Syrian Kurdish envoy asks if US will stand by Kurds post-ISIS

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) head a convoy of US military vehicles in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Sinam Mohamad, envoy to the US for the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, called on the American people and government to continue supporting the Kurds in Syria after ISIS is beaten.

In an opinion piece published in The New York Times on 11 May, (five days before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s scheduled meeting with US President Trump) Mohamad wrote; “we ask the American president and people to be mindful of the enormous sacrifice the Kurdish people have made in this fight (against ISIS), and the importance of the unique democratic system we have worked hard to build in the area of Northern Syria known as Rojava.”

“We have already lost many thousands of our young men and women in battle, and we know many hundreds more will die in Raqqa. Once we win that battle, will America cave in to Turkish pressure and abandon us, despite this sacrifice?” asked Mohamad in her article.

Reminding that Turkey has been conducting cross-border airstrikes killing dozens of YPG fighters whose mission was to resist the Islamic State, Mohamad asked “what happens when Raqqa is liberated and the United States moves on? Will America stand silently by if Mr. Erdogan makes good on his threats to overrun the border and decimate Rojava simply because his regime cannot tolerate a pluralistic democracy that includes the Kurds right next door?”

Reminding that the PYD does not aim to establish an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s southern border, Mohamad writes that the best solution is for Turkey to restart peace talks with Kurdish groups there and to accept that a stable neighbour to the south would be better than one dominated by sectarian chaos.

Mohamad called on the Trump administration, Congress and the American people to stand for a federated Syria as a path to peace: “We ask you to recognise us diplomatically, to include us in peace negotiations and to give us your word that even after Raqqa’s liberation you will prevent attempts by Turkey to destroy what we’ve built here. In sum, we ask, as a people who have sacrificed a generation of our young to defeat the Islamic State and create a democratic future for Syria: Will you stand by us?”