The article “Two thousand Turkish Special Forces in ISIS” published on 20 September 2014 at Kurdish Question [http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/two-thousand-turkish-special-forces-in-isis.html] reports Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Demir Celik stating in a press conference in the Turkish Parliament (and I have added extra information in brackets):
“It is being said that there are different reasons for the AKP’s silence (AKP is the Turkish ruling party) surrounding the 49 Turkish hostages taken by ISIS from the Turkish Consulate in Mosul in July (that were released today by agreement between the Turkish government and ISIS). At the top of the list of reasons is that the AKP has become involved in secret operations and relations and has engaged in the war in Syria (against the government there); this is backed up by the trucks that were upheld following the December operations (by the Gulen Movement against the AKP) and contained military equipment and arms, which were on there way to Syria. The group being presented to us as ISIS is not just formed of jihadist militants.”
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Demir Celik continued:
“We have information that the majority of ISIS’s fighting forces are formed of Turkish Special Forces who were cutting off the ears and noses of Kurdish fighters in the 1990s. These Special Forces have been staying in hotels and safe houses in Mosul for months and have travelled from Mosul to Makhmour, from Makhmour to Sinjar and are in Kobane now commanding and determining the strategy of ISIS. There are said to be around two thousand of them. (Refugees are fleeing from Kobane/Ain-al-Arab today, as ISIS/Turkish Special Forces drive out the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units YPG). We all know of the train-line between Turkey and Syria. Our sources have told us that these Turkish Special Forces are being provided tanks, artillery and missiles through this train-line. The real reason for Turkey not joining the coalition against ISIS is that the Turkish state wants to prevent and stop the revolution in Rojava (Northern Syria); even though they might seem willing to resolve the Kurdish issue democratically within Turkey, the Turkish state’s real intention is to resolve it militarily.”
So is Australia (together with our NATO allies) now unofficially at war with Turkey and ISIS? Or are Turkey and ISIS actually our allies against Syria? Are we in fact participating in an illegal war, in illegal alliance with a variety of terrorists organisations against Syria?
Stating that it was not clear who was friend or foe at a time when all political relationships rested on vested interests and that today’s friend could be tomorrow’s foe, Celik said,
“Turkey has taken a side in this dirty and complicated war. The USA has been a spectator to developments in Syria for the past four years and has only intervened at the moment ISIS spun out of control. However Turkey’s silence on the matter has yet to be accounted for. We want to know why Turkey is still silent on this matter. We have received information from reliable sources and this information clearly shows that the developments are contrary to what the AKP government has been telling us.”
Amed Dicle reported at http://kurdishquestion.com/…/analysis/the-kobane-war.html on 20 Sep 2014 (and again I have added extra information in brackets) that:
Murat Karayilan (acting leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, which is prescribed as a terrorist organization by the US, UK, Australia, Germany) has said that the war in (Turkey-Syria border town called Ain al-Arab which is known to the Kurds as) Kobane, and especially Turkey’s approach to it, will also determine the fate of the (Kurdish–Turkish peace)”process” ongoing on the island of Imrali (where Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the militant Kurdish organization PKK, is imprisoned). … ISIS, by occupying Kobane, is aiming to cut off the route between the other two (West Kurdistan/Northern Syria) cantons (Cizire and Efrin). It is aware that this would be a major blow to the Rojava Revolution and will cause many handicaps. Its aim is to then clear Azaz of the FSA in order to then be able to attack the canton of Efrin.
In mid-2012 the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan (PCWK) signed an agreement with the Kurdish National Council (KNC), forming a joint Kurdish Supreme Committee/Council (KSC) and agreeing to cooperate on security for Kurdish areas, forming the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The complex relations between these Kurdish groupings are elucidated on Wikipedia (here) explaining that, while the Syrian government had neutralised opposition from the Kurds in 2012 by allowing Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria, “since February 2013 some Kurdish factions have been signing military and political agreements with rebel factions and thus siding with the rebels against the Assad government. Furthermore, while some Islamist Kurds have risen to leadership roles in Islamist factions such as Al-Nusra Front, the main Kurdish opposition group PYD and YPG (the armed branch of KSC) … have been battling Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant since 2012.” The Wikipedia lists http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-21627499 as its reference for this information but how much more relevant is this confusion of allies and enemies in 2014 since so many from Al-Nusra have joined ISIS!
The Wikipedia article explains that “Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) expelled Al-Nusra Front and ISIS members from the strategic town of Ras al-Ain in Hasaka Province and have fought them in northern Raqqa province in July 2013.” Now we know from http://rojavareport.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/ypg-and-fsa-form-joint-operations-command/ and other Kurdish media sites that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) alliance with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has developed since November 2013 to what now, in September 2014, is called “Burkan El-Fırat” Joint Operations Command! So the FSA, which the US is arming and considers to be “moderate” rebels fighting the Syrian government, thus supposedly our allies in our antagonistic stance to Syria, are under joint command together with YPG which the US and its allies suspect to be a wing of the PKK, and which is prescribed as a terrorist organization by the US, UK, Australia, and Germany! Apart from the FSA the “Burkan El-Fırat” Joint Operations Command includes the El Tevhid Brigades East Wing, the El Siwar El Raka Brigade, the Şems El Şemal Battalion of the Fecir El Huriye Brigades, the Peoples’ Defense Units (YPG), the Women’s Defense Units (YPJ), Seraya Cerablus, the Brigade of the El-Ekrad Front, Siwar Umunaa El Raka, the El Kasas Army, and The Jihad Brigade In Sebilillah.
So is Australia (together with our NATO allies) now unofficially at war with Syria, together with a rather large number of organisations, some of which we have prescribed as terrorist organisations?
