AANES official among those killed in Turkish drone attack in South Kurdistan
The deputy chairman of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria was martyred in the deadly Turkish drone attack in the countryside of the Sulaymaniyah city in South Kurdistan on Friday.
- Saturday, 18 Jun 2022, 11:57
Four people were killed and another person injured in a drone attack on a car near the village of Berlut in the north of the Kelar town near Sulaymaniyah city of South Kurdistan (North Iraq) on Friday morning. It was not initially known who the victims were, and which state the drone belonged to. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) announced today that one of the four victims was Ferhad Şiblî, the deputy chairman of the AANES Executive Council. Turkey reportedly bombed a civilian vehicle from the air. No information is yet available on the identities of the other dead and injured.
Ferhad Şiblî was in Sulaymaniyah for medical treatment and talks, the AANES stated: “The attack aims to systematically destroy the Autonomous Administration and our people. The Turkish state is disregarding all international legal standards and is carrying out a genocide. The Autonomous Administration calls on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) government and Iraq to fulfil their responsibilities and take a clear stance on the Turkish terrorist attacks.”
Iraqi airspace is controlled by the USA. On Wednesday, a Turkish drone bombed the Sinune town in Shengal (Sinjar), killing one child and injuring seven people, some of them critically. Shengal is the last contiguous settlement area of the Yazidi people.
Global Coalition returns to Syria’s Kobani
Jun 16, 2022
Raqqa, Syria (North Press) – The return of the Global Coalition to the Kobani region, north Syria, for the second time after its withdrawal from it in October 2019 is a source of relief and welcome from the residents of Kobani and its countryside.
The Global Coalition stationed in the French cement manufacturer Lafarge near Kobani. It was the main base of the coalition in Syria, but it withdrew during the Turkish invasion of the cities of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad in October 2019.
On Wednesday, two helicopters of the Global Coalition landed at nine p.m in the Lafarge company. Four hours alter the helicopters took off, said Abdulrahim Ahmed, a resident of the town of Jalabiya, 40 km south of Kobani.
Civilian activists circulated a video clip showing the Global Coalition planes taking off from Lafarge company.
For a month, the company’s outskirts have witnessed noticeable movements by the Global Coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which makes the local residents believe that they are working on establishing a military airbase.
After the withdrawal of the Global Coalition in 2019, the Russian forces and the Syrian government entered the areas of Kobani, Manbij, the countryside of Tel Abyad and Sere Kaniye, in coordination with the SDF to stop the Turkish incursion.
The Russian forces stationed in most of the military bases and posts of the coalition forces, which US officials considered at the time to be a Russian occupation of American bases.
However, the base of the Global Coalition in Lafarge remained under the control of the SDF.
The withdrawal of the Global Coalition in October 2019 from its bases in Kobani and Sere Kaniye, was a shock to the residents of the region. It opened the way for the Turkish forces and Turkish-backed opposition SNA factions to occupy the cities of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad, which caused the displacement of nearly 300,000 people, according to UN reports.
This is the second time for the coalition’s helicopters to return to carry out operations against ISIS members in the area under the control of the SNA. The first operation targeted the leader of ISIS, Abdullah Qaradash, in Idlib, while the second one targeted Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, the Wali (governor) of Raqqa in Jarablus.
Ahmed says that the residents were happy on the nights of the second and third of last February when 6 helicopters of the Global Coalition landed at Lafarge base south of Kobani, for the first time after the withdrawal. The residents believed that the coalition begun to return to its bases in their areas.
In his interview with North Press, Ahmed expresses his satisfaction with the Global Coalition’s use of Lafarge, which is only hundreds of meters away from his home to launch operations against ISIS. This use comes in tandem with Turkish threats to launch a new military operation in northern Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said May 23 that Turkey would soon launch a new military operation into northern Syria to create a 30-kilometer (19-mile) security zone along the border.
Late on Wednesday night, the Global Coalition announced the success of an operation that resulted in the arrest of a prominent leader of ISIS in the city of Jarablus, northern Syria
U.S. officials identified the suspect as Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, whom they said also was known as the Wali of Raqqa, Washington Post newspaper said.
An overnight raid by United States special forces in northwestern Syria led to the death of the Islamic State terror group’s top leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, President Joe Biden said on February 23.
On June 1, Mahmoud Kobani, a leader in the Kobani Military Council, which is affiliated with the SDF, told North Press that they have permanent coordination with the Global Coalition forces to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire agreement with Turkey.
Following the Turkish invasion of the cities of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad in October 2019, Turkey signed a ceasefire agreement with the Russian and American sides.
Reporting by Zana al-Ali
Turkish threats negatively affect our campaign against ISIS – Mazloum Abdi
Jun 2, 2022
QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – On Thursday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi showed concern about recent Turkish threats saying they pose high risk on northern Syria.
“We are concerned about new Turkish threats which pose high risk on northern Syria,” Abdi said in a tweet.
Mazloum Abdi’s tweet comes following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement in which he said that Ankara would soon launch new military operations along its southern borders to create “30-km deep safe zone in response to threats coming from these regions.”
The SDF Commander-in-chief added that any Turkish attack will divide Syria and cause the displacement of the inhabitants.
“Any offensive will divide Syrians, create a new humanitarian crisis, and displace original inhabitants and IDPs,” he noted.
During the past days, Turkey has promoted for a new military operation against north and northeast Syria, geography held by the Kurdish-majority Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
Mazloum Abdi stressed that any “New escalation will also negatively affect our campaign against ISIS.”
On May 31, the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned Chief Advisor to the Turkish President, Ibrahim Kalin against any further escalation in Syrian north.
Sullivan reiterated the importance of refraining from escalation in Syria to preserve existing ceasefire lines and avoid any further destabilization.
Reporting by Jwan Shkaki
Administrating Rojava’s Revolution: An Interview with Emine Osê
Washington Kurdish Institute
Emine Osê, is the deputy co-chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), commonly referred to as Rojava. In this interview, she was asked about an array of topics from women’s rights, the fight against ISIS, ongoing Turkish attacks, and internationalist volunteers. As one of the Kurdish women leading the most inspiring democratic experiment in the Middle East, her remarks help illuminate the struggles and successes taking place throughout Western Kurdistan, which have relevance to America and the entire world.
Q:For those Americans who are not familiar with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria( AANES), can you briefly describe what it is?
A: We are the democratic governing body of north and east Syria, which ensures all people’s rights are protected. For Americans, they should also know that we have been the main player in the international coalition led by the United States to defeat ISIS terrorism and we have sacrificed thousands of heroes to end their reign of terror. The American people should support us and push their government to strengthen their political and economic ties with our Administration, as we have been loyal partners against defeating ISIS terrorism.
Q: The AANES recently made International Women’s Day (March 8) a national holiday in Rojava. Can you explain the significance of that move and how women are freer in north and east Syria than in other parts of the country?
