKK fighters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
In turn, the relatives of the fighters welcomed the SDF Leaders’ statement and confirmed that “they were not warmongers and did not want any infighting between brothers.”
SOHR has met with relatives of fighters of the “Peshmerga of Rojava” in al-Darbasiya area and interviewed them to verify the information concerning the alleged threats issued against them by SDF leaders.
Sheikh of Sarokhana clan has said: “I have over 20 people of my family who are part of the “Peshmerga of Rojava” and they are my nephews and I am proud of them because they are carrying weapons to defend Kurdistan, whether in Syria or Iraq.
I am here in Derbasiya and no one has threatened me and I will not accept to be threatened, and if that happens, I will expose them on the internet, TV channels and all the media.”
Mr. Rizan Dahham Khalaf from the village of Berkafari, which belongs to al-Derbasiya, has added: “My brother is called Bankin, a member of the Peshmerga of Rojava”, and we have not been threatened, neither I nor my family by SDF, the Self-Administration or any other entity in NE Syria. All the information that has been circulated is baseless allegations aimed at creating strife and destroying Kurdish-Kurdish agreements. What happened was a call by SDF to warn us not to let our sons get involved in any battles that would lead to Kurdish-Kurdish conflict, and they warned us in a friendly and respectful way.”
The third person interviewed by SOHR was Al-Sayed Hassan who is an official in Al-Darbasiyyah silos and whose brother is a member of the “Peshmerga Forces of Rojava”. Mr. Hassan had been summoned by SDF where he was informed the following, as he told SOHR in Kurdish, “you have a brother in the Peshmerga Forces of Rojava, and you would better tell him to split from these forces and leave for Europe or return to Syria. The most important thing for him is not to continue with Peshmerga Forces. We do not want your brother to engage in a Kurdish-Kurdish fight.”
Mr. Hassan added “I asked them, why do I have to urge my brother to leave the Peshmerga Forces of Rojava? They replied, these forces will send your brother to fight against Kurdistan Workers’ Party. We do not want such fight to ignite angry reaction of the residents of north-eastern Syria, who will see that your people fight their sons. If there are any human losses on one side, then there will be undesired troubles. Accordingly, we hope that your people will not be a part of this fight in the case that such fight erupts, so that we will avoid a possible bad consequence affecting our region.”
“SDF command asked me if I was able to keep my brother away from the Peshmerga Forces of Rojava, and I told them that he willingly joined Peshmerga Forces, so I was not able to persuade him to stay away of them,” he added.
“I have not been threatened of detention by SDF, all what happened is that I told you,” said Mr. Hassan.
SOHR interviewed another man called Ahmed Mamdouh Hassu who is from Al-Darbasiyyah area and his nephew is a member of the Peshmerga Forces of Rojava. Mr. Ahmed said “I was respectfully summoned by SDF who asked me to work on keeping my nephew away from any Kurdish-Kurdish fight, as such action will serve nobody’s interest. They have not offended me or my family, no one has been displaced, arrested or killed.”
Mr. Hussam Al-Din who is from Al-Dalawiyah village said ” I was invited to visit SDF and I accepted. When I went there, I was treated like a guest, where I was asked to attempt to prevent my relatives who serve in the ranks of the Peshmerga Forces of Rojava from being involved in any Kurdish-Kurdish fight. All reports circulated on media outlets of threats against us are completely untrue.”