Korucular barricade themselves to fight in southern Turkey. File photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) has called on the Kurdish Village Guards militia fighting under the auspices of the Turkish state not to take part in the Turkish aggression against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria. This comes amid reports of Turkey sending the militia to fight against Kurdish forces.
“In the light of the defeats suffered by the Turkish occupation army and its terrorist mercenaries in Afrin due to the legendary resistance on the part of our people in Afrin, Erdogan continues his policies of enmity towards unity of peoples and opposing to their outlooks to freedom,” read a statement published by TEV-DEM on Wednesday.
TEV-DEM is the ruling coalition of the Northern Syrian Federation known as Rojava by Kurds.
The statement claimed that Erdogan has been trying to make up issues between the different components through lies, pointing towards the allegations of ethnic cleansing during the campaign for liberating Tal Abyadh in 2015.
Tal Abyadh, in Raqqa governorate, was one of the major strongholds of ISIS on the border with Turkey. It was liberated by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in 2015.
“Erdogan’s insistence on spreading sedition and disunity is nothing but a continuation of the Ottoman policies,” the statement added, saying that a portion of an undisciplined group of the so-called opposition (Free Syrian Army) spearheaded the Afrin campaign.
“Within Kurdistan, [he] tries to support theoretical disputes and deepen them, and every time he fails, he today prepares to enlist members of the village guards mercenary from Bakur [northern Kurdistan] in its aggression against Afrin,” the statement elaborated.
This is the policy of fighting the enemy with the enemy, and anyone’s loss is a positive thing for the Turkish state, according to the statement.
“We call on all Kurdish groups, especially the village guards, even if they do not agree with our ideas and outlooks, not to be a part of any war coming from Turkey,” TEV-DEM posits, saying Turkey is losing and falling in Afrin.
Village guards (or Korucular) are paramilitaries recruited mostly from Kurds in Turkey. The aim of the paramilitary in the Kurdish region of Turkey is to fight against PKK and aid the Turkish military in its operations.
They number from 50,000 to 90,000 and have been accused of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.
The statement came days after reports circulated in Turkish media claiming that the village guards would go to Afrin to join the Turkish aggression.
“With the participation of the Kurdish village guards, the claim that the operation is against the Kurds will be nullified,” Ziya Sozen, an official in the militia told Turkish news outlets.
The militia has been targeted by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its members dubbed cerdevan (traitors). Their members have been likened to Kurds collaborating with the Iraqi government during the Anfal genocide campaigns against Kurds in Iraq.
The Olive Branch Operation was launched in January 20 by the Turkish state. So far the Turkish Army and its FSA proxies have managed to only capture 7 percent of Afrin’s villages according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
During the operation, the Observatory has documented the deaths of 163 members of the Kurdish YPG forces and 211 within the Olive Branch forces, including 32 Turkish soldiers and two pilots.
The UK-based organization also documented at least 77 civilian casualties and tens more injured. Local Afrin health authorities report at least 160 civilian deaths.