General Commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on March 28 that the group had taken the decision to liberate the area of Afrin from the Turkish military and its proxies by force.
“We are preparing and making arrangements in order to liberate Afrin … Because this is a military matter, everyone should know that when the time is suitable, the liberation phase will begin,” Ferhat Abdi Sahin, who is known by his nom de guerre “Mazloum Kobane” said in an interview with the Kurdish Sterk TV.
Mazloum Kobane added that all SDF groups, including the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Woman’s Protection Units (YPJ), have affirmed their readiness to participate in the liberation of Afrin once the battle begin.
“Afrin is not only a Kurdish area, but a Syrian area … It’s within the SDF’s mission to protect all Syria terrirotry,” Mazloum Kobane said.
The Turkish military and its Syrian proxies took over Afrin in the beginning of 2018 following a short battle with Kurdish forces. Despite losing the strategic area, Kurdish fighters managed to hold onto few positions south and southeast of Afrin.
However, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian forces are now deployed in these positions. All the supply routes to these positions are also under the direct control of the Damascus government.
Due to this situation, the SDF will need an agreement with Damascus in order to carry out any attack in the area. An agreement that appears to be impossible now, as the Kurdish dominated group is not willing to compromise on any matter.
Therefore, most of SDF statements regarding the situation in Afrin should be viewed as a part of the public political gain in an attempt to buy support of the Syrian population. The group, which deeply relies on the foreign support to control northeastern Syria, is currently facing notable problems with the control over the Arab-populated areas seized from ISIS.