Kurdistan // Turkey and jihadis preparing the invasion of Rojava~ 7 min

By Bruno Garrido

Yesterday, Donald Trump and the White House announced the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria. The statement says:

Turkey will soon start its operation in northern Syria (…) and the US military will not support or be involved in the operation (…) having defeated the territorial “caliphate” of ISIS.

Shortly after the statement was released, Donald Trump, in a series of tweets, said it was time for the US to leave Syria, a “costly” war.  Challenging other forces in the region to take control of the situation and deal with the thousands of ISIS fighters whom he no longer considers a US problem.

In a statement, the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) general command said:

Despite our efforts to avoid a military confrontation with Turkey. … US forces failed to fulfill their obligations and withdrew from the borders with Turkey, which is preparing for an invasion of northern Syria.


The Turkish military operation in northern Syria will have a negative impact on the war against ISIS and will destroy all the stability that has been achieved in recent years. (…) We in the SDF will not hesitate for a moment to defend ourselves and we call on all people, Arabs, Kurds, Syriac and Assyrians to join forces to defend the country against Turkish aggression.

The current situation means that the Kurds are once again trapped in a war that they didn’t create, but at which they were present since the first moment, at the forefront of defending the peoples of the region and fighting for the preservation of Syrian territorial integrity.

Trump’s decision has faced enormous internal resistance, coming under pressure from the Pentagon, where several sectors have claimed it to be a strategic mistake. Several US senators have said that betraying the Kurdish people is one of the worst decisions in the history of American diplomacy.

However, such support should always be viewed as highly cynical. The interest of the Pentagon and senators like Lindsey Graham is the territorial fragmentation of Syria and the continuation of eternal war in the region, which fills many pockets. The Kurds are just a means to that end.

Geopolitics and reaction of international actors

Following the decision to withdraw US troops, one of the SDF cadres said they might be open to negotiations with Damascus to form a joint operation to prevent Turkish military occupation.

Although there is a lot of conflicting information on the ground at the moment, it is unlikely that an alliance with Damascus will come to fruition, with the memory of Afrin still fresh in everyone’s mind. The government of Damascus has already issued an official opinion rejecting any Turkish occupation.

The French Foreign Minister expressed concern about the withdrawal of US troops and recommended caution to the US government. For its part, London said that if US troops withdraw, England will also withdraw from the zone.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in a telephone conversation with Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that Iran opposes an invasion of northern Syria and any aggression against the Kurdish people. Meanwhile, the UN is concerned about the worst case scenario.

International solidarity

Discussions about the Turkish invasion have been circulating in the region for months. Erdogan has repeatedly asserted that the occupation to eradicate “Kurdish terrorists” is drawing ever closer. In spring, the # RiseupUp4Rojava campaign was born, calling for international solidarity to act against the military occupation. During its last campaign, “Call for the day X: No War in Northern Syria” the organized movement of northern Syria called for:

Should it come to Day X, the beginning of a Turkish invasion: take to the streets, take actions, occupy, disrupt and block! Show those responsible in the government offices and company headquarters what you think of their war!Together we can stop the war of aggression of Turkey! No war against Northern Syria!

Under this pretext, several demonstrations have already happened since yesterday in cities like Paris, Rennes, Bern, Marseille, etc. which Portugal will join this Thursday in Porto and next Saturday in Lisbon.

Turkey and psychological war

One of the main weapons used by the Turkish regime is psychological warfare, which has been used in the area for months. At this moment, and as the situation becomes delicate, care must be taken with the sources and the misinformation that is beginning to circulate from various media outlets under the orders of the Erdogan regime.

While it is true that the US withdrawal is imminent, from about 2500 US troops in the area, so far only about 200 have withdrawn from border areas. The Kurdish movement has always been aware that their only friends are the mountains, and are prepared to defend the people of the area and preserve the successes of the Kurdish revolution.

Yesterday, just hours after the White House announcement, some media outlets began to report that the attacks on Rojava had begun. But up until yesterday, we were able to confirm with a comrade present in northern Syria that “so far no bombing had hit the area.”

He advised everyone to “beware of spreading [false] information” and that many of the bombings that syria.liveupmap reports are fake. So far there were no bombing in Derik [border area]. He adds to our conversation that:

It’s very easy to use bombing videos and say that’s this and that. For now, the only confirmation we have is of a bombing near Semalka – the border area between the KRG and Rojava – try to follow the right sources and search different media. As long as we have Internet from the commune, we will continue to report on events, while for mobilizations and international solidarity, the comrades from RiseUp4Rojava campaign will be reporting.

Today, the military presence at different points of the border has intensified, with several jihadist militias positioning themselves near the north awaiting Turkish orders. One of these is Ahrar al-Sharqiya, jihadists who previously belonged to al-Nusra, which everyone remembers as the arm of al-Qaeda in Syria. Most of their members moved from Deir ez-Zor in the south for this fight. Also the jihadist militias that have occupied Afrin for months are prepared for the attack. In fact, today they have already begun the first attacks on Afrin villages that had not been occupied.

Solidarity actions

Several demonstrations took place today in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, where thousands of people gathered on the border with Turkey to form a giant human shield. They say they will not allow Turkey to invade their lands and are willing to resist a possible invasion until the end.

In the early evening, new bombings were reported near the road linking Iraqi Regional Kurdistan to Rojava. No injuries were reported and the SDF said they would not respond to Turkish provocations.

Today we are back in contact with one comrade on the ground, who says that:

Morale is high, and we have been preparing for this moment for months. We are in emergency mode and expect the possibility of attacks soon, but this may not happen. It’s a bit like evictions, you’re never sure if they will come or not. At this moment we find ourselves in a war to wear us down and above all of psychological terror.

He emphasizes the need to build up international networks and maintain “morale and motivation high, we have everything organized, let’s now focus on the RiseUp4Rojava campaign and activate international networks.”

Recalling Afrin’s experience, he stresses that we need to be aware of what we share and where we consult information.

As in Afrin, here we also see that the war is mostly about information at this stage. There are many fake account spreading misinformation. We have a communication team informing [from] the ground which will disseminate all its information through the [RiseUp4Rojava] campaign. Like us, Turkey has also been preparing for this war for many months, so they will surely have surprises prepared, and we must be aware of all possibilities.

Some informative texts:

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