The Syrian National Kurdish Council said the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) oppresses people in the northern city of Afrin, held by its Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) militia.
"The PYD does not defend the rights of Kurds by any means, and it does not possess our ideology. We [Kurds in Syria] are the people who yearn for freedom, peace and tranquility," Abdul Bari Usman, the press secretary of the council, told Anadolu Agency (AA) in an exclusive interview. "The PYD signifies oppression [in Syria]," he added.
He said Kurds in Syria face torture and oppression, not just at the hands of the Syrian regime, but also the YPG. "We are trapped in a way. Locals do not know who to believe in or where to go," he said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition supports Turkey's plans to move against the YPG, a top opposition official told Anadolu Agency yesterday. Abdurrahman Mustafa, the deputy chair of the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, said Afrin must be "rescued" from "terrorists" as soon as possible. "We are ready once again for cooperation with Turkey, as we were during Euphrates Shield," he said, referring to the previous Turkish-led operation against Daesh, which ended in March 2017.
Ankara is mulling a possible operation in Afrin to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along its border. Last week, Turkish security forces hit several YPG targets in Afrin. An Afrin operation would follow Turkey's seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which ended in March 2017. Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, and its armed YPG, while Washington calls it a reliable ally in its fight against Daesh in Syria. Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a campaign against the Turkish state for more than 30 years in which nearly 40,000 people have died. Usman has been living in Turkey's southeastern province of Gaziantep. He took refuge in Turkey with his four children after he fled Qamishli, a Syrian regime-controlled district of Hasakah province in northeastern Syria after YPG raids. Usman said Afrin belongs to the locals who yearn for freedom. "Afrin cannot belong to the PYD, and it should not. Afrin is the land of its local people."
The Bashar Assad regime handed over Afrin to the PYD without a fight, and the area currently has 8,000 to 10,000 terrorists, according to information gathered by AA.
Terrorists are now reportedly hiding in shelters and pits in residential areas in Afrin, which borders Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces, after Turkish officials labeled the region a "terrorist nest."
Usman contended that Syrian Kurds fear the PYD would hand over Afrin to the regime in case of a war.