Terror Activities of the YPG/PYD in Northern Syria
by Harun Yahya
YPG/PYD and PJAK are not separate organizations, but simply different names of the PKK terrorist organization when they operate in various countries such as Syria, Iraq and Iran. The acts of terror and violence and the human rights violations carried out in the region by the PKK’s Northern Syria extension the PYD, and its militia, the YPG, are the most concrete evidence of this fact.
The YPG, which occupied a large number of villages, towns and cities in the northern part of the country and put them under armed oppression by taking advantage of the Syrian civil war, continues to carry out a comprehensive ethnic cleansing strategy against the local people. The region’s long-standing residents such as Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Armenians and Assyrians are being exiled from their homes through threats, oppression, terror and violence. Those who resist this oppression, including Kurds, are suppressed and condemned by methods such as prison, torture, death threats, shooting and burning of their homes. The aim is to make the demographic structure of the region suitable for the “Communist Kurdistan” state, which they aim to establish, by placing its own militants and supporters in the region instead of the native population they have been driven from their homeland. However, it should be noted that the people who are subjected to the most severe persecution of the YPG are the Kurds, their own kin. Kurds who do not accept the communist ideology of the YPG and want to live in harmony with other people constitute the vast majority of the Kurdish population, and therefore have been the primary target of the YPG. As a matter of fact, the first refugees who took shelter in Iraq and Turkey when the Syrian civil war broke out were Kurds who escaped from the YPG’s repression.
The YPG militia often resorts to rather savage and inhumane solutions; burning down the villages and towns they have captured completely to evacuate them. The human rights organization, Amnesty International, reports that the activities carried out by the PYD/YPG, such as forcibly driving people out from where they live and eradicating whole settlement areas off the map in the autonomous region controlled by them in the northern part of Syria, amounts to war crimes.
Supported by documents and witnesses, Amnesty reveals in its report that the YPG is deliberately destroying civilian homes in non-war zones, and in some cases, burning and destroying whole cities. The report emphasizes that this destruction is not the result of the fight against the ISIS but it is the direct result of systematic operations aimed at forcibly causing the civilian population of the region to emigrate.
Satellite photographs of the town of Husseiniyah in Tell Hamis obtained by Amnesty International reveal one of the obvious examples of YPG violence. The photographs show that only 14 houses remained in the town in June 2015 out of 225, which was the initial number counted in June 2014.
Some of the horrifying statements of the local witnesses interviewed by Amnesty observers, who examined 14 cities in the Al-Hasakah and Raqqa regions, are as follows:
“They pulled us out of our homes and began burning the home… They brought the bulldozers… They demolished home after home until the entire village was destroyed… They started pouring fuel in my in-laws’ house. My mother-in-law was there refusing to leave and they just poured it around her…”
The YPG also threatens the civilians refusing to leave their villages with aerial bombing by sending the coordinates of their hometowns as an ISIS target to the coalition forces led by US. Amnesty International, the Syrian Human Rights Organization and many eyewitnesses say that the YPG has repeatedly driven Arabs, the opposition Kurds, Assyrians, etc. out from their homelands by means of this vile method.
“ They told us we had to leave or they would tell the US coalition that we were terrorists and their planes would hit us and our families.”
Last February The Nation, one of the oldest political journals in the US, also published a very detailed study about the recent terrorist acts and human rights violations carried out by the PYD/YPG in the region.
According to the information reported in the study, Kurds are one of the most persecuted people by the YPG/PYD, which supposedly establishes itself as a Kurdish freedom movement and a representative and advocate of the Kurdish people. The YPG militia imprisons, tortures and drives out their Kurdish political opponents from the region in order to suppress them. They oppress the independent media, threatening journalists with death. Syrian Kurdish youth and children under the age of 18 are forcibly recruited into military service.
According to a report titled “Kurdish Forces Violating Child Soldier Ban” of Human Rights Watch (HRW) dated July 15, 2015, the armed forces of the PYD, YPG and the YPJ (women’s units) continues to recruit and arm boys and girls younger than 18 years old. The vast majority of YPG funerals belong to these 16 to 17 year old children who died in combat.
According to The Nation‘s research, at least 300,000 Syrian Kurds have taken refuge in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan and 200,000 in Turkey to escape repression and fighting on the YPG side.
