Several pro-opposition media outlets and activists accuse the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of committing human rights abuses against Arabs in the areas it recaptures from the Islamic State in northeast Syria.
Here, Akram Salih, pro-opposition Orient News correspondent embedded with YPG forces in the Al-Hasakah countryside, talks to Syria Direct’s Osama Abu Zeid about the allegations, which he describes as “merely talk.”
Q: There’s been talk recently about violations that the YPG has committed against Arab civilians in the Al-Hasakah countryside, things like forced migration, burning property, etc. What’s your take?
“It’s merely talk. Talk that hasn’t been attributed to any specific individual, but rather to media activists—without mention of who exactly these activists are. What sort of activist is able to be present, right now, in the middle of the ongoing battles? At the very least there are no pictures available that prove the claim [that the YPG is committing violations against Arab citizens].
Secondly, it’s the total opposite of what’s going on. The YPG presents emergency aid to the residents of the areas they liberate from IS control.”
Q: What about the pictures that were published recently that show agricultural land burning in those areas under YPG control? As the YPG enters the villages?
“As for burning agricultural land, that’s a result of mortars falling during the battles themselves. Keep in mind that right now is harvest season [meaning that fields burn more easily].”