WCA – 10/10/2019
“President Trump is right on Syria!,” according to Johny Messo, the President of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”). Withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and halting financial and arms support to the YPG Kurds may help restore peace and security in Syria. Messo further argues that “the YPG Kurds are responsible for the current escalation in the northeast and that they hold the key for peace in this part of our ancestral homeland.”
1) President Trump made the right decision in withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria to end the “ridiculous endless wars,” fulfilling yet another campaign promise; he already ended the covert CIA program of 2013 to arm the “rebels” in Syria. America’s mission to destroy the Caliphate and military power of ISIS was achieved in March 2019. So there was no cogent reason to stay in Syria, let alone to keep arming the YPG Kurds. Staying rather than leaving would be a greater security threat and burden for America.
2) Trump’s edict may lead to peace, security and stability in Syria. Despite the powerful war narrative and war lobby, Trump shows the world that America chooses peace and jobs at home above wars abroad. If other countries follow suit, primarily those whose foreign policies largely follow America’s course, and stop arming their proxies, violence will soon end. Then one can finally focus on seeking a genuine political solution for Syria, beginning in a few weeks through the UN-facilitated Constitutional Committee.
3) The PKK and the PYD/YPG Kurds, who control the SDF, are two sides of the same coin. The communist ideology and violent nature of these nationalist organizations discredit democratic and liberal values. These ‘heroes’ have oppressed vulnerable Arameans, taken their innocent lives, Kurdified their lands and still use a tiny Christian group as their mouthpiece to represent Kurdish interests. The resentment against the YPG among the locals is prevalent, yet underreported. In due time, their authoritarian governance would likely lead to an ISIS 2.0 among the local Arabs, who outnumber the Kurds, mainly among Arab nationalists and among conservative Arab and Kurdish Muslims.
4) The YPG Kurds had ample time and opportunities to take away the security concerns of Damascus and/or Ankara. Inspired by North Iraq, the envisioned autonomous Kurdish region in North Syria would give a huge boost to the PKK Kurds in Southeast Turkey. Instead of striking a deal for their people, though, Western support made them haughty. The YPG did not calculate or care about the high risks involved in its determination to first craft an autonomous region in North Syria and then a statelet called “Kurdistan.”
5) By pursuing their own agenda, the nationalist PYD/YPG Kurds have acted irresponsibly, endangering the lives of their own people and those of Arameans and other minorities! Whenever a village, town or city fell in their hands, they proudly raised Kurdish flags and nationalist symbols on the buildings and displayed images of the jailed PKK leader. It was only a matter of time until Damascus would reclaim control over Northeast Syria or until Ankara would unilaterally resolve its growing security concerns at its border. That day has come, and Aramean civilians now suffer due to the YPG’s irresponsibility.
6) Unlike the Aramean Christians and Yazidis, the YPG Kurds received protection and huge amounts of money, arms, and airpower from America to defeat ISIS. The Kurds should always remain grateful to America, which never promised them an eternal partnership. The YPG Kurds should have used their privileged position to focus on Syria’s unity and strike a peace deal with Syria and/or Turkey. In particular, because they should have known that America would never sacrifice its relations with a fellow state, huge trade partner and established NATO ally for a rather impulsive non-state actor whose mother organization after all is officially designated by the U.S.A. as a terrorist organization.
7) The PKK/PYD/YPG Kurds must give up the armed struggle for autonomy and the idea of a state called “Kurdistan” in the homeland of the Arameans and their Aramaic language! Our region has become weary of wars. They only destroy our common land and the lives of our loved ones and families, causing animosity toward one another. As the indigenous people of Southeast Turkey and Northeast Syria, we call upon the PKK/PYD/YPG to end its violent struggle for independence so that Arameans, Kurds, Arabs, and Turks can work together on a mutually enriching co-existence between different ethnicities, religions and languages in Turkey and Syria. Whether in Southeast Turkey or Northeast Syria, the PKK/PYD/YPG Kurds hold the key in their hands to peace, security, and prosperity for their own people and for other peoples in the lands which we need to be sharing today.
Click here to download this statement (pdf).
Syria’s indigenous Aramean people and Aramaic language
Truth is the first casualty of war. This age-old truism holds especially true for Syria. Its conflict is difficult to grasp because of its multi-dimensional layers. Many states and non-state actors have directly or indirectly, covertly or overtly, been engaged in protecting their own interests.
Usually, this came at the expense of the innocent, unprotected and disregarded minority groups. Among them are the Aramean Christians. The documented history of this Semitic people and their Aramaic language in Northeast Syria and Southeast Turkey goes back to more than 3,000 years. In 2011, Syria’s Christians still numbered 8 to 10% of the 21 million total population. Today, however, in less than a decade, they represent no more than 3 to 5% of the total population of 17 million.
As the indigenous people of this area, our key interest is that our home countries will be free of terrorist groups and activities, that they normalize their relations and return to the pre-2011 security period. This will encourage Arameans and their fellow citizens to return to their homes and contribute to their ancient homeland.