A: Women’s Day for our people is a national and community holiday. Because our revolution is first and foremost a revolution of women. A revolution led by free women, who embody all the historical responsibilities that come with such a sacred cause. One of our main goals is strengthening the moral and political leadership of women. Through the experiences of previous years, from 2012 until now, women in Rojava have become an inspiration to the entire world.One main reason is the YPJ, who played a pivotal role in the defeat of ISIS. Another is our governing Administration co-chair system that guarantees equal participation of women in every department and institution. Women in Rojava are the ones who decide their own fate and destiny.
Q: Since the start of 2022, the Turkish military has carried out 30 drone strikes and artillery shelling on places like Ain Issa, Manbij, and the Shehba Canton – killing 9 and injuring 28 people. Can you discuss the ways that these attacks affect the people in AANES areas?
A: Yes, this is true. In fact, the Turkish occupation army has been committing war crimes for years since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. Turkish-backed forces commit one crime after another in Afrin, Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad and all the areas that they occupy and oppress.Even inside the de-escalation zones, we find many human rights abuses. This shows the flaws in theso-called cease-fire and memoranda of understanding that Ankara made with Washington and Moscow. Ever since October of 2019, when Turkey occupied Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad, their grand plan has been clear. They want to fulfill the 1920 Misak-ı Millî Ottoman Oath, that views the lands of northern Syria and northern Iraq (from Aleppo to Mosul) as part of Turkey. To do this, Ankara is targeting our region with attacks to destabilize society and create an atmosphere of horror, which forces civilians to flee.
Q: Turkey recently launched an invasion of Southern Kurdistan (north Iraq) and has threatened to attack Rojava as well. Has Russia or the United States given your Administration reassurances that they would prevent a Turkish land invasion of AANES areas? And what actions would you like to see Moscow and Washington make to prevent that?
A: It must first be acknowledged that the Turkish invasion of Southern Kurdistan (Kurdish region of northern Iraq) and the constant attacks on our regions are clear violations of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter related to legitimate self-defense. They are illegal under international law and should be viewed as such. As for reassurances, we have not received any from Washington or Moscow, who both bear partial responsibility for Ankara’s actions, since they have reached agreements with Turkey to related to their assaults on these areas. In the end, if the US or Russia continues to fail at stopping Turkey’s war crimes, we will have to unilaterally defend our gains and ensure our security militarily by expelling Turkish forces. However, we would like to solve these issues diplomatically without bloodshed, and we are open to dialogue, but it is important that Turkey first stops its systematic intimidation and withdraws from all the Syrian areas it illegally occupies.
Q: The Al Hol Camp is currently housing 56,000 prisoners with connections or loyalty to ISIS (with half of them being minors). How is the AANES ensuring that these youth will not become the next generation of ISIS fighters? And what are some ways that the AANES would like the US and EU to help with this large problem?
A: Al Hol is a dangerous ticking time bomb for the entire world. Everyday we are faced with frightening dangers from this camp. The most recent incident was an attempted escape of the industrial prison in Hasaka, which could have unleashed thousands of ISIS criminals upon the globe. As an Administration, we have repeatedly stated our solutions: (1) Each country should accept the return of all detainees who hold their nationality. (2) The anti-ISIS coalition of nations should help construct an international terrorism court, so that ISIS militants can receive a fair trial and their victims can receive justice. (3) The Administration needs international assistance to help in the rehabilitation of ISIS-related children, so that they can eventually be reintegrated into society.
Q: In January, ISIS attempted to rescue thousands of their prisoners from a prison in Hesekê. In what ways is ISIS making a comeback in North and East Syria?
A: Turkey is trying to resurrect ISIS to use them as a proxy against us like they have previously. Since the liberation of Baghouz, we have discovered hundreds of passports held by ISIS fighters with stamps from Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. Turkey should be considered the primary party that is most responsible for organizing, assembling, training, and directing ISIS throughout Syria. We have released many reports with full evidence documenting this issue.
Q: On April 17, the AANES wished all Christians a happy Easter. What are some of the ways that the AANES ensures protection and full rights for Christians in North and East Syria?
A: Guaranteeing the religious rights of all people is a crucial component of our Administration. We affirm that the self-management of all ethnic and religious groups is of primary importance to us, to ensure that all cultures of our community in north and east Syria feel represented and secure. If you go back to the original Social Contract which gives our Administration its mandate from the people, you will see that the rights of Christians are fully protected. To guarantee this we have adopted a democracy which seeks to guard the rights of all geographical areas, all religious groups, and all ethnicities. To accomplish this, we have both elections and agreed upon quotas to make sure all groups are represented and heard, despite their size. No group is excluded from our democracy. We do not allow the majority to suppress the rights of the minority.
Q: Internationalists from around the world recently held their First Internationalist Conference of Rojava and spoke of how they have been inspired by the Rojava Revolution. What are some ways that people around the world can help Rojava and if they want to travel there to help, how can they do that?
A: There are several ways that our international supporters can help. (1) Organize conferences around the world that display the pivotal role that Rojava and its revolution has played in defeating ISIS terrorism and creating gender equality. (2) Support the security and stability of the Autonomous Administration by pushing for all sanctions on the Syrian Regime to be lifted from our areas and encourage nations to form direct economic partnerships with us. (3) Increase the representation of internationals in our region by travelling here and joining in the cultural, civil, and economic work of our project. (4) Putting pressure on Turkey to end its brutal occupation and stop threatening our region. (5) Putting pressure on the Assad Regime to accept a serious dialogue to fully end the war in Syria and establish autonomy in our areas.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here represent those of the interviewee and not necessarily those of the Washington Kurdish Institute
Syrian Kurdish unity talks crumble as Turkey escalates anti-PKK campaign
The breakdown between sides serves Turkey’s agenda of keeping its Kurdish foes divided and weak.
Syrian Kurds demonstrate on June 10, 2021, in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli against the Turkish offensive on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) areas in northern Iraq. – DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images
May 12, 2022
Turkey’s military escalation against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has deepened the gulf between Syrian Kurdish groups and put the kibosh on US-mediated talks that were aimed at forging unity in northeast Syria between the ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD) and an array of opposition parties known as the Kurdish National Council (KNC).
In a series of interviews, each side blamed the other for the hiatus, which serves Turkey’s agenda of keeping its Kurdish foes divided and weak. It also discourages the United States from deeper political engagement in the affairs of Kurdish-led northeast Syria, where an estimated 900 special operations forces are deployed to aid in efforts to prevent the Islamic State from staging a comeback.
The finger-pointing comes amid a spate of arson attacks against KNC offices across the northeast that the latter has blamed on the Revolutionary Youth Movement (Ciwanen Soresger).
The organization sees itself as an enforcer of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan’s ideals and operates on the margins of the autonomous administration in northeast Syria in a gray zone outside its direct control. The KNC says at least eight of its offices, including those of parties operating under its umbrella, were targeted last month alone. PYD officials deny all responsibility, saying investigations into the attacks are ongoing and several suspects have been arrested.
