A slew of con­di­tion­als have appeared in recent news reports,  pub­lished as if they were truths, con­cern­ing Afrin and North­ern Syr­ia. “A secret agree­ment would have been reached with the regime for deploy­ment of the Syr­i­an army in Afrin.” 

Here then, we have the “Kur­dish ter­ror­ists” who, after mak­ing  alliance with ISIS, accord­ing to min­is­ters and offi­cials of the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, would now be allied with Bachar, as an attempt at survival.

The sim­plest is to go to the sources, the admin­is­tra­tion of the North­ern Syr­i­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Fed­er­a­tion, and lis­ten to the words of its co-pres­i­dent Hediye Yusuf, spo­ken yes­ter­day (note to Eng­lish read­ers: the Eng­lish trans­la­tion of her words is slight­ly awk­ward but the mean­ing comes through nonetheless):

 In the frame of this resis­tance and on a polit­i­cal ground, there is no dia­logue with the Syr­i­an regime. There­fore, for the future of North­ern Syr­ia and as we said already before, we are ready for dia­logues. But to the present time there is no such dis­cus­sion. There is noth­ing like the things that are being said such as hand­ing over Afrin to the regime. These things are not true and have nev­er been for dis­cus­sion. What is exist­ing right now is a dia­logue for com­ing to a mil­i­tary agree­ment, so that the plan of occu­pa­tion through the Turk­ish state will be thwart­ed. It is in that frame.“

Is there need to add any­thing to some­thing so clear and limpid?

After all those tem­pests in a teapot, orches­trat­ed by the pro-regime agen­cies in Syr­ia as well as in Turkey, and relayed by a num­ber of press agen­cies in search of a scoop, a reminder of real­i­ties on the ground may prove use­ful.   Which is what this same co-pres­i­dent does in her inter­ven­tion, as a mat­ter of fact:

Against this the Syr­i­an state remained silent. Against the occu­pa­tion attacks against this ter­ri­to­ry [in the region of Afrin] it remained silent. As we have already stat­ed before, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Fed­er­a­tion of North­ern Syr­ia is a part of a unit­ed Syr­ia. So we had made clear that the Fed­er­a­tion is a geo­graph­i­cal fed­er­a­tion and North­ern Syr­ia is a part of Syria.

There­fore our posi­tion has always been, if there is a pos­si­bil­i­ty for a dia­logue that helps to open the way for a demo­c­ra­t­ic solu­tion in Syr­ia we would use this and sup­port this. On the base of a fed­er­al sys­tem like we have announced in North­ern Syr­ia, we think that North­ern Syr­ia will play an impor­tant role in the demo­c­ra­t­ic solu­tion process for Syr­ia: We are open for dia­logues with the [Syr­i­an] regime. The basis of any dia­logue is to reach the aim of a demo­c­ra­t­ic solu­tion. There­fore, we had made these dec­la­ra­tions already before. Now there is the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion: The resis­tance of Afrin is a his­tor­i­cal resis­tance. It is the resis­tance of the cen­tu­ry. It has cre­at­ed pub­lic atten­tion and thwarts the plans that had been made before. At the same time all peo­ple of Syr­ia know the exist­ing real­i­ty of occu­pa­tion. There­fore, now there is a dia­logue between the mil­i­tary forces on the base that the Syr­i­an Regime as a state gets involved inside the frame that it should play its role in pre­vent­ing its ground from occupation.”

This has been a con­stant in the fed­er­al enti­ty’s posi­tion, which aims at per­mit­ting nego­ti­a­tions to devel­op some day, not between great pow­ers seek­ing their share, but at a region­al lev­el. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Fed­er­a­tion part has nev­er hid­den either that the ques­tion of Bachar’s main­te­nance in pow­er would be in con­tra­dic­tion with such “nego­ti­a­tions”, should ever they occur. For the pop­u­la­tions, being real­is­tic does not mean remain­ing silent over the crimes per­pe­trat­ed by Bachar’s regime, quite the contrary.

