More than 4,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed while they were fighting for Kurds in Syria, Ferhat Abdi Şahin, Commander-in-Chief of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Party (SDF), revealed.
Abdi, better known by his nom de guerre Mazloum Kobani, revealed the information during an interview with the Ronahi TV that was aired on December 4. According to Abdi, thousands of PKK fighters played a key role in the 2014 battle of Kobani, which gave momentum to the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
“They fought by our side for years,” Abdi said. “4,000 fighters of them martyred, and they were beside us until the end.”
Abdi also revealed that prior to the emerge of ISIS, the PKK supported Kurds in Syria against the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, now known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
“We, the people and forces of Rojava [northeastern Syria] can’t but praise the efforts of the PKK,” the Kurdish commander said.
The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. The SDF and its main backer, the U.S, have denied any SDF affiliation with the group for the last four years, despite the overwhelming evidence of its presence in northeastern Syria.
Abdi himself was a senior PKK commander, and a personal friend of the group’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since 1999.
The new remarks of Abdi are a rare SDF admission that the PKK played a major part in the military operations of the US-led coalition and the SDF in northeastern Syria. The PKK is said to enjoy a major influence within the ranks of the SDF.
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