Over at the revamped, paywalled (and, sadly, comment-banned) Pando, the War Nerd, shorn of the online commenter entourage that helped spread his fame, soldiers on with a good piece about the Kurds and their enemies:
… A lot of very powerful people and organizations don’t like these Kurdish commies. Turkey hates them with a slightly insane intensity. Erdogan would love YPG/J to make a mistake like that; Al Jazeera would love it; the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis would love it. And a lot of Western red-baiters and idiot Leftist splinter groups would love it as well.
In fact, these people haven’t even waited for the YPG/J to make that kind of mistake. They started accusing the YPG/J of ethnically cleansing Arabs from Tal Abyad as soon as the Kurds entered the town.
Most of this noise about cleansing is coming from Erdogan loyalists at the Daily Sabah, which makes it pretty bitterly ironic. The Turkish government is the world champion of ethnic cleansing throughout the last century. No other country even comes close. Armenians, Assyrians, Anatolian Greeks— basically all the non-Muslim minorities of early 20th-century Anatolia—were massacred and driven out by 20th century Turkey. Turkey’s history of massacring minority populations is just flat-out disgusting. They would have done it to the Kurds, except the Anatolian Kurds were too numerous, too remote, and too damn tough to kill off or drive out, so the Turkish government simply decreed that they didn’t exist as a people, that they were simply “Mountain Turks” rather than the K-word. And now the Daily Sabah reports, without the decency to blush, that Arab residents of Northern Syria might face “segregation and assimilation.” Yeah. That’s a harsh fate, assimilation, huh. I’m sure the Armenians and Assyrians preferred outright extirpation to the horrors of assimilation.
Keep in mind there has been zero evidence that the YPG/J has actually done any cleansing whatsoever. They’re intensely socialist, anti-sectarian, anti-chauvinist.
They’ve gone out of their way to work with notoriously prickly, militarily worthless Syrian-Arab militias for the sake of maintaining inter-ethnic harmony. (YPG/J communiqués always mention an Arab militia ally called “Euphrates Volcano,” which deserves points for a cool name, anyway.)
At this point, the claims of ethnic cleansing are all Turkish and Wahhabi hype. Before the YPG/J took Tal Abyad, most Sunni-Arab outlets were screaming in advance that the Kurds were going to cleanse the town.
The story was picked up, interestingly, by Tory rags like the Telegraph, who are no fonder of commies than the Qatari or Turkish Islamists.
And then, two days after putting out that scare-story, those same outlets were reporting that in fact, locals were finally coming back to Tal Abyad now that the YPG/J was in control.
So, to sum up, there’s no evidence at all that YPG/J is involved in ethnic cleansing, sectarian massacres, or any of the other atrocities that are SOP for every other military force in Syria. Their crime is being victorious, pursuing the outright monsters of Islamic State onto Sunni Arab turf. If their neighbors were sane, they’d be dancing in the streets to see YPG/J replace IS in Tal Abyad and points south. But this is a sectarian neighborhood, and you don’t cheer for the other tribe, ever. But maybe that can change.