A little less then two months ago I dared to question Kurdish tolerance. Despite citing examples of the People’s Protection Unit’s (YPG) aggression on Assyrian people, I was immediately attacked by Kurdish people and by the trendy Western left wingers for supposedly propagating, lying and being intolerant.
Some comments included:
“Turkish propaganda junk post.” (Despite my surname obviously being Greek)
“that sort of stupid propaganda articles is a “move to blocklist”.”
And the hate rolled on along with the accusations of me being Turkish, an Arab, and all those things that are clearly sectarian and divisive. This was of course by people who supposedly supported multiculturalism and tolerance, so whether I’m Turkish or Arab shouldn’t be a concern to begin with, should it?
Any crime perpetrated by the YPG or the other ‘tolerant, multicultural and secular’ Kurdish militias were quickly dismissed as false, or the victims made out to be at fault. It seems there is nothing the YPG can do that is wrong.
However, just hours ago, a YPG aggression against the Assyrian Sootoro militia in Qamishli killed 1 Assyrian fighter and seriously wounded 2 bystanders. This aggression was perpetrated less than two weeks since the New Years Eve bombing in the same city that killed 14 innocent Assyrian civilians. ISIS has mostly been blamed for that attack.
It has been revealed and widely accepted by Kurdish activists and their Western supporters that the YPG initiated the aggression, but the reason why has not been given. Rather we have been given disgusting justifications for the attack by their supporters.
The Sootoro are a pro-Syrian government Assyrian militia. However, their reach in fighting for the government only extends as far as defending their own communities and areas. The YPG make up the majority of the Syrian Democratic Forces axis, which also comprises of battalions from the Free Syrian Army, one of the main enemies of the Syrian Arab Army.
Despite clashes between Kurdish forces and the Syrian Arab Army having not occurred in years, the YPG have taken a clear aggression against not only the Assyrian community who have often highlighted Kurdish atrocities against them, but also against the government indirectly.
The mutual peace seemed to have benefited the YPG and government forces, as they could allocate fighters to other fronts. Examples of peaceful existence between the two forces can be seen in Hasakah city where they each control their respective zones without clashes.
However, the Syrian Arab Army are a much more experienced, armed and trained force compared to the Assyrian militias and the YPG wouldn’t dare engage against them directly. Is this why the YPG attacked the Sootooro instead? It would be an indirect attack against the government, and this is a plausible speculation considering the YPG are allied to the Free Syrian Army. It has to be reiterated that no official reason why the YPG attacked Sootoro has been given.
As I have argued before, the YPG are on an aggressive campaign to forge their own state. There is no price tag for them in achieving Statehood. This is seen with an open declaration of war in fighting a minority militia group who have decided to remain loyal to the legitimate government in Damascus.
This has already cost the life of Gabi Henry Dawoud who was killed by the YPG in this attack that occured in the Al-Wasta neighborhood of Qamishli. It has been reported that 8 YPG have been killed in revenge attacks.
Interestingly however is the hypocritical reactions to the aggression. It is nothing but overwhelming. Whenever the Kurd’s take action it is in the view that it is to protect their interests and independent from political scrutiny and influence. However, when Assyrians act in Syria, it is automatically viewed as not being politically independent and not for their interests, but rather serving the interests of Damascus.
Non-the-less, I am awaiting the backlash I will receive for once again exposing and questioning the tolerance that the YPG forces supposedly champion. They are often viewed as the only potent force in Syria in fighting against ISIS. But we can now see that the elimination of the indigenous Assyrian people from their homeland is a mutual goal for both ISIS and the YPG.
The Assyrian International News Agency reported that the “YPG militia has previously made several attempts to take control of Al-Wusta but have been stopped by Sootoro. As recently as two weeks ago, Kurdish YPG militia directed their weapons against the Sootoro fighters but fighting was averted at the last moment.”
Before the liberals highlight that Assyrians are fighting for the YPG, they are not representative for the majority of Assyrians, just as Kurd’s fighting for ISIS do not represent the general consensus of Kurdish people.
Just as in the 1910’s and 1920’s where Kurdish tribesmen helped Ottoman forces drive out the Armenian and Assyrian indigenous populations where they were the majority, a gross demographic change is slowly occurring in northeastern Syria and across the border in Iraq’s Nineveh province.
Qamishli is a testament to this demographic change when one considers the city was established in 1926 by Assyrian survivors of the genocide, yet less then 100 years later, it is now a Kurdish majority. Why is this the case? Settlement projects across Turkey, Iraq and Syria that predate Israeli settlements in the West Bank has seen Armenian and Assyrian historical and cultural areas turned into bastions of the now Kurdish majority.
But with the YPG having women pose in photos next to revolutionary flags, this will once again be swept under the carpet by Western media, Western left wing trendies and Kurdish activists. It will mostly be as if nothing happened at all. In fact, as already seen on social media, the attacks will be justified because the victims were aligned politically with the government and not the YPG. Apparently political openness and freedom is not as welcomed in ‘Rojava’ as the YPG had us believe. If they support an open and free democracy, why would that not include the Ba’athist Party? Or perhaps it is just a front that everyone is being fooled into believing.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al-Masdar News.
Paul Antonopoulos is currently a Candidate for an MA Degree, writing his dissertation on the Saudi-Iranian Geopolitical Rivalry in the Syrian War.
You can follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/oulosP