The launching of the attacks coincided with Turkey’s latest offensive against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan called Claw-Lock, which aims to cut off the guerrillas simultaneously from the Turkish and Syrian borders as well as from their main headquarters in Qandil, which abuts Iran.
Salih Muslim, a top-ranking member of the PYD’s presidential council, told Al-Monitor, “We don’t know who these people [attacking KNC offices] are, but there is immense popular anger over Turkey’s attacks and there is a widespread perception that the KNC and their Roj peshmerga (forces) are fighting against the PKK together with the Turkish army.”
Muslim said at least 20 Syrian Kurds fighting within the ranks of the PKK had died in the Claw-Lock campaign so far. “We also hear of wounded Roj peshmerga being treated in [Turkish] hospitals in Hakkari and Yuksekova.”
Muslim repeated his claims from an April 20 interview with Al-Monitor that the autonomous administration had offered to provide security to guard the KNC offices, but that those offers had been spurned.
Sleman Osso, a member of the KNC Presidential Council, who is also secretary of the Yekiti Kurdistan Party-Syria, rebutted Muslim’s account. “The media noise that happened during the last campaign last month — there was a lot of noise from the American side and international bodies. So they tried to give the international community and press the idea that they put guards in front of our offices as if they don’t know who is burning these offices. But we know, and they know, that the Revolutionary Youth are the ones committing these violations,” Osso told Al-Monitor.
“The violations are ongoing from time to time. When there’s pressure on them, the violations stop. Then they feel freer and the violations start up. The goal is to scare Kurdish citizens, the KNC, and push them toward refusing negotiations,” he claimed.
He denied that Roj peshmerga, a Syrian Kurdish force that is linked to the KNC parties and based in Iraqi Kurdistan, were participating in battles against the PKK. “A few days ago, the peshmerga-Roj families in Kobani were summoned and threatened and pressured — asked to pressure their kids to leave the peshmerga,” Osso added without specifying by whom.
The unity talks were initiated by Mazlum Kobane, commander in chief of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the wake of Turkey’s 2019 ground invasion of a swath of territory lying between the northern border towns of Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad. The purpose from his vantage point was threefold. The first was to win broader legitimacy for the autonomous administration; the second to present a common front with the KNC in future talks with Damascus; and the third to weaken Turkish claims that the PKK is in charge of the area, with a view to fending off further attacks and ideally to developing amicable ties mirroring those between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. The latter reason served as an incentive for the US buy-in.
Washington’s own relations with Ankara were in a downward spiral because of continued American support for the SDF, which Turkey claims is also dominated by the PKK. A deal between the SDF and the KNC, which has close ties to the KRG as well as the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition, would help ease tensions, or so Washington believed.
But US policy now looks caught up in its own contradictions, as it silently endorses Turkish moves against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan while apparently hoping that Turkey’s attitudes toward Ocalan-aligned cadres, including Kobane, a former PKK commander, can change. Kobane is on Turkey’s “most wanted” list, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is growing more hawkish by the day.
As things currently stand, the most obvious parallel between Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava (the Kurdish name for the Syrian Kurdish region) are the seemingly endless divisions besetting the main political groups, which play into their greater enemies’ hands.
SDF commander Kobane, however, has cut a very different figure, outgrowing his guerrilla fatigues to emerge as a political leader respected by Syrian Kurds, Arabs and Christians alike — one who is seen as the best guarantee for the continued presence of US forces in Syria.
“We all depended on him at the beginning of the dialogue. I see him now weakened,” said a senior KNC figure who asked not to be identified by name.
“General Mazlum is a highly effective diplomat who is endlessly pragmatic and open to compromise. This not only makes him a leader, it makes him an invaluable partner to the United States,” said an NSC official speaking on background to Al-Monitor.
In fact, the talks did get off to a good start with the PYD making most of the concessions at Kobane’s urging, as previously reported by Al-Monitor. Osso, who is a member of the KNC’s negotiating team, acknowledged that “the reason for the success was that the American side, and the SDF leadership, were serious about pressuring the other side to reach an agreement around a political vision acceptable to all Syrians.”
Sources with close knowledge of the talks said it was the KNC that “got cold feet” with many speculating that they walked away in October 2020 under pressure from Turkey. This was mainly exerted via the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq (KDP), which dominates the KRG and whose forces control the main border crossings between northeast Syria and Iraq through which coalition forces and critical aid are supplied.
It did not help that the KNC insisted that a final agreement should stipulate that the autonomous administration commit to purging all PKK elements from within its ranks.
“Why do we say the PKK and PYD need to be disconnected? Because we know that we can agree with the PYD when the PKK’s dominance of the PYD ends,” said Osso.
The KNC stance fed PKK suspicions that the talks had become a vehicle for its destruction.
Osso claims it was the PKK that sabotaged the talks. “After they noticed there was seriousness in reaching an agreement, at that point, PKK symbols started to [reappear] openly in Kurdish cities and towns. Provocations began in an attempt to tank the talks.”
Despite the setbacks, in June 2021, Kobane and David Brownstein, the State Department’s then resident envoy in northeast Syria, co-signed a document in which the sides committed themselves to continuing to serve as guarantors for the unity talks. (Kobane signed the document as “Mazlum Abdi,” the other name he goes by.)
The document, a copy of which was seen by Al-Monitor, stated that a new round of negotiations “begins from the point at which it stopped.” It also calls for ensuring “the non-repetition of violations against the Kurdish National Council in Syria, including encroaching on or burning its offices, and guarantee the non-arrest of its members for political reasons.” Osso, Muslim and a Biden administration source confirmed the document’s authenticity.
Osso said Kobane and Brownstein “promised to release this document to the media and then begin negotiations again. But the document was not published because of [the PYD’s] continued violations, and the document lost all of its meaning before it was announced to the public.”
The SDF did not respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment.
In breaking their silence, the KNC appears to be drawing on the last and sixth article of the document, which entitles the side to publicly name and blame the other in case of any breaches. Osso said the KNC will not resume the talks unless the document is made public.
The fact that it is even willing to consider doing so points to several things. One may be that the KNC feels increasingly sidelined as the autonomous administration continues to lay the ground for elections in the northeast through a series of consultations with other stakeholders that are meant to culminate in the declaration of a new social compact. Another may be a shift in KRG’s own calculations.
But it’s the PYD that is now dragging its feet. A PYD official called Khabat declared recently that his party had paused the negotiations “because of the KNC support for the occupiers.” He was referring to Turkey. “If the KNC doesn’t stop supporting Erdogan’s [Justice and Development Party] and supporting the occupiers, and opposing Rojava — without stopping those things, the negotiations won’t continue.”
