Defeating ISIS is Our Highest Priority: SDF

Manish Rai,

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Manish Rai
Manish Rai is a columnist specializing on the Middle East and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and editor of geopolitical news agency ViewsAround. He has reported from Jordon, Iran, Qatar and Afghanistan. His work has been quoted in House of Commons, British Parliament.He can be reached at

Mr Mustafa Bali is the Spokesperson and Director at Media Centre of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). SDF is second biggest territory holder in Syria after President Bashar Al Assad government as of now SDF still controls 25 to 30% of Syria. SDF was formed in the year 2015 in Syrian city of Al-Hasakeh as a Conglomeration of anti ISIS forces including Arabs, Assyrian/Syriac militias but led and dominated by powerful Kurdish militia YPJ. Recently last month Deir ez-Zor governorate in Eastern Syria witnessed the deadliest clashed between ISIS and SDF forces in which around 68 SDF cadres were killed. But SDF has launched the fresh offensive against ISIS in which is getting close air support from its western allies.  In an exclusive interview with Manish Rai, Editor, ViewsAround (VA) Mr Bali speaks on various issues concerning SDF including Turkey’s constant attacks on SDF forces on Syrian-Turkish border region.

Q-What is the motive of current Turkish attacks on Syrian Kurdish controlled areas?

Turkish position is very strange in this regard as they had no problem when ISIS and Al Qaeda were controlling the Syrian-Turkish border. But when SDF and YPG defeated ISIS and Al Qaeda and took control of border Turkey suddenly realised that they have a national security threat along the border. SDF is only trying to secure the Syrian-Turkish border and no one from SDF has fired a single bullet against Turkey from the border. So, Turkey just wants to target Syrian nation on pretext of attacking SDF.


Q- How do SDF plans to respond to these Turkish attacks?

SDF is fighting to protect innocent civilians and country which is our right and we are in constant communication with our Western allies regarding how to stop Turkish aggression. That’s only I can say as of now. But at this point in time our first priority is to fight ISIS and wipe them out from their last strongholds.


Q- How do joint patrols with US forces in Northeast Syria will help SDF?

SDF and our allied international coalition forces have conducted joint patrols on Syria-Turkey border and up to some extend it has helped to deter Turkish attacks on Syrian territory. But temporary patrolling is not enough there should be some sort of permanent arrangements for these joint patrols.


Q- What else is required to completely destroy ISIS from Syria?

First there should be continuous support from international community to forces fighting ISIS in Syria and secondly, we have to fight extremist ideology which promotes ISIS through re-education of people.


Q- Can SDF enters into reconciliation talks with Government of President Bashar Al Assad?

SDF has no authority to enter into any political talks that has to be done by our umbrella organisation which is Syrian Democratic Council.


Q-How do you see the role of SDF in Syria in the near future?

SDF is committed to play a productive role for the sake of better future of Syria. SDF will be part of any solution which is agreed between Syrian Democratic Council and other political actors.