2018 Afrin Offensive Analysis Free Syrian Army History Kurdistan Workers' Party News Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Romanian History Secularism Syria Turkey Turkish Armed Forces YPG

Blow up Your Own Cities: A Marxist Trend

The YPG lost Afrin, probably for good. Their defences collapsed as Turkish troops advanced, killing over 3000 YPG and regime militiamen – militiamen sent in an attempt to discourage the Turkish army.[1] In Manbij, this had worked; regime troops and US forces ostentatiously flew their flags to discourage Turkey from pushing forward.

It didn’t work this time. Over 100 Assad militiamen were killed, the rest retreated. The YPG tried to imprison civilians in Afrin with blockades to use them as human shields. When that didn’t work, they abandoned the city and the Turkish army and FSA took control. Civilians began returning and life slowly seemed to return to normalcy.

A few days later, a bomb exploded in an apartment in central Afrin on March 19, killing 7 civilians and 4 nearby FSA men.[2] A few days later another bomb went off, killing more people.[3] One local resident who lost 2 nephews in the blast claims this is YPG revenge for not fanatically  – you are with them or against them.[4] The YPG has even placed bombs in Qur’ans several times – one of which killed Turkish sergeant Orhan Sürmen when he opened it.


These tactics – bombing civilian homes and enemy positions after a retreat to cause public dissatisfaction and make a territory ungovernable – are nothing new when it comes to Marxist states and groups.

In the Crimea in 1941, Romanian soldiers pushed forward as part of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa. Romania had humiliatingly been forced by the Soviets to give up the ancient Romanian regions of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina by an ultimatum which promised invasion if the Romanians didn’t comply.

But this wasn’t 1940 anymore. Romania had grabbed back Bessarabia and Bukovina, and its troops were pushing into the USSR. Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu had aligned his nation with Germany – not out of love of Germany or Nazism, but due to his belief that the Germans would help them regain territory. Just as brutal as Hitler, Antonescu tended more on the side of cynicism – he didn’t relish in killing, neither did he hold back. He killed around 300,000 Jews, yet saved around 300,000  more – because it was expedient.

But the Crimean campaign didn’t go as well. Around Odessa, the Romanian army was quickly bogged down in trench warfare until it had suffered over 100,000 men killed, wounded or maimed before the Russians finally pulled out. The area became so bloody that the Romanians called it “the vale of tears”.

Romanian troops examine carnage after the siege.

At this stage, it would have been pragmatic for the Soviets to withdraw to Sevastopol and regroup. But NKVD (later KGB) sabotage units were put to work before the withdrawing, placing time bombs to blow up buildings in Odessa, regardless of if innocent people died (or if it caused reprisals). One such bomb exploded in the building appropriated as the Romanian army’s central command, obliterating General Ion Glogojeanu, 16 of his officers and 4 Germans. In total, the death toll ran at 67 people.

The paranoid Antonescu was enraged, believing that his army’s heavy losses were completely down to the Jews alone. He based this on the fact that many of the Soviet army’s political officers – men present among units to indoctrinate the troops (and, if necessary, push them forward at the barrel of a gun) were Jewish. Antonescu, however, claimed that all Jews were morally responsible for communism, regardless of if they supported it or not.

When Wilhelm Filderman, Jewish Romanian-born activist (who regularly exchanged letters with Antonescu) wrote to him to ask for mercy for the Jews, Antonescu responded by citing the testimony of Soviets captured in Odessa:

“The soldiers at the front run the great risk of being wounded or killed because of the Jewish commissars, who with a diabolical perseverance drive the Russians from behind with revolvers and keep them in their positions until they die to the last man. I have found out about this and am disgusted.”[5]

While the commissars often forced gentile soldiers to fight to the last man, reports compiled by both the Germans and Romanians concluded that part of the reason behind Romania’s heavy losses was due to the ill-prepared Romanian army itself.[6] Antonescu vented his fury on the innocent, and the Soviets gave him the pretext, not caring how many of their supposedly beloved citizens died in the process.

The Soviet bombings had no military value. In fact, Antonescu and the Nazis had been given the fake excuse they were looking for to justify terrible atrocities. In response, they rounded up some 34,000 Jews (including women and children) and shot them. When that got boring, they were herded into barns and machine gun fire was poured inside.

The Soviets cared very little for their own people or anyone else’s – not only did they blow up their own cities to spite enemy forces, but forced their soldiers to use human wave assaults against well-defended enemy positions, costing millions of casualties.

These same tactics were employed by Mao, Pol-Pot, Gaddafi and any number of others. It’s no surprise that the YPG hides behind columns of civilians, blows up their (occupied) houses, executes Kurds it deems to be “traitors” and more. Marxists have no value for the workers they claim to protect.

The YPG has often claimed that if it took over, Turkey would massacre and ethnically cleanse the Kurds (despite evidence to the contrary). It claims to be their protector, yet deliberately engages in tactics designed to cause the very hatred and bitterness. Few will be glad to see it gone.

FSA mercenaries in Afrin.


[1] “Turkey neutralizes 3,698 terrorists in Afrin operation“. Anadolu Agency. 21 March 2018.

[2] “YPG/PKK booby-trap bomb kills 7 civilians, 4 FSA fighters in Afrin“. TRT World. 19 March 2018.

[3] “Explosive planted by PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria’s Afrin martyrs 3 Turkish soldiers“. Yeni Şafak. 22 March 2018.

[4] “YPG/PKK booby-trap bomb kills 7 civilians, 4 FSA fighters in Afrin“. TRT World. 19 March 2018.

[5] Dennis Deletant, Hitler’s Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania, 1940–1944, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006. Pp. 116.

[6]Delia Radu, “Serialul ‘Ion Antonescu și asumarea istoriei’ (2)”, BBC Romanian edition, August 1, 2008

[]Trașcă, pp.386–389

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