Speaking to the radio station The Voice of Rojava, Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) Spokesperson Nasrin Abdullah said that the Raqqa offensive, which on Saturday entered its third phase, had led to the the unity of the Syrian people in the field of defence.
Abdullah noted that unity in defence was instrumental in creating the conditions for the Syrian people to be unified in the sphere of ideas. “The will strengthen the Northern Syria Federation Project,” Abdullah said, referring to what officials in northern Syria see as the only democratic solution to the Syrian crisis.
The leading YPJ figure also spoke about the third phase of the Wrath of Euphrates offensive, which was launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday. The third phase of the offensive aims to capture eastern parts of Raqqa from the Islamic State and lead to the eventual encircling of the city.
Below is a summary of Nasrin Abdullah’s interview with The Voice of Rojava.
In the process of creating the Democratic Federation Project you [SDF] announced the start of the third phase of the Wrath of Euphrates campaign. Is there a connection between these two developments?
One of the goals of this campaign is to liberate the areas and people living under the control of Daesh (IS) and strengthen the federal project. At the same time, this struggle will also develop what we call: the consciousness of self defence based on the principles of the democratic nation*. The fighters involved in this campaign are mainly young people from the region who are fighting for Syria and an end to the Syrian crisis under the Syrian Democratic Forces. Of course there are Kurds and YPG-YPJ are also leading this [Raqqa] campaign. But there are also Syriac, Turkmen, Chechen and other sections of society also taking their place. So we can easily say that this campaign belongs to all the people living in Syria.
If the unity and consciousness of the people develops in the sphere of defence, this will also reflect in the sphere of ideas and ideology. The federation project is valid for all the areas that have been liberated. No liberated area is outside this project.
It is said that the purpose of the campaign is to isolate Raqqa and completely besiege it. Do you think this will happen?
That’s correct. The purpose of the campaign is to completely besiege and encircle Raqqa. But the people should know that Daesh is not a little and weak power. For this reason Daesh will try to overshadow the campaign and attempt terrorist acts; if it can it will target strategic places across Syria and northern Syria in order to keep hold of its most important region and city.
So far we have braved thousands of IED attacks and attacks with bomb-laden and reconnaissance vehicles. We prioritised this campaign and are doing everything we to prevent harm to civilians. We are very sensitive on this and will act responsibly.
Will this campaign take a long time?
There are still hundreds of thousands of civilians living in Raqqa, and they are all under the threat of Daesh. We will do all we can for the people and act with awareness.
What is expected to happen after this campaign?
Our agenda after this campaign will be to go beyond Raqqa. Already the people of Deir ez-Zor are wailing for help almost every day, saying, ‘save us from the tyranny of Daesh’. For this reason, our campaigns and struggle will continue until all the areas in Daesh’ hands and the people facing its tyranny are liberated.
*Democratic nation is a term coined by imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and denotes a nation bound not by race, ethnicity, language or markets etc. but by a communal existence founded on gender equality, ecological awareness and participation in social and political life. It is being used by Kurdish groups in Syria as the ‘philosophy’ of the federal system they are attempting to create.
(Writing and reporting by Aylina Kilic/Kom News)