The State Department’s new resident envoy, Matthew Pearl, has met with the sides in a bid to restart the talks but has made little headway. “In the talks, he carries messages from one side to the other. But he has no strategy,” the senior KNC official complained.
In March, a delegation led by the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs with responsibility for the Levant Ethan Goldrich, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq Jen Gavito, and the National Security Council’s Director for Syria and Iraq Zehra Bell traveled to Rojava to meet with Kobane.
“The United States government strongly supports Kurdish unity talks, and we remain in contact with parties on the best way forward to advance intra-Kurdish dialogue, including through our diplomats on the ground in northeast Syria,” a state department spokesperson told Al-Monitor.
“The Department of State condemned attacks on the KNC offices on April 21 and continues to play an active role in addressing grievances by both sides in order to increase stability in the northeast,” the spokesperson said.
Rojava and Şengal are encircled
The KDP is encircling Rojava and Şengal. On the border with Rojava, the number of military bases has been increased from eight to 66. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is building a wall on the border between Şengal and Rojava. % buffered
- ANF / BÊRÎTAN SARYA
- Friday, 29 Apr 2022, 16:22
In the past two years, South Kurdistan’s ruling party KDP has transformed the border with Rojava into a fortress. Under Turkey’s direction, a siege situation has been created against Rojava similar to the one against the Medya Defense Zones. On the 33 kilometers of border between Rojava and South Kurdistan, 66 military bases of the KDP, which collaborates with Turkey, were created. In addition, there are hundreds of military positions. Special units of the KDP are massing armored vehicles in the region and thermal cameras are being installed. However, the bases are not used by the KDP alone, but also simultaneously by the Turkish intelligence service MIT and the Turkish army.
Before the Syrian war, the border between West Kurdistan and the KDP-controlled areas in South Kurdistan extended from Pêşxabûr (Sêmalka) in the tri-border area of Syria, Turkey and Iraq to the village of Şihêla. The area from there to the Rabia (al-Yaroubiya/Til Koçer) border crossing was controlled by the Iraqi army. There were only eight Saddam-era military posts on the border until 2012, which were then taken over by the KDP. With the beginning of the Rojava revolution in 2012, the KDP increased the number of border outposts to around 20. But that was not enough; between April and May 2014, the KDP began digging trenches between southern Kurdistan and the canton of Cizîrê in Rojava.
The Iraqi side of the border was also liberated by YPG and YPJ
With the ISIS attacks on Mosul beginning in June 2014, the Iraqi army withdrew and fled from the entire line, from the Şihêla area on the border with Dêrik to the Rabia border crossing. KDP troops and very few PUK troops were deployed in the area.
When ISIS began its onslaught on the Yazidi town of Şengal on August 3, 2014, the KDP withdrew its 12,000-strong force from this region as well in flight, leaving the Yazidis to face genocide. The area between Şengal, Til Koçer and Rabia was occupied by ISIS. Just like the Iraqi army, the peshmergas also withdrew from this line. The YPG and YPJ, in order to save the Yazidis from genocide, began to open a corridor from Til Koçer to Şengal in a fierce battle with ISIS. By the afternoon of August 3, 2014, the fighters had liberated the villages of Tawis, Kail and Mahmudiyê from ISIS, about 15 kilometers from Rabia. In Rabia, fighting with ISIS continued for a long time. Rabia and the border crossing were completely liberated on September 30, 2014, with the participation of a part of peshmerga from the PUK and KDP.
Rabia was liberated and handed over to the peshmerga
The YPG and YPJ bore the brunt of the liberation of Rabia and therefore controlled a large part of the settlement. However, they retreated across the border into Rojava and handed over the strategically important settlement to the peshmerga. In this way, an 86-kilometer-long border strip from Pêşxabûr to the Rabia crossing came under the control of the peshmerga.
KDP withdrew for the second time
Due to the distribution of territories between the PUK and KDP, the border once again passed completely to the KDP and the PUK withdrew. As part of the KDP-initiated independence referendum, the Iraqi army was mobilized in October 2017 and marched into many disputed areas, including Kirkuk. The KDP left the border strip between Dêrik and Til Koçer and retreated to the village of Mahmudiyê, 15 kilometers from Rabia.
33 kilometers of border under KDP control
From mid-October 2017 until today, the KDP has controlled an area in the Pêşxabûr Triangle near Dêrik to the village of Mahmudiyê near Til Koçer. The borderline between Rojava (Qamişlo region) and Şengal was controlled by Hashd al-Shaabi between 2017 and 2021 and then by the Iraqi police. This border line begins at Derîk and extends to Rabia and from there to near Şengal.
After talks with Turkey
After the KDP’s relations with Turkey deteriorated in connection with the “independence referendum,” the Barzani party attempted to compensate for the discrepancy through hostility toward the PKK, the Rojava revolution and the Kurdish freedom struggle. With regard to border policy toward Rojava, Turkey and the KDP pursued a common approach. After Nechirvan Barzani was summoned to Ankara and held talks with Turkish regime leader Erdoğan and his foreign minister Çavuşoğlu, military bases and observation posts were established along the border with Rojava. New military forts and checkpoints were established in the hills around Pêşxabûr up to the village of Mahmudiyê. Troops and heavy weapons were deployed to these bases. The bases were equipped with technological equipment, including thermal cameras. In particular, the bases of Xanikê and Şilikiyê were upgraded.
Stationing of MIT and KDP Intelligence Service
The MIT and the KDP intelligence service “Parastin” were stationed primarily in the bases of al-Qale and Şilikiyê on the Tigris River. They began interrogating travelers from Rojava to southern Kurdistan, especially members of the Self-Defense Forces. A runway for Turkish reconnaissance aircraft was established on Bêxêr Mountain, which faces the border with Rojava.
Complete encirclement after the Şengal agreement
On October 9, 2020, an agreement was reached between the Iraqi government and the KDP, under the direction of the Turkish state, to dissolve the self-government of Şengal and divide control of the region. The agreement was signed under the supervision of former Dutch Defense Minister and UN Special Rapporteur Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert and had the support of the U.S., British and German governments. As early as December, the KDP again deployed special forces to the border area and increased the size of outposts. In the past two and a half months, three new bases have been established near the village of Mahmudiyê. Together with these outposts, this means that at least 66 bases and hundreds of positions have been established along the 33-kilometer border of the KDP area with West Kurdistan. This means that the border to Rojava is de facto completely sealed off.
Economic embargo prevails
Time and again, the KDP closes the Sêmalka/Pêşxabûr border crossing and practices an embargo against Rojava. After the al-Kadhimi government in Iraq joined the KDP’s and Turkey’s anti-Kurdish policies, the al-Walid border crossing near Şengal was also repeatedly closed. People from Rojava who want to cross the Sêmalka border crossing into South Kurdistan have to apply months in advance and obtain permission from the KDP’s intelligence agency Parastin.