Some of the striking information provided by The Nation on ethnic cleansing in the areas under YPG control are as follows:
– The YPG claims that it is necessary to burn Arab villages while trying to save them from ISIS. But according to the findings of The Nation, the YPG still burns and completely destroys the villages even if they capture it without any conflict with ISIS.
– According to research conducted by the Syrian Network For Human Rights, 26 villages were completely destroyed, 40 villages were partially destroyed and 48 villages were completely evacuated. A high-level official in the former Obama administration calls the YPG control zone a mini-totalitarian state.
– A PKK militant and defector, nicknamed ‘Mohar’, specifically remembers the village of Tell Brak in northern Syria, and says: “Karayilan decided to destroy the place, not to allow even a chicken to come out alive.”
– According to Sa’ad Shwish, head of the local governing council in Raqqa, the YPG seized Tell Abyad on the Turkish border in the middle of 2015, but 60,000 Arabs were not allowed to come back.
– The YPG told the residents of Bir Mahli village in the northeastern part of Aleppo that they should either leave their homes or their coordinates would be given to the US-led coalition. On April 30, 2015, the YPG really called in an air strike, and according to Airwars, a UK-based group observing the bombings of civilians, 64 villagers were martyred after the bombing, all of them civilians.
– Another example is Arbid, a Bedouin village. After the capture of Tell Abyad in June 2015 by YPG, the 500 residents of the village refused to abandon their village. The YPG gave the coordinates of the village to the American Air Force. When Apache helicopters flew over the village at low altitude, the residents of the village escaped to other villages and never came back.
– The evacuation of the villages usually takes place as follows: At midnight, masked and armed men come to the village, force the village residents out of their homes, followed by organized looters stealing and confiscating everything.
To sum up, the YPG/PYD, which relies on the US and coalition forces, carries out acts of limitless oppression, cruelty and torture against the local people while laying the foundations of a supposed satellite communist terrorist state which will be the forward base of the US in the Middle East.
The YPG/PYD Terror Is Spreading Destruction to the Local Christian Population
In the regions occupied by the YPG/PYD, not only Arab and Muslim populations, but also local Christian people are cruelly oppressed. Owing to increased subjugation, the Assyrian and Armenian institutions in Syria felt compelled to issue a joint statement. In the statement, the PYD and YPG were accused of violating human rights, seizing private property, forcing people into military service, imposing unjust taxes, and interfering with the curriculum of parish schools.
Intimidating Christians by shooting up their houses and when those innocent people run out to save their lives, looting their homes is a typical YPG terror tactic. In a similar YPG attack in last September, Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo’s house was riddled with bullets in Al-Hasakah, Syria. The Archbishop, who barely escaped death, said, “In many cases they expelled the Christians from their homes under the threat of Kalashnikovs. And where they enter, they loot everything.”
The BREIBART news site, where President Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon is the chief executive, also notes that news about YPG terror attacks, including reports that the YPG militia, who terrorizes Northern Syria, attacked Assyrian Christians and many lost their lives, are conveyed from a multitude of sources. BREIBART reports interesting information about the YPG/PKK terror and their relationship:
“The YPG is so tightly aligned with the terrorist group, the Kurdish Workers’ Party or the PKK, that some say they are one in the same. The YPG and PKK are hard-core Marxist organizations with long histories of terror and brutality, and they already declared a de facto Marxist-Kurdish State in Syria, calling it Rojava. These groups routinely terrorize the populace of the region, especially the Christians, extorting money from business and kidnapping young men for forced service in their ranks… When the war in Syria is resolved (and it will be), and when there are national elections held, the YPG/PKK Kurds in the North show no willingness to give up the power they seized, which will certainly ignite a second war with the Arab South and/or the Assyrians in the North.”
The USA’s Policy To Ignore YPG/PYD Terror Is Faulty and Dangerous
The current information, countless documents, evidence, observations, reports, testimonies and witnesses publicly reveal that the YPG/PYD is, in fact, part of the PKK terrorist organization. Thousands of inhumane acts, murder, oppression, violence and practices of cruelty, forced migration and the ethnic cleansing policies that we have mentioned a very small fraction of, clearly show that the YPG/PYD is a bloody terrorist organization in every aspect.
In the autumn of 2015, Amnesty International and SNHR also published comprehensive reports on the YPG’s human rights violations. Nevertheless, at the beginning of last year, the US Department of State devoted only a single line in the annual human rights report to this grave concern.
