The PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), which the U.S. considers a partner in Syria, is oppressing the Assyrians in the region under its control, an Assyrian leader said.
Gabriel Kurt, the honorary president of the Development and Reconciliation Foundation of Yemişli village in the Midyat district of Turkey's southern Mardin province, where there is a considerable Assyrian population, was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying that the YPG oppresses the Assyrians and Syriacs the most. Kurt also made a point to emphasize the YPG's connection with the PKK terrorist organization.
Assyrians are a community that traces their heritage back to ancient Mesopotamia and they speak a Semitic language distinct from Arabic. The Assyrian community exists in Iraq and Syria with a smaller population in Turkey.
"Assyrians are oppressed mostly in al-Hasakah and Qamishli provinces by the YPG. These [YPG terrorists] are in a way playing by claiming that they are against Daesh and are trying trick the whole world," Kurt said. He further expressed that the YPG is pretending to fight Daesh in order to receive support from the U.S. and other Western states.
The YPG is the U.S.' closest ally in Syria, under the pretext of fighting Daesh and under the umbrella of the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), despite the group's history of human rights violations and its organic links with the PKK, a group recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, and Turkey.
Massoud Barzani, who was the head of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) at that time, had also claimed that he was against Daesh, but when Daesh came to Mosul, all the Assyrians and Yazidis in the region were displaced overnight, said Kurt.
"Some 4,000 Kurdish peshmerga forces fled and left the region to Daesh. All of these people are fooling the public opinion," he said, referring to the occupation of northern Iraq's Mosul. Mosul was captured by Daesh in June 2014, during their rapid advance into predominantly Sunni areas in northwestern and central Iraq. The province was liberated from the terrorists in July 2017.
Kurt also underlined that the YPG was confiscating the properties of the Assyrians in Syria.
"Against the outside world, the YPG claims that it is modern and democratic. However, in Syria, they bomb the restaurants of the Assyrians. They confiscate [Assyrian] properties. They torture and kill our children, kidnap our journalists," he said, recalling what happened to Souleyman Youssef, an Assyrian reporter who was kidnapped and tortured by the terrorists for writing about the human rights violations of the YPG.
Kurt stated that Youssef was released following pressure from the Assyrian lobby based in Europe. Emphasizing that the YPG is teaching militarist ideologies based on ethnic belonging in the schools under its control, Kurt said that the terrorists want to teach fake history in Assyrian schools and brainwash the children.
"We will never accept this. However, when we resist this, we are being kidnapped, beaten and killed," he said.
In August, the YPG shut down Assyrian schools in northeastern Syria for refusing to implement the curriculum forced on them by the terrorist group.
Following the closures, the Assyrian Democratic Society (ADS) accused the YPG of "intimidating" the region's Assyrian community.
"The YPG is harming education by promoting its ideologies through the school curriculum," the ADS had said in a statement, going on to demand that the terrorist group immediately allow schools to reopen. Various Christian groups also condemned the closures. The private Assyrian schools, administered by the Syriac Orthodox Church, have been operating in the region since the mid-1950s and have been implementing a curriculum specialized in the Assyrian language and religion, developed jointly with the Syrian Education Ministry. The YPG has used schools in areas under its control to indoctrinate students with its militarist, ethnocentric ideologies.
During the upcoming academic year, the YPG reportedly hopes to expand the use of its curriculum to high schools. This has prompted many parents in the region, who do not want their children to be brainwashed by terrorist propaganda, to send their children to private schools instead.
The YPG, however, has also reportedly threatened a number of private schools with closures.