Iraq builds wall
To increase pressure, the Iraqi military began building a wall along the border between Şengal and Rojava in March. The construction was prepared with the laying of barbed wire and the installation of camera towers. The aim is to build a wall 3.75 meters high and 250 kilometers long, which will isolate the Şengal region and make it dependent. Since 2019, the KDP has already tried to encircle the Medya Defense Zones with its special forces and repeatedly laid deadly ambushes against the guerrillas.
Triple encirclement serves Turkish expansionism
The triple cut-off is intended to effectively sever the link between Şengal, Rojava and the Medya Defense Zones. For this purpose, the AKP/MHP regime has enlisted the KDP and the Iraqi government.
AFRIN JIHADIST IN-FIGHTING
Infighting between a number of SNA groups in the Turkish-occupied city of Afrin has left several dead & more injured. Clashes between Mu’tasim Billah & the 9th Division left 2 militia members of the former group dead & 10 others wounded.
Concurrent clashes also occurred between al-Jabhat al-Shamiyah & the 51st Division. Turkey has reportedly closed its borders to members of the SNA, particularly of al-Jabhat al-Shamiyah.
U.S., Russia Allies Witness Friction in Northeast Syria
Friday March 4th, 2022 by ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (London-based pan-Arab)
Clashes between the Syrian regime and the SDF occurred in al-Hassakeh, according to Asharq al-Awsat.
Syrian government forces used automatic weapons to attack a military checkpoint in the village of Kozliya in the northern countryside of al-Hassakeh governorate. The outpost was run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is backed by the Washington-led International Coalition.
The attack resulted in the death of a government officer and soldier and two SDF fighters.
“Damascus has launched a provocative attack against the SDF in the vicinity of Kozliya, which is located west of Tal Tamar,” said a commander in the Tal Tamar Military Council which operates under SDF rule.
“Our forces immediately responded to this attack, as a result of which two of our fighters were martyred and another was wounded, while two soldiers from the regime forces were killed, and two others were wounded,” revealed the commander who requested anonymity.
The clashes that took place on Tuesday resulted in four deaths, including an officer with the rank of first lieutenant.
The commander indicated that the command of the forces “is following up the investigation to clarify the cause of this serious incident, and based on the results of the investigations, necessary action will be taken.”
The official SANA news agency said that a “patrol of U.S. forces accompanied by members of the SDF militia tried to penetrate points controlled by the Syrian army” in the Hassakeh governorate.
It did not mention whether there were victims but said the SDF attacked after soldiers blocked the patrol’s passage.
The SDF confirmed the toll in a statement. It did not mention the presence of U.S. personnel and called the incident “a dangerous provocation by the Syrian regime.”
The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions more since it began with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011.
It quickly spiraled into a complex conflict that pulled in numerous actors, including jihadist groups and foreign powers.
Russia intervened militarily in Syria more than six years ago to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.
Neighboring Turkey views some Syrian Kurdish fighters as “terrorists” and has launched several operations against them.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.
HRW calls on SDF to ensure humane treatment of Hasaka prison detainees
Also in Syria
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The New York-based rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday voiced major concern about the fate of recaptured Islamic State (ISIS) detainees following the Hasaka prison siege around two weeks ago.
Five days since the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced complete control over the al-Sina’a prison in Hasaka, northeast Syria (Rojava), HRW expressed concern over a lack of transparency from the Kurdish-led force over the fate of the detainees and their whereabouts in the aftermath of the assault, and has called on the force to permit international humanitarian groups to visit the detainees and provide them with care.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces began evacuating men and boys from the besieged prison days ago, yet the world still has no idea how many are alive or dead,” Letta Tayler, Associate Director of the Crisis and Conflict Division at HRW said in a statement published on Friday.
Tayler added that, “the detaining authorities in northeast Syria should end their silence on the fate of these detainees, including hundreds of children who were victims of ISIS.”
Sources have told HRW that the detainees are being held in a new, more secure, UK-funded prison facility near al-Sina’a.
Siyamend Ali, head of media for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a core component of the SDF, told HRW that “everyone is in safe places,” and “they received good care.”
The SDF accused ISIS of using the detained boys as human shields, adding that measures were taken to ensure their safety as the Kurdish force advanced deeper into the facility.
ISIS attempted to break thousands of its affiliates and members out of al-Sina’a prison, known to locals as Ghweran prison. The SDF arrested 26 people who were “active in smuggling and transferring detainees out of Ghweran prison,” it said in a tweet on Sunday.
On Monday, the SDF raised the death toll from the brazen prison break attempt to 495 people, with 121 SDF fighters, prison guards, and civilians, as well as 374 ISIS members.
According to the rights organization, the now-defunct prison facility in Hasaka housed around 4,000 male ISIS suspects, including 700 boys, most from Syria and Iraq and the rest from dozens of other countries.
SDF officials have placed the figure at around 5,000 prisoners.
The Kurdish force last week called on the international community to accelerate repatriation efforts of their ISIS-affiliated nationals.
On Thursday, the Netherlands repatriated five Dutch women and eleven children from Roj camp, which holds thousands of suspected ISIS-affiliated members and their families. Tayler welcomed the news, commenting that, “16 more Dutch home; many more to go. As Netherlands demonstrates, adults can be prosecuted upon return.”
By Julian Bechocha
Four years of horror: Why & how Turkey occupied Afrin
NEWS 23 Jan 2022, Sun – 08:53 2022-01-23T
By Dr. Thoreau Redcrow
As we reach the four-year anniversary of Turkey’s sadistic occupation of Afrin in Rojava, it is helpful to look back at how this terrifying reality came to be. Not only is the state of Turkey illegally establishing their own terrorist vilayets throughout northern Syria, which feature every human rights abuse the mind can conjure up, but they are doing so as a NATO member and with the acquiescence of Western states who claim to be fighting a “war on terror” against the very thing which Turkey represents. And since it is in the Kurdish city of Afrin where Turkey’s sociopathic barbarism and pathological hatred of Kurds is most on display, this open-air crime scene is a helpful case study. As if you want to diagnose an illness, you must first understand its symptoms.
Why Turkey invaded Afrin
The city and lush mountainous area around Afrin has been a Kurdish cultural hub for more than a millennia. Over the centuries, Afrin developed as the center of a distinctive Sufi “Kurdish Islam”, which was less conservative, and more secularly tolerant than surrounding regions. In fact, Afrin has always had the fewest mosques of any place in Syria and its inhabitants were typically not strict adherents to religious conventions. Consequently, vibrant Yazidi, Alevi, and Christian communities historically thrived there as well. This embedded culture of accepting diversity was rooted all the way into the present, when Afrin became a welcoming haven for refugees fleeing the violence throughout Syria’s Civil War.
