YPG denies assassination of Kurdish officials by Free Syrian Army in Afrin

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A Kurdish man guards a checkpoint on the road to the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, on the Syria-Turkey borde. File photo: YPG MC

ARA News 

QAMISHLO – Official spokesman for the Kurdish forces of People’s Protection Units (YPG) in a statement to ARA News rejected the claims by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) group about the assassination of two members of the YPG media office.

The Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) group of Jaish al-Shamal claimed responsibility for the killing of alleged Kurdish officials Shirin and her assistant Ziyad Jafar on Monday, which caused a wave of outrage among Syrian Kurds. The two were allegedly part of the negotiations concerning the handing over of 66 rebels that were killed in a failed attack on the Kurdish-held Ayn Daqnaq, in the countryside of Aleppo.

“The claim of assassinating two of our YPG officials was a mere fabrication. The two persons who appeared in a video released by the FSA are not members of our media office,” Fewzi Sileman, spokesperson of the Defence Body and representative of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Shabha district, told ARA News.

“After the painful defeats suffered by the terrorist groups backed by countries like Turkey, especially after the battle of Ayn Daqnaq, they are trying to raise the moral of their gangs in various ways, to prevent an internal collapse and confrontations among themselves,” the YPG command in Afrin [in Kurdish Efrîn] said in an official statement.

Moreover, the General command of the People’s Protection Units in Afrin denied that any female members work in the YPG office there, in response to the FSA claim that among those assassinated was a female Kurdish official, and said that these small groups of FSA rebels such as Jaish al-Shamal are not able to capture Kurdish YPG members, adding that the battle of Ayn Daqnaq was an example of this.

“Such fabrications cannot obscure the truth,” the YPG said.

Clashes have increased between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] and rival rebel groups backed by Turkey, since the SDF advanced in February taking over Til Rifaat and threatening to capture the town of Marea in northern Aleppo.

However, the Kurdish defence head in Afrin, Abdo Ibrahim, said they are committed to the truce in Aleppo province and will not attack rival rebel groups despite of continuous rocket and mortar attacks by Islamist rebels that have killed and injured civilians.

Speaking to ARA News, Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security Nicholas Heras said: “These assassinations, targeting of civilian areas, and turf battle conflicts based on the politics of identity weaken the anti-ISIS campaign, and are a thorn in the paw of the U.S.-led counter-ISIS effort.”

“There is a real danger that the identity “Kurd,” will become synonymous with the word “traitor” for a large number of predominately ethnic Arab members of the Syrian opposition,” he added, suggesting this will play into the strategy of ideological extremist actors such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

Amnesty International last week said that armed groups attacking the Kurdish neighbourhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo since February have killed at least 83 civilians, and called on Turkey, Gulf states and others to stop the transfer of arms to the Aleppo Conquest operations room–an umbrella for Syrian Islamist rebels.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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