The last 36 hours have seen major developments in the Middle East in defiance of British and US-led anti-Daesh (Isis/Isil) forces. First, Turkish militias are attacking anti-Daesh units near the Syrian city of Manbij. And at the same time, Turkish-backed forces have launched an attack on the long-suffering Yazidi community in Iraq.
Turkey goes against the Coalition
In February, the anti-Daesh Coalition strongly suggested that the multi-ethnic but Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were the best placed group to liberate the self-proclaimed Daesh capital of Raqqa.
The deputy commander of the Coalition forces, British Major General Rupert Jones, explained:
The bulk of the force that is advancing on Raqqa are Arabs. The Arabs and the Kurds actually work hand-in-glove, and my expectation is if the SDF are to assault into Raqqa, that is how they’ll operate.
The SDF, whose main forces are the Kurdish-led YPG (People’s Protection Units) and their female equivalent – the YPJ, have been leading the fight against Daesh, with the help of US special forces. So it was no surprise that US General Joseph Votel also allegedly declared recently that the Coalition would protect the SDF from Turkish hostility around the city of Manbij.
As previously reported at The Canary, the Turkish regime has expressed its commitment to taking Manbij by force from SDF control. And on 1 March, in direct defiance of the Coalition, Turkey launched attacks on SDF forces in and around the city.
In a separate development, Yazidi Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ) in Iraq have reportedly been under sustained attack from Turkish-backed forces since the morning of 3 March.
The Yazidis are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. In August 2014, Daesh attacked Sinjar, the homeland of the Yazidis. Many people were slaughtered, and hundreds of Yazidi women were taken as sex slaves. Iraqi Kurdish forces refused to intervene. Instead, the YPG and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) came to their rescue. The YBŞ is now affiliated to these groups.
Today’s attack on the Yazidis is attributed to a 500-strong group calling itself “RojPesh” (or ‘Rojava Peshmerga’). Despite this name, the RojPesh is closely allied to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq, and is suspected of being little more than a group of Turkish-backed mercenaries. According to one commentator, meanwhile, the assault is not by the RojPesh but by KRG forces. And indeed, only a week earlier, Turkey’s president met with the head of the KRG to discuss strategy.
In short, Turkey is leading an assault on anti-Daesh forces in both Syria and Iraq. And its attacks are only likely to increase in the coming weeks.
– Read The Canary‘s previous articles on Rojava.
– See more international reporting at The Canary Global.
– Donate to the Rojava Plan (to support the system of self-government in place in northern Syria).
– Support The Canary as we seek to amplify the voices of oppressed people around the world.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?