In the spring of 2012, the Syrian Government pulled out of Afrin, which laid the foundation for what would later become the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) to take over in January of 2014. From 2014, until Turkey’s military invasion in January of 2018, Afrin blossomed into a flourishing and peaceful Canton of around 700,000 people. Because of the lack of sectarian tensions and area’s reputation for being accepting of cultural and religious differences, around 400,000 refugees and IDPs of all ethnicities within Syria escaped to Afrin. As such, although Afrin was a majority Kurdish city and Canton, it was also home to Arabs, Assyrians, and Turkmen.
Unfortunately, the harmonious social fabric that was being constructed in Afrin was seen as an existential threat by the Turkish regime of Tayyip Erdogan across the border, for two reasons. For starters, it showed that the Kurdish-led Democratic Confederalist experiment taking place throughout Rojava / northern Syria was a viable model for the entire Middle East region. And, secondly, this progressive-minded philosophy was a direct rebuke of the ultra-conservative and nationalist AKP & MHP alliance of Erdogan’s coalition, which was centered around Turkish ethnic chauvinism against Kurds and a fascistic re-interpretation of Salafi Islam, that was embodied by groups such as ISIS and other radical jihadist proxies—who by 2018 were the only allies Turkey had left in Syria.
Thus, Erdogan decided that he would use the Turkish military alongside a coalition of Islamist jihadists to invade, encircle, destroy, ethnically cleanse, and occupy the Canton of Afrin in January of 2018—with the goal of establishing a semi-annexed Turkified quasi-colony, with outside settlers who were indebted and thus loyal to his regime.
How Turkey invaded Afrin
The Turkish invasion was cynically carried out under the pretext of protecting its national security from the local forces in Afrin. However, the Turkish Government never provided evidence about the existence of any threats to its national security from Afrin, as none had occurred. Nevertheless, because Ankara was averse to risking the lives of their own soldiers, they contracted out Afrin’s invasion to a coalition of radical Islamist groups numbering upwards of 25,000 – that were trained, armed, and paid by Turkey. These groups included various jihadist militants such as Ahrar al-Sham, the Sham Legion, and ex-ISIS fighters—as was reported by The Independent. Behind them were around 6,400 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and members of the neo-fascist Grey Wolves from Turkey, who relied mostly on artillery shelling, a relentless bombing campaign from Turkish jets—since Afrin had no anti-aircraft defenses—and heavy armor salvoes, since Afrin’s defenders also lacked tanks.
Turkey’s illegal military invasion of Afrin—which was absurdly named “Operation Olive Branch”—officially began on January 20, 2018, and was a flagrant violation of international law, i.e. attacking the territory of a sovereign state without the authorization of the official authorities. To achieve victory, Turkey’s military deliberately targeted densely populated cities and towns, killing around 500 innocent civilians, including women, children, and the elderly in the first weeks. Turkey also indiscriminately shot refugees fleeing from conflict areas and used chemical gas to attack Kurdish resistance fighters. In doing so, Turkey and its affiliated Islamist extremist groups breached the Geneva Conventions and committed a litany of war crimes—as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The ideological motivations of Turkey’s invading force was soon evidently clear, as the jihadists who comprised the vast majority of ground troops viewed the Kurdish population of Afrin as “atheists” deserving of death. This was portrayed in a series of videos where the Turkish proxies threatened to cut off the heads of Kurds who they described as “infidels”; or another where several international Islamists sung praises of previous battles where they had fought, including Tora Bora (the former headquarters of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan), Grozny in Chechnya, and Dagestan in Russia. This aforementioned video was concluded by them declaring “And now Afrin is calling to us”.
Then as the fighting began, several videos soon emerged showing Turkish-backed militants mutilating and posing for selfies with the bodies of Kurdish YPJ women fighters, with one in particular portraying a young woman codenamed Barin Kobani, who had her breasts cut off – followed by chants of “God is great”. With such heinous beliefs as their driving force and coupled with overwhelming military superiority, Turkey’s military would encircle and fully occupy Afrin after sixty-three days of bombardment.
During those attacks a number of credible observers would warn of Turkey’s abuses, such as The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who cautioned, “In the city of Afrin, which was captured by Turkish forces yesterday, scores of civilians have been killed and injured due to airstrikes, ground-based strikes, and explosive hazards, and thousands have been displaced.” This matched the diagnosis of Human Rights Watch (HRW), which criticized Turkey for having, “failed to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties” during the offensive, with HRW’s deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih opining how, “It appears that vulnerable civilians are facing displacement and death because of the way Turkey’s latest offensive is being conducted.”
What Turkey has done since occupying Afrin
Turkey’s occupation of Afrin and its surrounding 282 towns and villages officially began on March 25, 2018, and the brutal policies and actions of their subjugation in the four years since have turned this once thriving oasis of ethnic and religious solidarity, into a dystopian nightmare where over 300,000 mostly-Kurds have been displaced.
The oppression was foreshadowed from the moment the city fell under Turkish control, as the first action of the invading Islamist forces was to destroy Afrin’s statue of the mythical Kurdish figure Kawa the Blacksmith, which is central to the Kurd’s Newroz (New Year) festival, and according to legend symbolizes the struggle for freedom against tyranny. Fittingly, from that day forward, Erdogan’s regime, the Turkish Army, and their allied militant proxies have carried out a systematic campaign of unrelenting state terrorism.
As I previously noted in my September 2019 speech before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Afrin’s Kurdish population are suffering social oppression, economic robbery, and cultural annihilation.
Socially, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering arbitrary arrest, assaults, torture, rapes, human trafficking, sexual enslavement, assassinations, enforced disappearances at checkpoints, late-night abductions by criminal gangs, burning down of their villages, and neighborhood demolition to build walls around the city.
Economically, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering looting of stores, seizure of homes, stealing of cars, pillaging of livestock, confiscation of land, forced sharia taxes, extortion of businesses, over 5,000 kidnappings for ransom, deliberate arson of over 11,000 hectares of forest, and the systematic theft of Afrin’s olive oil industry – which is then illegally sold in Europe.
Culturally, the Kurds of Afrin are suffering demographic ethnic cleansing, Turkification of the education system and street names, destruction of Kurdish cultural monuments, vandalism of tombs, pillaging of grave sites, desecration of Alevi and Yazidi holy shrines, cutting down of sacred ribbon trees, and the archaeological excavation and smuggling of over 16,000 historical artifacts – which are then illegally sold to museums in Turkey.
On other occasions, Afrin’s residents are threatened by gangs of “brokers” into obligatory land sales at set prices, which are supervised by MIT Turkish intelligence with the goal of transferring legal ownership to new settlers. Meanwhile, the largest and most luxurious homes are often commandeered by mercenaries under the pretext of turning them into military headquarters or torture chambers, as SDC US representative Sinam Sherkany has written about with regards to her own family home.
