Western members of YPG reject Turkish attacks on Rojava, but won’t fight Turkey

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Foreign YPG volunteers seen in the vicinity of Jarablus. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

HASAKAH – Macer Gifford, a British volunteer with the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, says he will not fight Turkey.

On 24 August, the Turkish army and a group of Turkey-backed Syrian rebels took the town of Jarablus in northern Syria, and later attacked the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which led to clashes between the SDF and Turkish-backed forces. The clashes on Tuesday after a ceasefire was reached under pressure by the US-led coalition. 

The Turkish government considered western volunteers that joined the YPG-SDF as ‘terrorists’. However, most volunteers say they signed up with YPG to fight ISIS, not to fight against Turkey.

“Only in the minds of right wing and nationalist politicians in Turkey could the volunteers ever be called terrorists,” Gifford told ARA News.

“The Turks have allowed ISIS on their border for years, smuggling weapons and supplies to ISIS. Now that the secular and democratic Kurds are advancing, Turkey is unilaterally intervening in the conflict for their own selfish national interest,” the British volunteer said.

However, Gifford, who was once called as one of the ‘James Bonds in PKK’ by the Turkish media, said he will not fight against Turkey, which is a part of NATO.

“I am a passionate humanitarian and strong Kurdish supporter. Everything I do conforms to British law. I have regular meetings with police and counter terrorism units in the UK. I intend to only use peaceful resistance and political campaigning to oppose the recent attacks by Turkey on Syria,” he told ARA News.

“The international volunteers in Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region] believe in democracy, equality and justice. They oppose the evil ideology of hate that makes up the Islamic State and they support humanitarian efforts in Rojava,” he said.

Speaking to ARA News, Joe Ackerman, a former British soldier from Halifax who had joined the YPG before returning to the UK, said that he told his commanders when he was still in Syria that he would combat Turkey. “I always said to my commander which he and the other guys agreed … I would not fight Turkey if the YPG attacked them. But I would defend and fight back along with YPG, if we were attacked by them,” he said.

“If that makes me a terrorist for defending [Rojava] against an attack by the Turks then so be it,” he said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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