NEWS DESK – Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) Spokesman Colonel Talal Ali Selo talked to ANF reporters Mehmet Nurî Ekinci and Arafat Dayan and said QSD’s operation will continue until the entire countryside of Hesekê is cleared of ISIS.
Selo informed that they have 3 km left to Hawl, blocked the road between the town and Lake Xatuniyê by now and liberated 46 villages from ISIS occupation since the beginning of the operation 11 days ago. He reported that the strategic town of Hawl will be liberated soon.
Syrian Democratic Forces Spokesman Colonel Talal Ali Selo spoke to ANF about the operation going on in its 11th day.
‘WE WILL NOT STOP BEFORE CLEARING ISIS FROM HESEKÊ COUNTRYSIDE’
The operation of QSD has left 10 days behind. What is the current situation, what are the developments in south Hesekê?
The operation is going on successfully and we are getting closer to our target step by step. The operation has already achieved significant results in line with our plan and goal to liberate the Hesekê countryside as the first step.
The two separate groups running the operation from Til Berak and Hesekê sides have united two days ago. During this period of 10 days, we have inflicted major blows on the gangs and failed many attacks they have conducted.
We have liberated many villages and areas under ISIS occupation and will keep the operation going without ever giving a break. Once the operation is finalized, we will start our preparations for another operation.
‘HAWL IS A STRATEGIC AREA FOR ISIS’
What is the importance of south Hesekê area and Hawl town for you and the ISIS?
In general term, we planned our operation with a goal of clearing the south Hesekê region of ISIS, it was not particularly based on Hawl which is just involved in the boundaries of this operation. The town of Hawl is of importance in many aspects. It is located near Syria-Iraq border and gangs have been conducting their attacks on Hesekê and Cizirê peoples from this town. ISIS gangs use the roads over this line for bringing in reinforcements and enabling crossing between Iraq and Syria. Liberation of Hawl will enable us to block and stop all these supplies which ISIS distributes to across all the other areas in Syria.
The south of Hesekê and Hawl is a strategic area for ISIS gangs. After the fall of Tal Abyad, they transferred their base to this area where ISIS could wherefore get organized widely; in respect of both militarily and foundation.
In order to hold on in this area, they planted huge explosives and dug long trenches around this area. In other words, ISIS gangs had became militarily established in Hawl, and made major preparations to hold this vicinity and the path of their connections under their control.
Despite all their measures, QSD forces liberated almost all areas around Hawl on the 10th day of the operation. We are as close to 3 km to Hawl now. As of today, we have blocked the road between Hawl and lake Xatuniyê and we want and expect to announce the liberation of Hawl soon. The people of Syria should feel comfortable. Once Hawl is liberated, our operation will be going on until all Hesekê countryside is taken back.
‘WE LIBERATED 46 VILLAGES, DOZENS OF HAMLETS AND SETTLEMENTS’
How far have you advanced so far? What is the situation like in liberated areas?
During this operation, we have liberated and taken control of 46 villages, dozens of hamlets and surrounding settlements. Many of these had been evacuated already as the people were forced to flee the region as it served a military purpose. While beginning our operation, we had also called for a temporary evacuation of the region to avoid the civilians from getting harmed or being used as human shields by ISIS gangs. Yet, we started the offensive to see that people had all been forced to migrate.
‘PEOPLE SHOULDN’T RETUN TO VILLAGES FOR NOW’
So, are these villages not safe?
Despite the clearance of ISIS from the area, villages do not lend themselves to be safe for the people now because gangs have left many explosives and booby traps behind. We do not think they should turn back for a while more.
One other reason is that gangs are still conducting attacks on some villages we have seized from them. In a previous case, gangs attacked the three villages where we liberated from them. Our forces took the control back but clashes also harmed the civilian people.
In this area as well, the liberated villages are not wholly safe yet; due to both mines and the remaining probability of an attack by ISIS.
‘PEOPLES OF SYRIA EMBRACE THE QSD’
How do the people treat the Syrian Democratic Forces? Another troop force of Arab tribes joined you several days ago. How do you assess this?
QSD is made up of all peoples from Syria. Mainly the forces in south Hesekê where the operation continues, are comprised of Arab citizens. In both local and regional aspect, we draw interest from the civilian population, local residents and the Arab community, with all of whom we have good relations. This was most recently proved by the participation of the Skurul Al-Badi (Desert Falcons) Brigade in the ranks of Syrian Democratic Forces.
Desert Falcons are completely made up of Arab tribes living in south Hesekê. They joined the QSD and the operation to clear the area of ISIS by fighting the gangs. This approach itself manifests the fact that Syrian Democratic Forces have been embraced and owned by the people.
We all know very well that the so-called ISIS gangs have attacked all the values of humanity without distinguishing between their faiths, languages, cultures and races. ISIS gangs attacked and harmed the Arab people too, as much as they attacked and harmed the Kurdish, Syriac, Assyrian and Êzîdî people. Arab people are also joining the QSD now to get rid of ISIS gangs.
‘ANYBODY IS WELCOME IN OUR RANKS’
In the declaration of establishment of Syrian Democratic Forces, you called for participation in the ranks of your forces. Has this call been answered?
Indeed. The local people have no problem with each other. ISIS wanted to make them confront each other, but couldn’t succeed. They are now uniting under the umbrella of QSD. Our call for participation from all peoples had also been done with the same intention. The gains we have made against ISIS in the operation have also paved the way for the participation of the local people in the ranks of our forces.
We say it again; anyone who wants to join us and fight the gangs is welcome anytime. Every Syrian citizen has the right to fight ISIS and build a free future. QSD gives this right to everyone of them.
What is the difference of QSD from the other forces in Syria?
The major thing is the fact that we put the fraternity of peoples into practice and fight together for freedom. The forces that once called themselves ‘Free Army’ were all dispersed and almost all of them joined the QSD now. The forces such as this ‘Free Army’ or those of the regime, are suffering continued defeat in the battle against ISIS. They gain no success.
‘THESE LANDS CAN ALL BE FREED IF QSD IS EXTENDED’
Finally, what is your call to the people of Syria and the region?
The main objective in the establishment of Syrian Democratic Forces is to clear all the areas of all kinds of terror represented in the body of ISIS. One other point is that we want to build a Democratic Syria to enable the living of all peoples together in a democratic environment and with all their legal rights. From this point of view, QSD is a national force and it will provide a basis for the founding of a joint army. We serve to protect the people and the land. Syria is in an undeniable need of a force to protect and liberate it. QSD is the force serving the together-living of peoples and democratization of Syria. On this basis, we expect and hope that peoples both support and join the Syrian Democratic Forces. These lands can be cleared and liberated only if QSD forces are extended.