Like Britain in 1940, Syria’s Kurds and Christians Stand Alone

Kurdish women's self-defense units, veterans of the war against ISIS, march to fight Turkey and al Qaeda.

By Johannes de Jong Published on February 8, 2018

I finally found the time to watch Darkest Hour. That hit movie depicts the first three weeks of Winston Churchill’s term in office. And the Blitz through France that led to Dunkirk. It matched the grim reality of today’s strife between good and evil in Syria. My phone is constantly buzzing with the horrors inflicted by Turkey and al Qaeda. And the courage of Syrian Kurds and Christians who first beat ISIS, and now resist invasion.

From a military perspective it’s stunning. The image of Britain in 1940 or Israel in 1948 irresistibly springs into mind. The Syrian Democratic Forces are fighting with sheer guts and courage against the second largest army in NATO. The SDF has no air force. No tank brigades. No serious anti-aircraft. It does not have many modern small arms or military protection gear.  And yet it faces two armies, and fights tenaciously.

One is the army of Al Qaeda and other jihadists. They’re attacking the Afrin region from the west and south, outnumbering the defenders. Then there is the Turkish army with tanks and jets, which attacks from the north and east.

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A Graveyard for al Qaeda and Erdogan’s Army

Still the SDF holds out. The Turkish army with all its gear has only taken a few minor suburbs, less than 5 percent of the region. Afrin is like a mini-Switzerland, mountainous through and through. It favors defenders.

The SDF soldiers are exploiting their sole advantage. And beating the NATO-armed Turkish army back. The SDF reported on February 5:

After fierce clashes, Sheikh Khoruz hill and village are cleared off Turkish and al-Qaida terrorists. An armored personnel carrier was captured, another one destroyed. Two terrorists were captured alive. Turkish army suffered so many casualties. February 5, #Afrin.

They provided  the pictures to back up this claim. It is obvious by now that the Turkish army will face huge losses if it insists on moving forward.

A multi-ethnic, multi-religious rally for freedom in Afrin, Syria.

A multi-ethnic, multi-religious rally for freedom in Afrin, Syria.

Christians Rally to Fight Alongside the Kurds

Meanwhile the SDF got its first reinforcements from the other cantons of the Federation of Northern Syria. (That’s the democratic, religiously tolerant political union liberated from ISIS.) As US forces are present in other cantons, most think that Turkey will not attack them. It would mean open war with America. Among these SDF forces are fighters from the (Christian) Syriac Military Council, and Arab units that oppose al Qaeda. These volunteers fully expect that many of them, just back from beating ISIS, will die under Turkish air strikes.

The Syriac Military Council considers the Turkish attack a strike against every value they defended in the war against ISIS. They won’t stand by as the Turks and al Qaeda steal one square inch of their hard-won freedom. They know that if they allow Turkey to ethnically cleanse Afrin, that the Syriac-Assyrian (Christian) towns in the north-east will be the next targets. On February 2 Turkey knowingly shelled the Christian village of Zorava.

Kidnapping Yezidis, Bombing Christians

Turkey claims to be “fighting terrorism” by targeting vulnerable religious minorities. On February 2, the Turkish army took the Yazidi village of Qastel Cindo, and dragged off three elderly civilians. No one has seen them since. The Afrin hospital has registered 130 civilian casualties since January 20.

The Syrian Democratic Forces are fighting with sheer guts and courage against the second largest army in NATO.

And still the world is silent. But the Kurds, Arabs and Syrian Christians are not giving up. They will fight on for Western-style freedom, even without the West’s help. They know that many Americans, and Christians around the world, are hoping and praying for them — whatever their cynical governments might be up to.

So here is a Stream exclusive: A message from the spokesman for Syrian Christian fighters now on the front lines against al Qaeda and Turkey. I met the brave Kino Gabriel in Syria, while he was fighting ISIS. He has a message for Christians in the US and all around the world:

 

Syrian Democratic Forces Call Upon Christians Worldwide from The Stream on Vimeo.

Take a Stand for the Least Among Your Brothers

Will you act? Will you write or call your congressman, senator or the White House? Tell them to stop the Turkish jihad against the innocent people of Afrin. To keep al Qaeda out of Syria. Will you share this video on Facebook and Twitter? Will you stand up for the least of your Christian brothers and sisters?

It may be the darkest hour for these vulnerable people. No nation is helping them against this Islamist onslaught — not even its recent allies against ISIS. But these people aren’t finished. They shall defend their freedom, whatever the cost may be. They shall fight in the plains, they shall fight in the mountains, they shall fight in the fields and in the streets. They shall never surrender.

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