Critics slam US-Turkey ‘ethnic cleansing’ deal for northern Syria

Ed Sykes

US vice president Mike Pence has said Turkey has agreed to a ‘ceasefire’ in northern Syria (aka Rojava) after a high-level delegation of US officials met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, Turkey. Pence said there would be “a pause” in Turkey’s illegal invasion “for 120 hours” to allow Kurdish-led defence forces in the region to withdraw from their own territory. But while Donald Trump called this “great news”, local people and their supporters totally disagreed with that assessment.

“Surrender”

Local forces in Rojava suggested the deal looked more like “surrender” than a “ceasefire”:

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They also reiterated their rejection of Turkey’s plans:

Before Turkey’s invasion, the US had convinced Rojavan forces to lower their guard. It then reportedly colluded with its NATO ally’s assault, with CNN reporting that:

The US also gave Turkey access to airspace and intelligence on the area… . The US said it was working days before Turkey launched the offensive.

Turkey’s invasion has so far killed dozens of civilians, created around 200,000 refugees, and allowed hundreds of Daesh supporters to escape detention. The invaders are also allegedly committing war crimes.

With the above in mind, one critic questioned why Rojavan defence forces in the SDF would trust the US and Turkey now:

“Classic American imperialism”

People in Rojava have built a green democratic revolution in the middle of Syria’s brutal war. Its system is feministsocialist, and opposes all religious and ethnic discrimination. And both militarily and ideologically, it played a key role in defeating Daesh in Syria, gaining limited support from the West in the process. Over 11,000 of its fighters died in this war.

Some commentators stressed that the US-Turkish deal essentially amounted to the destruction of Rojava’s revolution:

The Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign, meanwhile, said:

And one journalist tweeted:

Others have stressed that this is simply “ethnic cleansing by international agreement”:

Critics have long highlighted evidence of Turkish collaboration with Daesh and other far-right extremists. And in 2018, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal ruled that Erdoğan and his regime had committed war crimes against Kurdish people at home and abroad.

Now, the US seemingly wants local forces in Rojava to let Turkish-led invaders take over their land. And it seems no one is willing to accept that.

Featured image and additional content via Press Association

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