What is even stranger is that the US officially lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, yet does not see any harm in acting in concert with the YPG/PYD, an extension of the same organization. This is one of the most erroneous Middle East policies of the USA introduced and developed during the Obama administration. The new president, Donald Trump, needs to realize this mistake and keep the necessary distance from the YPG, which aims to destroy the territorial integrity of Syria by founding what amounts to a communist terrorist state in the region. Turning a blind eye to the crimes against humanity systematically committed by the YPG in the region, and even becoming an accomplice to these crimes by providing all sorts of financial, military and logistical support to this terrorist organization, would not befit the Christian America that Trump wishes to rebuild. Because according to the international human rights law, unjust, widespread and systematical displacement of the civilian population is considered a crime against humanity. Those who aid and abet in such a crime are also held accountable to the same degree.
In fact, according to The Nation report, as the US substantially increased its support to and cooperation with the YPG/PYD in 2015, so did equally intensified and gathered momentum the ethnic cleansing activities of the YPG in the region.
The same report explains the reason behind this misleading double standard adopted by the Obama administration despite the undeniable fact that the YPG is a terrorist organization as follows:
“The YPG is the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought a long, off-and-on guerrilla insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984… The Obama administration insisted that the PKK, listed by the United States as a terrorist group, is separate from the YPG, A STANCE THAT ALLOWED WASHINGTON TO CIRCUMVENT LAWS PROHIBITING DEALING WITH SUCH GROUPS.”
In short, as if to mock people’s intelligence, the Obama administration made a hasty attempt to acquit the YPG/PYD, which serves the underhanded US interests and policies in Syria and the Middle East, with an unfounded claim. The report continues with the following emphasis on how this inconsistent claim totally conflicts with the facts:
“Numerous witnesses, including former PKK defectors, call the US stance a fiction… All four PKK defectors [interviewed by The Nation] said policy for the Syrian region that Kurds call Rojava is made in Qandil, Iraq, the PKK headquarters.”
Robert Ford, the former US Ambassador to Damascus and one of the most influential figures in the USA’s Syrian policy, makes the following diagnosis in his interview with the Al Jazeera:
“As to its relationship with the PKK, American officials will say ‘PYD is not officially linked to the PKK’. I think it’s just nonsense that they say PYD is not PKK. This is a verbal defense which they are not serious with. It is one of those things that you say that is not true and everyone knows it. I have a colleague in Washington. He has been to Kobani and Qamishli between May and June. He said that they had the photographs of Abdullah Öcalan on the walls and offices… American officials saying the PKK is not affiliated with the PYD is nonsense. “
This unscrupulous, double standard approach that holds no rational or legal basis adopted is regrettably still being kept in force by the US government and some circles in Pentagon. Both the Pentagon and the State Department refused to discuss these or any questions about US policy in Rojava, and the Obama administration’s special envoy, Brett McGurk, turned down several requests for an interview.
Another one of the absurd myths again fabricated by the Obama administration is the fiction that the YPG/PYD is the most effective ground force against ISIS. This is another bit of nonsense because, without the crucial role of air support by the USA and the coalition forces, the YPG has had no victory over the ISIS. If US and coalition support is removed, it will only be a matter of time before the YPG is wiped out from the region. Moreover, they all hail from the PKK tradition that has been only capable of holing up in mountain caves and setting up ambushes, that carries out assassinations via long-barreled weapons or by shooting sleeping people in the head. Thus, it is beyond their capability to engage in close quarters, open field combat necessary owing to Syria’s geography.
Be it the PKK, the YPG or PJAK, all are unprincipled entities that change sides for their own interests. It is also quite obvious that this so-called military power, which forms special battalions comprising of homosexuals both from within their militias and those who join their ranks from the United Kingdom, the USA and various European countries, will not be in any way successful in ground battle. Therefore, the sole purpose behind this ridiculous thesis of the Obama administration was to make the YPG/PYD look legitimate and vital, thus presenting them as the so-called rightful and natural members of the satellite state planned to be established in the region.
Today, the “British Deep State” is trying to impose the same overwhelming dominance it previously asserted over the Obama administration upon the current government through governmental institutions such as the CIA and the Pentagon. For this reason, the Trump administration must break free of the legacy of the Obama period without giving in to the oppression and coercions from the British Deep State. They must abandon the delusion that they can acquire an ally by renaming the PKK with different letters of the alphabet. Putting an end to the vile schemes of the British Deep State will be to the mutual benefit of the US and the Middle East, not to mention the entire world.