Trump and Erdogan’s War on Northern Syria is an Atrocity

Below are Some Very Important Facts Regarding the War on Northern Syria

No, Trump is not “pulling out” of Syria. He is simply moving troops away from Kurdish areas. This way the Turkish State can kill Kurds at will and expand its brutal occupation of Kurdish and other Syrian lands

Although mainstream framing this time is a bit better(than last year), seeing Trump’s move for what it obviously is, a coordinated pro War move instead of “anti war” one, this fact is still lost on some. Just to be very clear, Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman confirmed that the US is not withdrawing from Syria. “..we have moved the U.S. forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety. We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time.

This tactical move is simply in support of a new war led by the Turkish state and its allied Jihadists, including thousands of former and current ISIS and Al Qaeda members. A detailed breakdown, particularly relating to Al Qaeda and their connection to human rights abuses, can be seen here. This is a NATO and Trump sponsored state terrorist war, including using literal non state terrorists as allies. The point of the war is to ethnically cleanse Kurds from their homeland, terrorize the civilization population, establish a military occupation, and resettle hundreds of thousands of mostly Arab refugees who fled to Turkey at the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War who are now being forcibly removed against their will.

This is a huge gift to ISIS. The YPG/SDF were the only effective force on the ground when it came to defeating ISIS in Syria and democratically stabilizing former ISIS territory. Attacking them unprovoked in this manner is supporting ISIS and a war crime.

As I type these words, the largest coordinated ISIS attack against Raqqa city is occurring since we defeated them back in the summer of 2017. This is not a hit and run attack, but a prolonged assault involving dozens of fighters with the intent on holding territory. With the underground ISIS movement already emboldened by the threats of war on Rojava/Autonomous Northern Syria, thousands of more terrorists in the custody of the SDF/YPG in Rojava will finally have a chance to break free. What will happen to them in the chaos of war with an influx of similar minded jihadist forces is yet to be seen but fairly obvious.

This is the largest military assault against a democratic socialist society since the coup in Chile in 1973

While far from perfect, and organized at times in a very difficult environment, the Kurdish led autonomous area (commonly known as Rojava) is in fact a radical revolution founded on the principles of direct democracy, multi ethnic solidarity, anti capitalism, feminism, and ecology. It’s fusion of libertarian anarchism (inspired in part by American Anarchist Murray Bookchin) and Kurdish revolutionary practice has created a society like none other on the planet. It is a society where the power structures are democratized with the expressed and actual goal of dismantling existing state repressive apparatuses, patriarchy, racism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic sectarianism. There is real buy in from key societal leaders unlike anywhere else in the world. This revolution was ongoing while facing existential threats to its existence. With the help of Trump these forces have finally been allowed to attempt to crush this revolution with brute violence, terrorism, and occupation.

The ignoring of Rojava by much of the established Western Left will remain a black stain on their history for some time.

Soon, in some of the most peaceful and democratic parts of Syria; War, torture, violent misogyny, and ethnic cleaning will reign among a back drop of utter chaos

There is no need to assume what may or may not follow this invasion and occupation. When Turkish forces and their allied Jihadist gangs invaded and occupied the peaceful Afrin region in the West of Rojava, torture, looting, kidnapping, murder, violent infighting within Jihadist gangs,ethnic cleansing, all became the norm. This chaos was/is in stark contrast to the stability and peace of Rojava. The Democratic Union Party, the largest political movement within Rojava’s decentralized governing body, was able to take control of Afrin early on in the revolution. It’s isolation from the rest of the conflict allowed it to serve not only as a haven for refugee, including ethnic minorities like Yezidis, but also allowed for its democratic experiment to flourish. It was a model of co existence among all Syrian peoples. An immeasurable amount of suffering is about to be extending to many parts of Rojava not currently under occupation.

The people of Northern Syria support a free land, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. It is their voices that matter most.

