SOHR exclusive | “Turkey is ready to agree with all parties, including the Syrian regime, in order to abort the Autonomous Administration experiment and eliminate the Kurds,” says Badran Jia Kurd
Regime forces continue besieging the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud and Al-Ashrafiyah in Aleppo, amid condemnation by the Autonomous Administration against. This stifling siege has impacted the humanitarian situation in the two neighbourhoods badly and led to prohibitively high prices, amid accusations against Damascus of “preventing the entry of medicine, imposing huge financial levies and allowing the entry of only few amounts of flour and basic products.”
In an exclusive SOHR interview, Badran Jia Kurd, a vice president of the regional administration, stated that the siege imposed on Sheikh Maqsoud and Al-Ashrafiyah neighbourhoods in Aleppo is a part of attacks on the Autonomous Administration and Aleppo region in order to weaken the administration and force it to back away from Damascus policy, accusing Turkey of “attempting to deal with Damascus to strike the north Syria region and eliminate the Kurds.”
Q: What is the reason behind besieging Sheikh Maqsoud and Al-Ashrafiyah neighbourhoods in Aleppo? Are there any political dimensions?
A: The siege came after practices by the Fourth Division which has deliberately clamped down on our people in Aleppo. Most of the inhabitants of Sheikh Maqsoud and Al-Ashrafiyah neighbourhoods had been already forced to displace from Afrin, fleeing from Turkey’s policy. The objects of this siege are clear, where the Syrian regime is trying to strip these neighbourhoods of their identities and features, as areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration, and to impose its influence. Accordingly, attempts by the regime are underway to isolate the two neighbourhoods, impose strict security measures and levies and drive young men to mandatory conscription. This, of course, complicates the situation further, especially since these neighbourhoods had been under strict siege for years and resisted extremist Islamist factions. So, the current practices bring to mind this period of the earlier strict siege and is considered an attack on the resistance and struggle in these neighbourhoods which have sought to achieve security and stability. It is also about blackmail, through imposing taxes and collecting levies, even during Ramadan. There will be serious negative effects and stronger reaction, if the situation is evolved and exacerbated further. We hope that there will not be any escalation and the crisis to be settled politically. We, at the Autonomous Administration will never accept that this siege to continue, and we will adopt a clear stance, unless the crisis is settled in days.
Q: Recently, there have been communication between Turkey and Syrian regime. If we linked them with the ongoing Turkish attacks on north and east Syria and Al-Shahbaa region, do these communications come under a deal between the two sides?
A: Turkey has never minded to strike deals with any party in order to abort democratic projects, eliminate the Kurds and bring gains. At the local level, Turkey is attempting to strike deals with Damascus against our areas, with Kurdistan Democratic Party in Pashur against the areas controlled by the Legitimate Defence Forces and with Baghdad against Sinjar. Moreover, Turkey wants to involve NATO into exterminating the Kurds, even in north-east Syria, Sinjar or areas controlled by the Legitimate Defence Forces.
We think that the communications with the Syrian regime have not stopped at all, at least at the level of the intelligence cooperation. There is an indirect deal on countering the Autonomous Administration’s experiment, although it is a Syrian project working in the favour of Syria and its unity. On the other hand, Turkey’s projects aim to divide Syria and threaten its integrity. However, we notice the Syrian regime seeking to attract Turkey for new deals. We hope that no actor involved in the Syrian crisis will prioritise private agendas over the future of Syria and its people. Today, there are occupation, mercenaries and demographic change in Syria, and this situation is very dangerous to the position of Damascus government.
Q: Does this siege comes under efforts aiming to subjugate the Autonomous Administration and its political project, as you describe?
A:The siege is a part of the attack on the Autonomous Administration to weaken its position and force it to back away from the policy of Damascus. This is an old-fashioned policy, but it is not effective no more. On the contrary, this policy complicates the situation further. The settlement of the Syrian crisis is manifested in starting dialogues among all Syrians with the aim of putting an end to the deteriorating humanitarian situation and economic hardship and working on securing a future in which all Syrian can enjoy democracy.