Amed Dicle quotes this assessment by the acting leader of the PKK of the strategies of ISIS and the American-led coalition against ISIS:
(… ISIS) wants to build a direct link between Jarablus in the West of the region all the way to Tel Abyad in the East. Both these regions are currently controlled by ISIS. This will no doubt be a major coup for ISIS as it will then be Turkey’s neighbour from Tel Abyad all the way to Hatay. It is very clear that this is not causing any discomfort for the Turkish state…Another reason behind ISIS’s attack on Kobane is connected with the developments in Iraq. As everyone knows, an American led ‘coalition against ISIS’ including ten countries was formed. This coalition is against ISIS in Iraq. This coalition is not prioritising operational engagement against ISIS in Syria. The plan is to retake Mosul in Iraq in order to supply the newly formed Iraqi government with much needed prestige and an injection of authority. If Mosul is taken from ISIS, then it will not be able to sustain itself in the rest of Iraq. The aim: to totally redirect ISIS into Syria. ISIS, and the powers supporting it, in anticipation of this, is wanting to expand its territories in Syria. They can only do this in two places. One way is the Cezire region through al-Hasakah; the other way is all three cantons through Kobane. The YPG’s anticipation of this led them to attack ISIS in the Cezire region where ISIS was repelled. Operations are still continuing in Serekaniye and Tel Abyad. ISIS, consequently, once it starts pulling out of Iraq will have to gather in the regions of Deyr el-Zor and Raqqa. The north of this region is Kobane, and by taking Kobane it wants to afford itself more breathing space.
Murat Karayilan said that ISIS wanted to implement this plan in July. However, the heavy artillery brought in from Iraq could not defeat the resistance of Kobane. ISIS later attacked all Syrian regime posts around Raqqa and overran all of them, most significantly the airport where they also captured more heavy artillery. Now, ISIS has turned the American weapons they captured from Iraq and the Russian weapons they captured from the Syrian regime on the Kurds in Kobane. Due to this unprecedented onslaught, the YPG has evacuated 100 villages by declaring them ‘military areas’. The evacuation of the civilians means increased manoeuvrability for the YPG. We now know that a large fighting force has been assigned to Kobane as of yesterday night.
“Kobane will not fall”, Karayilan said. “ISIS may advance a little in Kobane, but in the long term Kobane will be the platform for the complete extermination of ISIS. From now on, ISIS’s defeat in Kobane will mean its defeat in Raqqa, its defeat in Raqqa will mean its defeat in Syria, and its defeat in Syria will bring about its complete demise.”
Murat Karayilan said that “it is for this reason that PYD Co-chair Asya Abdullah sent this message to the American led coalition against ISIS: “If you want to defeat ISIS, then you are welcome to Kobane to express your desire to fight against ISIS”.
This invitation by the dominant Syrian Kurdish party PYD to the American-led coalition is unlikely to be welcomed by them because of the complexities of the politics involved, especially due to the PYD’s close affiliation to the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, which exacerbates Turkish concerns over Syrian border control. But the operational decision made by the Assad regime in mid-July 2012 to withdraw the majority of its forces from Syria’s Kurdish areas effectively ceded control of those territories to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the PYD dominates its Syrian Kurdish political rivals, such as the Kurdish National Council (KNC), by virtue of its control over most Syrian Kurdish militias, and significant popular support. It has effective organization and is also a close affiliate of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), based in Iraq. So the PYD is securely invested in the political future of Syrian Kurds and the activities and decisions of the PYD with respect to the Syrian civil war will affect the region broadly. – See more at http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/syrian-kurds-and-democratic-union-party-pyd#sthash.XxveAmzv.dpuf
Murat Karayilan explaned thus why the American-led coalition will ignore the PYD invitation to join them in fighting ISIS in Syria:
“This is because the people-based administrative model being established in Rojava (West or Syrian Kurdistan) is causing discomfort to the masters of the World. This administration of the people is open to diplomatic relations with the World, however, it is closed to representing the interests of the bosses, the hegemonic powers of the World. This is a very discomforting reality for the USA. Therefore, they are content with Rojava taking a bit of a pummelling — even if it is at the hands of ISIS — before they consider intervening. The bosses expect that after a while they will come knocking, and they in turn will present themselves as the ‘saviours’. This is why the hegemonic powers will only express their ‘concern’ over the attacks of ISIS in Kobane.”
On page 12 of the Understanding War PDF that can be downloaded from http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/syrian-kurds-and-democratic-union-party-pyd#sthash.XxveAmzv.dpuf the “Backgrounder” by John Caves assesses that “Turkey is unlikely to tolerate PYD dominance in the Syrian Kurdish areas so long as the PYD leadership remains aligned with the PKK. Should the Arab rebels prove unable or unwilling to take action against the PYD within a timeframe acceptable to Ankara, Turkey could invoke the Adana Agreement as a basis for establishing an understanding with representatives of Syria’s Sunni Arab majority that would allow Turkey to conduct cross-border strikes into Syrian Kurdish territory… ” That was written in December 2012 but it is a warning of greater import in September 2014 when YPG is now an ally of the FSA, Turkey considers YPG to be a military wing aligned with both PYD and PKK, and the Arab rebels have not taken action against the PYD, PKK and YPG. But should we expect that Turkey will consider cross-border Turkish strikes into Syrian Kurdish territory when such incursions would not be tolerated by Syria, nor by Iran, and might well be considered by Russia and China to be attacks on Syrian sovereignty? We would more likely expect Turkey to continue to support ISIS logistically, financially and militarily in order to degrade all of the Kurdish groups as well as Syria. The US-led coalition will likely follow Turkey’s lead. Provided ISIS leave Iraq’s oil fields alone they would be considered an ally in the attack on Syria. But this strategy risks engaging a wider war with Iran and Russia. Would that be the US-led coalition’s aim?