While some in deeply conservative areas south of Rojava, where ISIS held territory for a long time, some non Kurds have eyed this new experiment with curiosity and suspicion, outside of ISIS supporters, however, no one is looking for more war or occupation. To the contrary, the revolution was beginning to win over support even in the areas South of Rojava under SDF control, including the former ISIS capital of Raqqa. It should also be noted, that in this same region there were recent clashes with the Assad regime when Arab civilians attacked an Assad checkpoint and hoisted up an SDF flag.

It is also not a coincidence that where opposition to the Erdogan is strongest, particularity along the border cities and towns, is exactly where the Turkish state is most concerned about implementing its war, occupation, and ethnic cleansing project. It should also be noted that the SDF, the umbrella security forces spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG/YPJ, now primarily is made up of Arabs and have identified Turkey (prior to the attack) as the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region.

This is nothing more than brute violence towards a primarily civilian area. It has nothing to do with safety for the Turkish people. Of the 30 minor cross border attacks this year between Rojava and Turkey, 29 came from Turkey. The people of Rojava gave thousands of lives in the fight against ISIS. They were men and women. They were Arabs, Kurds, Syriac Christians, Yezidis, and even left wing Turks. All peoples of Northern Syria not only deserve peace, but they deserve to live in a free society that their family members and friends died to protect. The most important voices at this given moment to amplify are the actual people living in the lands where Erdogan is attacking. It is also the voices that matter the least to those in positions of power in Washington, Ankara, and Brussels.

This is a NATO war crime paid in part by US tax dollars and supported politically by the US. All of the Turkish state’s crimes against the Kurds are.

Despite erratic statements, the buck stops with Trump and NATO. All of this could have been avoided with a phone call. In fact, it actually took action on the part of Trump to make it happen (after a fucking phone call). It would have been easier to stave off the invasion and force a real peace dialogue. The Kurds and Erdogan were at peace for a time, only for the Turkish Kurds to see that peace broken viciously by the Turkish state. The reasons? ISIS was besieging the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani with tacit Erdogan support and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the main Kurdish and left wing political party in Turkey, had a strong showing in the polls in 2015. As a result, they had to be crushed.

Erdogan called the Kurds of Kobani and ISIS “the exact same thing”. He also blocked Kurds from crossing the border to help (it should be noted that most ISIS volunteers crossed the Turkish border into Syria without hindrance) and if it were not for the intervention of US air power, the Kurdish town of Kobani could have fallen. The Kurds could have faced a genocide similar to the Yezidis in Iraq. This obviously heightened tensions with Turkish Kurds. It should also be noted that the YPG stepped in to stop the ISIS genocide of the Yezidi people when no one else wood, fighting ISIS and opening a refugee corridor into Rojava.

More importantly, Erdogan’s breaking of the peace process with the Turkish Kurds served a sinister political purpose. The new left wing and pro Kurdish HDP party did well in elections, causing his right wing AKP party to lose a majority in government. The Kurds, who were just forced to watch their brothers face mass murder just across the border, could now be pulverized by brute force if there was no peace process. The peace process ended.

This is not something “removed” from the United States, nor are we simply “getting out of the way”. Despite US government support for crimes aboard, from the occupation and settlements in Palestine to its stained history in Latin America, the Kurdish question remains the most ignored by many who claim to fight for justice. It is also ironically the most oppressed and ignored Kurds who happen to be pushing an overt democratic left and pro justice agenda. They need and deserve our solidarity. While no one really believed that someone like Trump could ever actually care about the Kurds and the people of Northern Syria, I believe some decision makers actually did and some for the right reasons, even if those reasons were limited to a destabilized Northern Syria is bad. The ongoing defection of competent military and intelligence staff from the Trump regime has made these voices more insignificant, drowned out by incompetent and incoherent Trump sycophants or silence. This is mostly a result of Trump’s utter idiocy. It did not have to be this way. A simple deterrence, already in place, could have delayed an invasion for several years. Perhaps that delay could have even outlasted Erdogan.

Labor Organizer in PA, International Solidarity, History, Labor Politics, Single Payer Activist, Democratic Socialism.