ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The fall of the city of Afrin to the Turkish army does not mean a loss of the war, the former leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said on Sunday.
Responding to the announcement that Turkish forces had controlled Afrin after nearly two months of fighting which left hundreds of civilian casualties and thousands more displaced, Muslim noted that the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from Afrin did not signal defeat.
“[The] withdrawal from one battle doesn’t mean [a loss] of war and [giving] up the struggle,” the former PYD leader wrote on his official Twitter account.
“The struggle will continue, and the Kurdish people will keep defending themselves against the genocide planned on them,” he continued, adding the victory will be for the people of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
withdrawal from one battle doesn't mean loose of war and give up the struggle. the struggle will continue and the Kurdish people will keep defending themselves against the genocide planned on them. the victory will be for N.Syrian peoples.#AfrinNotAlone— Salih Maslem Mohamed (@SalihMaslem) March 18, 2018
Earlier in the day, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkey, claimed its troops had entered the center of Afrin without any resistance and are now in control of the Kurdish-held enclave.
Turkey launched its military incursion into Afrin on Jan. 20 in an offensive dubbed “Operation Olive Branch,” with the participation of Syrian opposition factions.
Ankara argued that the purpose of the offensive was to secure its southern borders from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who it labels a “terrorist” group for its alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Last week, the European Union passed a non-binding motion urging Turkey to remove its soldiers from the Kurdish region, calling for an immediate end to Ankara’s incursion into Afrin, and stressed “the need to focus on defeating the UN-listed terrorist organizations,” mainly the Islamic State and other extremist groups in Syria.