The Inbetweens




“We have nothing to do with politics,” said Abu Ahmed, resident of Nusaybin, “We just want to live.” 

For the Syrian Kurds living in the border cities, the situation gets steadily worse. “We have been neutral for years,” muses Muhammad, Ahmed’s brother. Despite the mortar strikes and the constant violence ripping the streets of southeast Turkey – not to mention the agenda that Erdogan has against the Kurdish militia.

The Syrian Kurds in Turkey, find themselves in a constant state of anxiety. They say that they have never had anything against the Kurdish people, and the attacks only served to kill innocent lives that had nothing to do with the conflict. Instead, they were upset by the fact that the Kurdish militia were being provided their weaponry by the United States of America. Moreover, by the time the third mortar struck ground, killing 8, the casualties included those that had rushed in to help following the first two strikes.

The border town of Ras Al-Ayn also saw sporadic gunfire on Friday. But more significantly, the hospital at Ras Al-Ain had been shelled, and patients could not be transferred out, since the town had been surrounded. The fighting continued despite the five-day ceasefire decided upon by the USA and Turkey.Amnesty International claims that they have collected damning evidence of crimes committed by Turkish forces and Syrian militia. One wonders how much help that will – it does not seem as though either party is trying to cover their tracks.

US President Donald Trump, went on record today, saying that his only concern in Turkey lies in the oil. “I don’t think it’s necessary, other than we secure the oil,” Trump said of the U.S. military presence. “We need to secure the oil.” He also mentioned at the Cabinet meeting in Washington that some of the US troops would remain to man the southern border with Jordan. Trump’s US troop withdrawal order excluding a limited number which would protect the oil fields coupled with Turkey’s Syria offensive was described as a “strategic nightmare” by Mitch McConnell, a Republican leader.

The US President upheld his argument of withdrawal on the grounds of the lives of the soldiers despite the Kurdish-led forces being an important stakeholder in the encounter against Islamic State group. But the fact remains of 200,000 US troops deployed in conflict areas around the world, despite his promise to bring back the soldiers home.  The number of troops in the Gulf has increased by 14,000 since May, following attacks on Saudi oil tankers by Iran.

Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-led forces  in Syria is aimed at replacing them from northern Syria and thereby create a “safe zone” for the resettlement of up to two million Syrian refugees residing currently in  Turkey.

The first assault by Turkey, breaking of ceasefire happened after Mr Trump withdrew all troops from the border. This incident happened near the flashpoint border town of Ras al-Ain. The fear of ethnic cleansing of the Kurds is very much true and alive which has led to between 160,000 and 300,000 people fleeing homes once the battle broke out.


Susmitha Ann Thomas

Sreya Deb

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