The pause in fighting between the Turkish army, its FSA rebels and the Jarablus Military Council is holding despite statements by Turkish officials denying there is a ceasefire.
The ceasefire between Turkey and the Jarablus Military Council (JMC) was mediated by the US and declared yesterday after American officials criticised the Turkish army’s targeting of Kurdish-led forces in the south of Jarablus, calling it “unacceptable”. “The United States welcomes the overnight calm between the Turkish military and other counter-ISIL forces in Syria,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
However Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said today that there had been no agreement on a ceasefire. “The PYD, as an extension of the PKK in Syria, is a terrorist organisation. The Republic of Turkey can have no relation or agreement with this organisation or any of its affiliates.”
Kalin also criticised US officials for speaking of “Turkey and the PYD or YPG as if they are equals.”
Two senior Turkish military sources also denied a truce had been agreed, with a commander in one of the Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups telling Reuters, “there is no truce and no ceasefire. But there has been a pause for some time.”
Meanwhile the Jarablus Military Council, which has moved to the south of the Sajur River to avoid clashes said the temporary ceasefire was “under the oversight of the international coalition led by the United States,” and that the the ceasefire did not mean that they accepted Turkey’s incursion into Syria.
The Turkish army and several FSA rebel groups launched the “Operation Euphrates Shield” on 24 August with the stated intention of ousting Islamic State (IS/ISIS) from the border and preventing the three cantons of Rojava from uniting. So far there have been few verified reports of fighting between Turkey backed FSA forces and IS, while the majority of attacks have targeted areas liberated from IS by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the JMC is an affiliate.
Since the operation began at least 45 Arab civilians in two villages in the south of Jarablus have died due to Turkish artillery fire. A further 5 civilians, 3 of them children, were killed in Dandania (Dendeni) village two days ago, again in a Turkish army artillery attack.
TEV-DEM Calls for Mobilisation Against ‘Turkish Occupation of Jarablus’
The Executive Council of The Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) in Rojava, has issued a written statement about Turkey’s military incursion into Rojava/Northern Syria and condemned “the massacres the Turkish state and Erdoğan carried out in the villages of Jarablus”.
In its statement, TEV-DEM said:
“The occupant Turkish state has had plans for Rojava and Syria since the beginning of the Syrian revolution; and Erdoğan has wanted to occupy the region like Ottoman Caliph Yavuz Sultan Selim wanted to do in 1516 with the war of Marj Dabiq. Erdoğan views himself as the 5th Caliph and has shown this by initiating the occupation of Jarablus on the same day Marj Dabiq started 500 years ago.”
TEV-DEM’s statement emphasised the dangers posed by the character of neo-Ottoman occupation on Middle Eastern societies, and added that Erdoğan’s enmity was not only towards Kurds but also Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmen and other communities in the Middle East. “Erdoğan and the occupant Turkish state view Middle Eastern and Arab countries as their own provinces. Erdoğan’s actions are against the march for freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” the statement said.
“The Turkish state and Erdoğan have always supported ISIS gangs and played a major role in the massacres in Paris, Brussels, Ankara, Amed (Diyarbakir) and Dilok (Gaziantep). They are not only targeting Jarablus but also the will and existence of Arab, Assyrian and other peoples in the region. Erdoğan and the AKP showed their dirty intent when they used ISIS gangs in their attack on Kobanê, but were upset when the world witnessed the joint struggle and victory of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen people who protected the honour of humanity through their sacrifice. The occupation of Jarablus is an attack on humanity, but we will not allow international powers to victimise the Kurds, instead we will defend our freedom and honour by mobilising and struggling.”
The Council called upon everyone to acknowledge and show solidarity with the resistance of the Kurdish people against ISIS and similar jihadist groups, and warned international powers to not implement their plans in relation to the Kurdish people but instead take a stand against the approach of the Turkish state.
TEV-DEM called upon Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen peoples to show solidarity with Kurdish people and resist the Turkish state’s occupation of Syria together. The Council also called upon Kurdish people inside and outside Rojava to enhance their struggle and mobilise against the massacres of the Turkish state and Erdoğan.