SOHR exclusive | “Turkey threatens to launch military operation, exploiting current developments around the world and Russian-Ukrainian war, and any unstudied withdrawal by US forces will destabilise the region,” says Faisal Yusuf
In an exclusive interview with SOHR, the general coordinator of the Kurdish Reform Movement in Syria, Faisal Yusuf sees that Syria has become a battlefield for a regional and international conflict which embraces bargain deals at the expense of the Syrian people, clarifying that this situation has led to dramatic developments at the levels of political and military situations which are too far from Syrians’ will and ambition to enjoy freedom and dignity.
Q: From Tehran to Sochi where a bilateral summit was held between Putin and Erdogan a few days ago, can these summits succeed to prevent Turkey from launching an incursion in north Syria? And to what extent can Turkey be convinced with foregoing this plan?
A: Sadly, Syria has become a battlefield for a regional and international conflict, where bargain deals at the expense of the Syrian people of all backgrounds and the goals of their revolution. These deals have led to dramatic developments at the levels of political and military situations which are too far from Syrians’ will and ambition to enjoy freedom and dignity. Turkey has exploited these developments and succeeded to play a pivotal regional role which has negatively affected the path of solution for Syria’s crisis, especially after its direct military intervention into different areas in Syrian territory. Turkey is still threatening to launch a new military operation in Syria, exploiting the current complicated international developments and the Russian-Ukrainian war. However, it seems that Turkey failed so far to get permission from influential powers in Syria, mainly Russia and the USA both of which prefer to keep the current situation unchanged in order to avoid new tensions that could potentially exacerbate the Syrian crisis further and make them shoulder extra burdens and affect their policy in the region. Turkey will proceed with its efforts in that direction, but I do not think that it will get any permissions from the USA or Turkey’s allies in Astana path, Russia and Iran, to start a new incursion under the current situation.
Q: Do you think that the goal of Turkish forces presence in north Syria is to counter PKK and PYD or Turkey pursues other undeclared ambition?
A: The Kurdish cause in Turkey started before the establishment of the current Turkish republic. Sadly, no radical political solutions meeting the ambition of the Kurdish in this country has come to the fore. On the contrary, this cause has been addressed from military and security perspectives since the age of the Ottoman Empire. Whatever the justifications and excuses cited successively by Turkey and its government, it is important to find democratic and peaceful solutions of the Kurdish cause in Turkey away from violence and bloodshed. The best way to reach such solutions is manifested in dialogues and internal understandings between the Kurdish democratic powers and parties on one hand, and the Turkish government on the other, instead of exporting the internal crises to neighbouring countries, interfering into their interior affairs and turning their land into battlefields to settle conflicts, like what Turkey has done in Syria.
Q: What is your comment on the Russian-Turkish calls upon Washington to withdraw its forces from north Syria? And can US forces withdrawal affect SDF which cooperate with the US-led Coalition in countering ISIS?
A: Until now, US forces has been present in north Syria, and the objective of their presence in the country, which is manifested in the countering ISIS in Syria and Iraq, has not been accomplished. At the same time, Washington has stressed their support of a political settlement based on international resolutions related to the Syrian crisis. The general opinion in the USA exerts pressure on the Washington not to abandon its partners who have shared US forces their battles against ISIS.
Any unstudied withdrawal of US forces will destabilise the region and spur ISIS to activate its sleeper cells; this, in turn, will lead to new civilian exodus and complicate the situation further.
Q: How can you evaluate Russia’s stance regarding its predominance over the cause of cross-border aid to Syria? Is not it ambiguous that the “file” of the entry of humanitarian assistance to millions of people to be let under the mercy of Russian veto?
A: If the Syrian crisis is not entirely addressed with the aim of reaching a solution, them Syria will remain a source of instability in the entire world. The issue of cross-border aid to Syria and humanitarian assistance, which is delivered to few segments of Syrian society in specific geographical areas, is a normal result of the political intransigence towards reaching a political settlement and implementation of Resolution No. 2254. Turning this issue into a bargaining chip by Russia aims at exerting pressure on international authorities and institutions and supporting the Syrian regime to impose its control over the entire Syrian geography in accordance with Russia’s strategic interests in Syria. With the deteriorating economic and living conditions of the Syrian people of all backgrounds, the international community has to find a solution for their sufferings as soon as possible and exert pressure on all conflicting powers in Syria to reach a political settlement leading to the achieving Syrians’ ambition of enjoying freedom, democracy and equality in a civil state respecting pluralism and diversity.
Q: Are the ongoing freefall of the Syrian currency and raging war in Ukraine, which seems that will not reach an end soon, can exacerbate the situation in Syria further?
A: The situation in Syrian deteriorates on a daily basis, while Syrian families’ options to improve their financial and living conditions have been vanished almost completely, because of the continuity of the crisis with all currently proposed solution reaching a deadlock, as well as the unstable situation which is considered a by-product of efforts exerted by influential powers in Syria to achieve their narrow interests. Immigration has become the only option for Syrians to flee from their sufferings and tragedy.
On the other hand, the war in Ukraine affected the issue of humanitarian assistance somehow, changing the priorities of major powers concerned with the Syrian crisis.
Q: Is Syria’s return to the Arab League imminent in light of several indications, especially the Algerian stance supporting its attendance in the coming summit?
A: No matter whether Syria rejoins the Arab League or not, Syrian people of all backgrounds are looking forward to getting rid of their daily sufferings and having the objectives and demands of the Syrian Revolution achieved. I do not think that the return of Syria to the Arab League depends only on stances by some Arab countries. This step also related to international consensuses, as well as other efforts aiming at “recycling” the regime without implementation of the international resolutions designed to solve the Syrian crisis.