And yet, the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) pub­lished a press release (on Tues­day Feb­ru­ary 20) announc­ing that the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment had sent “mil­i­tary units” to Afrin in order to repulse the Turk­ish offen­sive. They added “They are expect­ed to take up their posi­tions on the bor­der and to par­tic­i­pate in defend­ing the Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­r­i­al uni­ty and its borders.” 

These infor­ma­tions may appear com­plete­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry. Polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary con­tra­dic­tions are not lack­ing on the Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­ry. And all the ongo­ing pro­pa­gan­da only sheds more light on them.

No doubt call­ing on the regime’s inter­ven­tion, even while estab­lish­ing the rules for such, can be a dan­ger­ous strat­e­gy in such a total­ly hos­tile envi­ron­ment. But who are we to pass judg­ment on this complexity?

The Turk­ish regime no longer hides its inten­tion of sup­port­ing the implan­ta­tion of a per­ma­nent zone of influ­ence in North­ern Syr­ia via the re-estab­lish­ment of Islam­ic groups it has armed and con­tin­ues to arm and has been striv­ing to uni­fy against the Syr­i­an regime for the past five years. In this, Erdo­gan’s con­stan­cy has been the same since 2013. The plan remains the same, from the con­cept of a buffer zone to that of today’s instru­men­tal­iza­tion of Syr­i­an refugees he pro­pos­es to re-set­tle in the area: to pre­vent the uni­fi­ca­tion of North­ern Syr­ia, to favor and push into the Syr­i­an process allies under his boot. This is the only way the Turk­ish regime can avoid alliances of the great pow­ers in its back which, in his view, would re-intro­duce the Kur­dish com­po­nent rather than his accom­plices ” free Syrians”.

At the inter­na­tion­al media lev­el, play­ing on the nec­es­sary ques­tion of the “refugees’ return” and their set­tle­ment in what would be, accord­ing to Erdo­gan “a secure zone freed from its ter­ror­ist YPG” is part of the argu­ments put forth in the pro­pa­gan­da war intend­ed for the Euro­pean coun­tries and the refugees them­selves, whose sit­u­a­tion in Syr­ia and in Turkey is dete­ri­o­rat­ing con­sid­er­ably after so many years of war.

The North­ern Syr­ia Fed­er­a­tion is a polit­i­cal enti­ty the strength of which rests on pro­pos­als it has not ceased apply­ing in the ter­ri­to­ries it present­ly occu­pies, even more so since the qua­si-total mil­i­tary vic­to­ry against ISIS, still left unfin­ished since the Turk­ish inter­ven­tion. Those pro­pos­als are those of the ini­tial Roja­va, for a mutu­al space of liv­ing togeth­er in a region­al mosa­ic, pre­cise­ly that which the dom­i­nat­ing pow­ers do not want.

It is obvi­ous that this polit­i­cal project is liv­ing through its great­est threat since Kobanê. The resis­tance of the can­ton of Afrin is thus of his­tor­i­cal import and a decid­ing fac­tor for the future. 

A great num­ber of civil­ian pop­u­la­tions are threat­ened. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Fed­er­a­tion’s respon­si­bil­i­ties must thus be exer­cised both in resis­tance and armed self-defense, and in the search for means to play upon the con­tra­dic­tions of the dying Syr­i­an nation-state and its allies, in order to lim­it the massacres.

The major inter­na­tion­al news media would be well advised to insist on the nec­es­sary end to the bomb­ings and exac­tions of the Turk­ish army, as well as against the crimes of its Jihadist allies, rather than spec­u­lat­ing on the end of the demo­c­ra­t­ic expe­ri­ence, an end that would only open a new chap­ter in the war.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges

Afrin • Une dés­in­tox­i­ca­tion néces­saire Cliquez pour lire

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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…