The Turkish Army is mobilizing near the Afrin Region of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (known as Rojava). Dictator Erdogan has plans to invade and occupy this Kurdish enclave and to secure Turkish control over the Syrian border, in the north-west of the country. There are over 1.000.000 people living in the Afrin Region, 50% is made up of refugees. Arabs, Kurds and others who fled the terror of Islamic State in 2014. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria has offered these people protection and security. Now the Turkish imperialists want to destroy the enclave, all because of their hatred for the Democratic Union Party, sister of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Unlike the Syrian Arab Republic and Islamist rebel held territories, Rojava is a multi-ethnic state based on democratic confederalist principles, gender equality and ecological sustainability. The official name of the nation is Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, Rojava comes from the Kurdish word ”Western” meaning Western Kurdistan. Rojava is the product of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). This Kurdish political party is founded in 2003, in opposition to the dictatorial Syrian Arab Ba’ath Party. The Ba’ath Party is promoting Arab supremacy and enforced a brutal policy of ethnic nationalism. It is very similar to what Kurds in Turkey face. Turkish imperialism has also enforced ethnic nationalism to deny the Kurds basic human rights!
The PYD faced a totalitarian regime that crushed any dissident by brutal force. Dictator Bashar Assad seemed all powerful until 2012, when people started to demonstrate for basic human rights. The regime choose to open fire, which started the Syrian Civil War. Over time the Ba’ath government was forced to withdrew from Kurdish lands. This allowed the People’s Protection Units (militia of the PYD) to take control and establish a society based on the ideas of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. While sectarianism and religious intolerance became the standards of the Syrian Civil War, Rojava developed into a beacon of hope for millions. The Syrian Kurds choose not to build a independent Kurdistan, instead they opted for a democratic federalist Syria. Two years after the PYD took control of Kurdish cities and towns in the north, Islamic State entered the stage. Both the Syrian Arab Army and the Islamist rebels were unable to stop the rise of this murderous group of fundamentalists coming from Iraq!
It turned out that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were very effective in fighting the terrorists of Islamic State (IS). Both male and female soldiers fought side by side against the forces of radical Islam. The islamists were armed with tanks and western weapons taken from so called moderate rebels. This allowed IS to speed up its conquest of northern Syria. In September 2014, the Siege of Kobanî began. Islamist forces besieged this Kurdish city on the Turkish-Syrian border for six months and two days. 1.800 YPG troops faced an army of 9.000 armed with 40 tanks. There was little hope that Kobani could withstand the siege. Turkey realized that if the city would fall, Islamic State would control a vital position in northern Syria. This is why Erdogan allowed 600 PKK fighters to cross the border to help their Syrian comrades. From the western parts of Syria also came 300 rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). It is ironic that four years later, these FSA rebels would be under Turkish control and used to occupy parts of northern Syria!
Despite all odds the alliance of Kurds and Arabs won the siege. Islamic State lost its first major battle. It would take however another three years before the terrorists were on the run. Then in 2015, Erdogan of Turkey turned on the Kurds. Despite some progress in his early days, the Turkish leader choose to use brutal force against the PKK and PYD in Syria. Ankara claims that the Kurds are ”terrorist” and that Turkey has the right to destroy ”terrorism”. The real reason for Erdogan to resume the war with the PKK was Rojava. Because both the PKK and PYD are part of the same group, the Kurdistan Communities Union. In northern Syria, the PYD has begon building a society based on the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, who is imprisoned by Turkey since 1999. Erdogan does not want a free zone for PKK fighters in northern Syria, this is why he resumed the war against the Kurdistan Workers Party. It is also why Ankara is now preparing to invade the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria!
Turkey will probably not send a huge force into Rojava. The main fighting will be done by pro-Turkish elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Since the FSA lost most of its supporters to Islamic rebels, they have organized themselves as henchmen of Ankara. FSA and Turkish troops are already active in Syria. They took control of a small pocket of land, this cuts off the Afrin Region from the others cantons of Rojava. FSA rebels controlling this part will be used by Erdogan as shock troopers for a invasion of the Afrin Region. They will be supported by special forces from the Turkish Armed Forces. Ankara knows that it cannot fully invade Syria, this is why operations will be limited to less then 10.000 soldiers!
The Afrin Region is population by 1.000.000 people. Originally it only had 200.000, but due to the huge numbers of refugees there are now over 1 million people living in the Afrin Region. The capital city is called Afrin and not very big. It used to have only 35.000 inhabitants before the Syrian Civil War began. Ankara may think that a invasion of Afrin will be quickly over. However they underestimate the people. The two cantons who make up the region are mobilizing forces of their own called the Self-Defense Forces (HXP). The only thing that can prevent a possible invasion is the position of the USA and Russia. If Washington DC and the Kremlin do nothing then there Ankara thinks it has a green light. Rojava must not trust in foreign imperialist powers. America and Russia do not care about the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Putin supports Bashar Assad, Trump supports many Islamist rebels and is a ally of Erdogan. This is why the YPG has only been armed with old Soviet light weapons captured from Syrian stocks!
Should the Turks invade it is up to socialists, progressives, liberals and democrats to support the Afrin Region. We must show our rejection of Turkish imperialism and NATO in general. At the same time we cannot trust Vladimir Putin, who is also playing the imperialist game by arming the Arab dictator of Syria. The Russians want Assad to remain in power, because he grants them the use of a naval base. Russian warships are using the Tartus Naval Base since 1971. Back then the Syrian Ba’ath regime allowed the Soviet-Union to build and operate the base. Putin knows that if the Ba’ath government would collapse, he might lose control over the Tartus Naval Base. Bashar Assad has been a friend of Russian imperialism in the UN and the Kremlin cannot afford to lose it. The USA on the other hand wants Assad gone. Because they see a opportunity to expand their imperialist influence in the middle east. Rojava has accepted American air support in the battle against Islamic State. But will the Americans come to their aid when NATO ally Turkey is invading them?
The world must be made aware of the war-hawking propaganda spread by dictator Erdogan. He has said the Turkish forces are ready to attack the ”YPG terrorists” as Ankara calls the Syrian Kurds. Ethnic unity is now vital. Kurds, Arabs, Syriac-Assyrians and Turkmen needs to unite against the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army. It is scandalous that Arab rebels are used by Erdogan as canon-fodder, for him the FSA is just a tool. A weapon used to invade and occupy the Afrin Region. For the YPG it will be difficult to help their cantons as between the Afrin Region and the rest of Rojava lies an army of FSA rebels. Should Erdogan choose to invade, YPG forces will need to attack FSA positions. Until now the Free Syrian Army was an ally of Rojava in the fight against Islamic State. Since that enemy is now defeated, the Arabic FSA is willing to be the pawns of Erdogan’s plan to weaken the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria!
Revolutionary socialists are critical supporters of Rojava. We also support a decentralized society build on gender equality and ecological sustainability. But this cannot happen under capitalism. The political system looks similar to the Swiss canton model which supports direct democracy, but is still based on the bourgeois model of statehood. Abdullah Öcalan has said that he rejected the idea of nation states and the idea of a centralized government. The economy is said to be placed under direct control of workers councils, which is a good thing. 1/3 is however still controlled by private capitalists who can outgrow the companies owned by the councils. This is why we call for the complete nationalization of all means of production under control of the working class. Despite that Rojava is not perfect, it is a society moving forward. They have made huge improvements in the lives of woman, who were regarded as second class by the upper class of Syria. This is why Revolutionary Socialist Media calls on the world to defend the cantons of Rojava against any imperialist invasion!