Turkish invasion of Syria

Turkish tanks have invaded North Syria and intervened in the battle for Jarabulus, a small town with 11.000 people. The town came under IS control in July 2013. Kurdish YPG forces tried to take it back, but Turkish artillery prevented the liberation. It is clear why Ankara does not want Jarabulus to be liberated by the People’s Protection Units of Rojava. Dictator Erdogan hates Rojava and considers it to be a ”terrorist” state, much like the Islamic State!

Although the Federation of Northern Syria -Rojava is the most progressive, secular and democratic entity in Syria, the Turkish government considers it ”terrorist”. Why? Because the YPG are the armed forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the leading force in Rojava. A party which is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Parry – PKK. Now Erdogan’s tanks are invading Jarabulus, not with the intention to liberate the town but to keep Kurdish forces away!

Over 200 regular Turkish troops and about 50 tanks crossed the border to help rebel soldiers of the Free Syrian Army. Because Ankara hates the YPG, it gives preferential treatment to none-Kurdish rebels such as Arabic and Turkmen militias. The invasion happened at the same time, U.S vice president Joe Biden visited Turkey. It is no coincidence that Erdogan choose to invade Syria now. The Americans are key players in helping YPG forces to gain more grounds. Since the Kurds have united their People’s Protection Units (YPG) with Arabic, Turkmen and Assyrian fighters, it is now able to push Islamic State forces back. Under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), this alliance is the most active battle group fighting the islamists!

Although the western world is slowly starting to support the SDF, Ankara openly rejects it. Erdogan and his nationalist regime have asked NATO to stop supporting the Kurds, who are ”terrorists” in their eyes. Since the fighting resumed between PKK freedom fighters and the Turkish regime, Ankara is trying to destroy anything that is related to Abdullah Öcalan. Erdogan makes no difference between a minority fighting for democratic rights and a reactionary fundamentalist group, which he himself has supported. Turkey has been doing secret business-deals with IS terrorists, specially regarding the selling of crude oil!

In North Iraq (Heremi Kurdistan), the Islamic State took control of some Iraqi oil fields and smuggled many barrels into Turkey. The regime of Erdogan hoped that the Kurds would lose the battle for Rojava, so Ankara tried to hinder the Kurds in almost any way. A victory of the YPG in battle means that the Syrian allies of the PKK, would control all of northern Syria which is a nightmare scenario for Erdogan!

May 2016, SDF forces started with their Manbij offensive. In two months, Kurdish led forces captured over 105 villages and on 12 August, the town of Manbij was liberated. This alarmed Ankara who saw the whole northern border of Syria, ending up in the hands of the Kurds. At this moment 2/3 of northern Syria belongs to the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava, the political state created by the Democratic Union Party. Islamist forces played the role of buffer zone between Turkey and Rojava. But with the victories of the SDF, Ankara is very worried about PKK fighters using Rojava as a future base!

Turkish Kurdistan or Bakure, is the part of Kurdistan under control of Ankara. Bakure has been oppressed by Turkish nationalism for many ages. Until 1991 it was forbidden to speak Kurdish as the government enforced brutal Turkish nationalism. A famous case is that of Leyla Zana. This Kurdish woman was elected to the Turkish parliament in 1994. But when Zana took her oath, she spoke her final lines in Kurdish. Nationalists in parliament were furious and demanded her arrest. The government agreed and lifted her immunity. Then she was called a member of the PKK and jailed for 10 years!

Leyla Zana is just one story of how the Turkish government oppresses the Kurdish minority. Zana hoped that Recep Tayyip Erdogan would bring peace as he was willing to talk to the Kurds, a rarity for a Turkish leader to do. But Erdogan showed his true colors in 2015 as he abandoned the peace process and resumed the fighting. Maybe he feared a democratic process could lead to an independent Bakure, as Rojava and Heremi (Iraqi) Kurdistan are already de-facto independent. The idea that the Turkish Kurds might wish to join the other Kurdish homelands, is unacceptable for any nationalist in Turkey as it would mean the loss of ”Turkish” land to the Kurds!

The Turkish government therefore wants to stop the SDF from winning more ground. This is why the 200 soldiers and 50 tanks were send into the battle for Jarabulus. Ankara hopes that the town will end up in the hands of forces not part of the SDF, such as the Free Syrian Army. Should the Kurds and their allies keep up with their offensive, it is not impossible that the Turkish troops will be ordered to shoot at them. Ankara does not want Rojava to control all of northern Syria. At the same time the Americans are in a tight position. They want to defeat the Islamic State and to do that, the Americans need the ground troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces. However NATO ally; Turkey does not want the SDF to advance any further!

Revolutionary socialists reject the imperialist plans of both America and Turkey. We call on the brave fighters of Rojava to keep on fighting. Even if Turkey shoots back, the Kurds must be ready to fight them too. Turkey is no ally, it is a imperialist-nationalist regime that is oppressing both Turkish and Kurdish workers. Erdogan is also using the failed coup to remove the last remnants of liberty in Turkey. The U.S vice president has agreed with the demands of Ankara. He called on the SDF to stop their offensive and abandoned the liberated area’s around Manbij. Revolutionary socialists reject this demand and call opon the Syrian Democratic Forces to press on with their offensive against IS. American imperialism is not in command of Rojava and must not be allowed to dictate its military operations!

Because of the limited support the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava got from western nations, some PYD leaders have turned to Russia for help. Kurdish representatives have already opened an office in Moscow. This is a very unproductive move as the Russians are allies of the Ba’ath regime in Damascus. The PYD should also know that Russia is a imperialist nation with its own agenda. That agenda does not include a free and democratic Syria. Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrians must not be fooled by both American and Russian imperialism. The SDF has proven that people’s unity can be effective in both defeating IS and building a none-sectarian democratic society!

Turkish intervention in the Syrian Civil War is disturbing as it opens the road for future interventions. Will Erdogan turn his tanks on SDF held territory? Will his army invade Rojava? To destroy the Democratic Union Party and all who support the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan? Revolutionary socialists demand the full removal of all Turkish forces from northern Syria as well as their attempts to stop SDF advances. Neither Turkish nationalists nor western imperialism will stop the progressive forces from defeating the reactionary Islamic State!


Turkish tanks on the border. Now they have moved into Syria!

Turkish tanks on the border. Now they have moved into Syria!