The true face of “liberators” of Raqqa

Syrian democratic forces are on the cutting edge began in this month’s offensive in Raqqa, the Syrian city where the jihadists have proclaimed in 2013, the formation of the “Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant” (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.). SDS receive diverse support from the U.S. cover of aviation (aircraft and combat helicopters), guns, consultants, deployed near hundreds of special forces soldiers. In the Pentagon with the move said that the battle for Raqqa will be “long and difficult”. Anyway, the main problem of this operation stems from the fact that the VTS — the complete outsiders in this city.

Not too “democratic” forces

Despite the well-chosen title, SDS are not so “democratic”. Their pillar was and still is the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan workers party, which leads the separatist guerrilla war in Turkey (the military leadership of the movement settled in the mountains in Northern Iraq). The military apparatus of the PKK (they are the iron hand manages Cemil Bayik) has integrated its command chain in the people’s protection Units, which form the basis of SDS.

OCE and their party “Democratic Union” was established in Syria in the summer of 2012, when Bashar al-Assad was allowed to return to the country of thousands of PKK fighters. As a result, there appeared beyond the control of the Syrian revolution areas, and the PKK and the DS approved the autonomy of the Syrian Kurdistan, agreeing in this hidden presence of different associated with Assad intelligence. In collaboration of the PKK with the regime were troubled times, however, the contribution of ONS during the government siege of rebel neighborhoods in the East of Aleppo has been crucial to win back the regime in the fall of 2016.

In April of this year I spoke with someone who represents the power of the PKK/DS in the district of Afrin (located to the North-West of Aleppo). He proudly handed me the French version of the “social contract” that underlies the control of Iraqi Kurdistan. Many Western progressives saw this document “third way” between dictatorship and Islamism in the middle East. They, probably, not carefully read the article 15, which has a monopoly on the defense is passed to the ONS and the monopoly on internal security — “Asayish” of the PKK. The concept of “Asayish” means “security forces” of the various Kurdish parties. Everywhere they are tools of repression against the Kurdish civil society in favor of the dominant military circles. Thus, the PKK gave themselves all the tools to suppress dissenting voices in Syrian Kurdistan.

Kurdish rather than Syrian forces

As territorial promotion directly outside the Kurdish areas of SDS sought to expand its influence among the Arab troops that the US encouraged this merger of unprecedented support. Anyway, the command structure is always in the hands of the PKK, whose pyramidal structure like many offices, especially given the utter mess in Syria. Washington was not afraid to incur the wrath of Ankara on this issue and even put up with the cooperation between Russian forces and SDS in the district of Afrin.

Public relations in SDS masterfully deals with the self-proclaimed “Colonel” Talal Sello (Sello Talal). Experienced reporters have found out that in his circle fighters used nicknames like “Rosa Luxemburg” and “Clara Zetkin”. Such a symbolic identification with German activists of the last century can cause some nostalgia, but at the same time indicates the complete incompatibility with the realities of Raqqa and its region, which bear the imprint of social conservatism. Although the PKK/DS loudly claim that they represent all Kurds, this claim was refuted in raqqa Kurdish activist Ibrahim Nissan (Nissan Ibrahim). ISIS announced her death in January 2016, and Hala Kodmani (Hala Kodmani) recently devoted a wonderful book.

With regard to the Kurdish fighters, which, according to Spiegel, account for 90% of them are involved in raqqa forces, they may not get to reap all the fruits of his future victory. Precedents of Et-tell El-Abyad and Manuja that OEF and SDS recaptured IG in July 2015 and August 2016, are Prime examples: the Kurds just a few weeks methodically confirmed its dominance in the “liberated” cities, forcing into the background or even expelled had provided them with assistance in the operation of Arab forces. Therefore the unfortunate residents of Raqqa gripped between the tyranny of ISIS and the bombing of the coalition in the future can be under the heel of a fundamentally alien to the city’s “liberators”. Such a scenario can only contribute to the restoration of the hotbeds of jihadism to the South of Raqqa along the Euphrates valley.

Perhaps there is still time to prevent the “liberation” of Raqqa turned into a nightmare for its population. And deceptive victory of the opposing ISIS coalition.


Jean-Pierre Filiu — teacher, historian, specialist in the history of the Middle East.