Moreover, a 2019 report to the High Commissioner’s Office of the United Nations Human Rights Council noted how, “The victims of abductions by armed groups and/or criminal gangs were often of Kurdish origin, as well as civilians perceived as being prosperous, including doctors, businesspersons and merchants”, while also noting how, “young men arrested on suspicion of being affiliated with Kurdish structures were forced to pay a fine of $400 in order to be released.”
The motivations for all these actions are: terrorizing Kurdish residents to incentivize them to leave in order to accelerate resettlement plans, accruing financial gain to pay off Turkey’s many radical Islamist militias who are motivated by state-sanctioned “jihad”, and obliterating Kurdish cultural identity and archaeological multi-ethnicity to enable a Turkification strategy for a de-facto annexation of Afrin.
With regards to resettlement and population transfers, from the start of Afrin’s occupation the Turkish Army and its allied militants began emptying all Kurdish villages with the goal of bringing in loyal Arab outsiders from other parts of Syria. At least half of these mercenary families numbering over 40,000 were brought to Afrin from eastern Ghouta, eastern Qalamoun, and southern Damascus, and have connections to jihadist factions such as the Al Rahman Legion and the Army of Islam. In other instances, families from Idlib, belonging to the al-Nusra Front and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have been resettled in Afrin, while families from other Turkish-occupied Syrian cities such as Azaz, al-Bab, and Jarablus were given abandoned villages that persecuted Yazidis were forced to flee from. In many of these instances, markings were painted on the outside of stolen homes, which was reminiscent of what ISIS did to the Christians of Raqqa and Mosul.
With regards to funding Turkey’s state-sanctioned “jihad”, at the onset of Afrin’s assault, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (aka Diyanet) called all mosques in Turkey to read The Quran’s chapter 48 on conquest (Al-Fath) and asked that all Muslims pray for invading Turkish soldiers. Fatwas were then issued by the Istanbul-based Syrian Islamic Council supporting various war crimes, such as one in February of 2018, defending the looting of private property as “jihad for the sake of Allah” and merely the “spoils of war”; and ones in May and June of 2018, which describe the mostly-Kurdish PYD as “spiteful”, “secular”, “corrupt”, and “deviant”—thereby justifying a range of mistreatment and theft in relation to them.
Turkey’s Diyanet is also overseeing a coordinated effort to impose Sharia law and strict Islamic dress (veil) on women, similar to what ISIS did, while destroying ancient religious Alevi and Yazidi shrines and replacing them with private mosques—as the first step to forced conversions. At one point it became so egregious that a retired Turkish General himself spoke out, decrying afterwards how, “It is as if we are preparing the region for militant jihadists [like ISIS], and my colleagues who served in the area suffer from the moral humiliation of the way the operation evolved.”
With regards to Yazidis—who ISIS tried to eradicate themselves through genocide—their shrines named after Barsa Khatum, Jil Khaneh, King Adi, and Qara Jerneh, plus Sheikhs Hamid, Gahrib, Barakat, and Manan, have all been destroyed under Turkey’s occupation; while the Yazidi villages of Qastel Jindo, Alqino, Bafalon, Sinka, Qatma, Basoufan, Ghazawiyeh, Iska, Arsh Qibar, Ishkan Sharqi, Shih Al Dir, and Ain Dara have been completely uprooted and emptied.
As for Alevis, the shrines at Yagmur Dada, Ali Dada and Aslan Dada in the Bulbul district were looted and destroyed. In both cases of Yazidis and Alevis, gravesites were vandalized and destroyed, because authorities said they violated a new law requiring a lower height, which mimics the legal justifications that ISIS used against idolatry as well. The discrimination and desecration has even extended to the sacred perennial trees in many villages where Alevis tie little ribbons to and make wishes, which Turkey’s Islamists have cut down as a result.
Turkey’s desecration extends to the archaeological realm as well, which began during the invasion when Turkish airstrikes destroyed many ancient buildings including the Julianus Church—which is one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries in the world, the famous Iron-Age Ain Dara Temple, the Syriac Maronite tomb of Saint Maron, and site of Brad (which were UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Less notable Roman-Era Byzantine monasteries and cemeteries were also destroyed, ostensibly because they pre-dated Islam to the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE.
This practice coincides with how Turkey has pillaged through 35 historical mounds in various parts of Afrin including Ereb Shexo, El-Didriye, Zivinge, Ibedan, Sewan, Qurbe, Ster, En Hecere, Kefer Rume, Cumke, Sindiyange, Durumiye and Meydanke. In these situations the grave areas are bulldozed and exhumed in search of gold and precious objects. Politically, Turkey also destroyed the shrine dedicated to the Kurdish revolutionary and writer Mehmet Nuri Dersimi (1893-1973) alongside his wife Farida, showing the ethnic connection to such symbolic defilements.
Lastly, with regards to Ankara’s Turkification strategy, the claim of them liberating “Syrian” territory was called into question from the first moment of conquest in Afrin, when the Turkish military raised the Turkish flag over government buildings and not the flag of their so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The Turkish state then began forcing schoolchildren to carry the Turkish flag in propaganda videos, while praising pictures of Erdogan. This was followed up by changing the official names of places from Kurdish into Turkish, banning the Kurdish language, issuing Turkish ID and temporary residence cards, and appointing a Wali (Custodian) and Qaim Maqam (Governor) in Afrin and linking it to the Turkish province of Antakya.
All of these point to the unfortunate reality that the Turkish state has no intention of ever leaving Afrin, as they intend to permanently occupy it, similar to how they have Hatay (Liwa Iskenderun) since 1939 and northern Cyprus since 1974. Which is all the more reason why the international community must stand up now and demand that Turkey leave Afrin and all the other areas of Syria they have terrorized and seized.
SDF operation continues after ISIS prison attack in Heseke
The circle around ISIS has tightened as the operation against members of the mercenary organization continues in Hesekê after an attack and mass outbreak attempt at Sina prison.
ANF HESEKÊ Saturday, 22 Jan 2022, 13:56
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which had arrived in the evening to provide support, sealed off the neighbourhood and the area around Sina prison with a wide security corridor. After the attack, the SDF and Asayish maintained control around the prison. The SDF announced on Friday that 89 mercenaries who tried to escape from prison have been captured.
Sporadic clashes continue in the Ghweiran neighborhood between the Asayish, SDF and the ISIS mercenaries. The siege around the group has been tightened and particular attention is paid to civilian safety in the ongoing operation.
According to reports from the ground, many ISIS members have been killed and another group has been captured. The international anti-ISIS Coalition jets and helicopters have carried out strikes in the area since yesterday.
In the meantime, the General Command of North-East Syrian Internal Security Forces released a statement on Saturday, saying that they have foiled the attacks with the support of the Syrian Democratic Forces and a number of terrorists have been captured. In addition, a search operation has been launched for the mercenaries hiding in the neighborhoods around the prison.
“7 of our members were injured and our comrade Xalid Ilêwî martyred during the events. Three civilians who did not allow ISIS mercenaries to enter the neighborhood have also fallen as martyrs,” said the statement.
