Steven Katsineris calls for an ethical alternative to supporting war criminals in the Syrian conflict. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.
The Syrian, Turkish and Iraqi Kurds and other groups have been fighting a bitter war against Daesh (aka Islamic State) for years.
It was the Kurdish armed forces of the Syrian YPG (Peoples Protection Units) and the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) who were crucial in saving tens of thousands of Yezidi lives at Mount Sinjar and later getting them to safety in the free Rojava region in northern Syria and to Kurdish areas in Iraq.
In resolving the conflicts in Syria and Iraq the Kurds and other local people’s militias are vital in this struggle. They are the greatest prospect of combating Daesh and have the most effective forces to defeat them. The only way to deal with Daesh is to give as much support to these local peoples, who are suffering and resisting this oppressive Daesh group. They will then have means to better fight Daesh and to overcome this fanatical extremist group’s cruelty and terror. Otherwise this conflict will not only continue to grow and affect more communities in the Middle East, but Europe and the wider world.
The present situation is a result of the US and its allies past military intervention in Iraq to protect oil interests. While the US and other western countries are reluctant to get involved in another foreign policy disaster and war, the U.S. cannot disregard its direct responsibility for the mess that is now happening in the region. It was the U.S. that armed the Iraqi army, which later gave up huge areas to Daesh without a fight and left behind masses of advanced weapons and other military supplies.
And while extremely conservative, jihadist opposition groups in Syria have received huge amounts of military and other assistance from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf States, more moderate rebel groups have had to fight with limited arms and supplies.
This has left the Kurdish, Armenian, Turkmen, Yazidi, Druze, Assyrian, Syrian Arab, Greek militias and the Free Syria Army and others to resist by themselves with little support and weaponry. Yet despite the inadequate aid provided from outside countries these forces have been successfully fighting and pushing back Daesh. In the past few weeks alone, Kurdish Peshmerga, Yezidi and PKK forces have retaken Sinjar, in Iraq from Daesh and Syrian Democratic Forces (a Kurdish and Arab alliance, including the FSA) has made significant territorial gains against Daesh in northeast Syria, liberating over 200 villages and moving closer to the Daesh headquarters of Raqqa.
The west and the world community cannot abandon the peoples of the region, but have a duty to do more to help these people resist. They need and deserve more assistance from the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean the west or other countries should be aiding hardline Salafist groups or propping up the oppressive Assad government, as the problem with the lesser of two evils policy is you still end up with an evil regime in power. There is a practical, ethical alternative, to side with the Syrian peoples genuine resistance organisations.