The statement by Internal Security Forces added, “Our forces have completely encircled the Ghweiran neighborhood. The operations launched to capture the mercenaries in the neighborhood continue unabated. We promise to follow in the footsteps of our martyrs to ensure security in the entire region.”
YPG International: With the spirit of the resistance of Afrin, against all occupation in Rojava
The YPG international released a statement to pay tribute to the resistance of Afrin and the fallen fighters, including international martyrs Şehîd Hêlîn Qerecox, Şehîd Kendal Breizh, Şehîd Baran Galicia, Şehîd Şahîn Huseynî.
- NEWS DESK
- Thursday, 20 Jan 2022, 10:31
Today is the fourth anniversary of the day the Turkish state launched its invasion of Afrin (Efrîn). The YPG International released a statement and paid tribute to the resistance of Afrin and the fallen fighters, including international martyrs, Şehîd Hêlîn Qerecox, Şehîd Kendal Breizh, Şehîd Baran Galicia, Şehîd Şahîn Huseynî.
The statement reminds that Afrin is “a region which local comrades call ‘the heart of the revolution’. Together with its jihadist mercenaries (many affiliated with Daesh or Al Qaeda) the Turkish army began its campaign of terror and occupation against the people of Efrîn and the democratic revolution being built by the people of Rojava. For two months the brave fighters of the Women’s protection units (YPJ) and the people’s protection units (YPG) defended the freedom of their homeland with an immense resistance.
Shoulder to shoulder with the people of Efrîn were our Internationalist comrades, participating in the defence against the fascist attacks. The hope which the revolution in Rojava represents makes the building of a truly free society worth all sacrifices. A revolution in which genuine democracy, ecology and the liberation of women are the foundations which our comrades strive towards. As internationalists, we join in the struggle against fascism and for an alternative way of life to capitalist modernity.”
The statement added: “YPG International has been present since the war of liberation against Daesh and the aggression of the Turkish state and its Islamic gangs. We continue to defend Rojava against all threats and play our role in the growth and success of the revolution. Shining examples and sources of constant inspiration are the comrades who gave their lives in the defence of Efrîn. Our international martyrs, Şehîd Hêlîn Qerecox, Şehîd Kendal Breizh, Şehîd Baran Galicia, Şehîd Şahîn Huseynî are amongst the many brave comrades who sacrificed everything. Their willingness to fight far from home against a ruthless and highly equipped enemy for our common ideals is still today, four years later, a huge source of motivation for all comrades here in Rojava, and abroad. We follow the path that our martyrs have paved for us; continuing our struggle is the way in which we remember and honour our fallen friends.”
The statement continued: “Now, after four years of occupation by the Fascist Turkish state and its jihadist gangs, the people of Efrîn still face atrocities on a daily basis. A system of ethnic cleansing of the region is being carried out, alongside disappearances, tortures, rapes, and the destruction of the graveyards of our martyrs. The Fascist Turkish state acts as a colonising power, forbidding and destroying the Kurdish culture, plundering resources, displacing the local population, and politically and economically annexing the region. Despite acknowledging the crimes against humanity being carried out by the occupiers, the international state community refuses to act. With new threats of invasion from the Fascist Turkish state, the freedom of Rojava is once again in danger today.”
This is why, said the statement, “we as an internationalist force place our trust and effort in solidarity and comradeship from people across the globe to assist in our fight, whether that means coming and joining the struggle here in Rojava, or supporting it from afar – there are many frontlines in the fight for a free society. The revolution in Rojava represents more than just the freedom of North and Eastern Syria, but is an example of hope and inspiration for all oppressed and exploited people across the world. All comrades of YPG International are dedicated to put action behind our words, and will remain a fighting force to defend the revolution from fascist attacks in all its spheres. Whilst the states do not act when confronted with the crimes in Efrîn, it is the people of the world who take action, sacrifice their lives, and make a difference in the defence of freedom.”
The statement concluded: “The anniversary of the war on Efrîn is for us once more a reminder of what misery and pain such an occupation brings to the people. We especially also remember and seek strength from our fallen friends – as we say in Kurdish, Şehîd namirin (Martyrs never die). As YPG International we make a promise to the people of North and Eastern Syria and to all of our comrades across the globe – We will defend the success of the Rojava revolution at all costs.”
Northwest Syria witnesses shelling between government and opposition
IDLIB, Syria (North Press) – The de-escalation areas in northwest Syria witnessed military escalation and exchange of shelling between the Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed opposition factions on Sunday.
The opposition factions’ sites in the villages of al-Enkawi, Qalidin, al-Daqmaq, al-Hamidiya and Khirbat al-Naqus in the Ghab Plain, west of Hama, were bombed by the heavy artillery shelling and missiles of the government forces ,North Press reported military sources of the opposition.
“The opposition sites in the villages and towns of Fatterah, Kafr Oweid, Sfuhen, Kansafra and Fleifel in the Zawiya Mountain area, south of Idlib, were bombed. The government bombardment also hit the opposition’ sites in the area near al-Kabina in Jabal al-Akrad, north of Latakia,” the sources added.
The bombing coincided with intense flight of Russian reconnaissance planes over the region, according to the same sources.
“The opposition factions announced targeting the Syrian government forces’ sites near Khan al-Sabil ,southeast of Idlib. The Syrian government forces’ sites in Jabal Abu Ali, north of Lattakia, were also hit with while mortar shells by the opposition factions ” according to the sources.
For about a week, separate areas in northwest Syria have witnessed military escalation, which left dead and wounded from both sides.
Although the de-escalation zone in northwest Syria is subject to a Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement signed in March 2020, the area witnesses frequent mutual bombardment despite the entry of the ceasefire into force.
Reporting by Bara’ al-Shami
YPJ General Command issues message for New Year
The YPJ General Command said in its New Year’s message that they are ready to fulfil all their responsibilities “for a free and dignified life”.
- NEWS DESK
- Saturday, 1 Jan 2022, 09:52
The YPJ (Women Protection Units) General Command said in its New Year’s message that they are ready to fulfil all their responsibilities “for a free and dignified life”.
The YPJ General Command especially called on women to organize and build their self-defense forces.
The message said: “We will fight for the freedom of women and society to be guaranteed, whatever the cost.”
The message added:
“In 2021, occupation and all kinds of enemy attacks continued uninterruptedly in Northern and Eastern Syria. Many valuable patriots lost their lives in these attacks. Likewise, our esteemed commander Sosin Bîrhat and other comrades fell as martyrs. But thanks to our esteemed martyrs, the resistance, the will of our people, and the self-sacrificing spirit of our freedom fighters, the enemy’s plans will not achieve their goal. With this in mind, we commemorate our martyrs with respect and renew our promise that we will follow their path. Again, we salute the work and sacrifice of our people led by women.
In addition, in 2021, especially in the Middle East and all over the world, women were subjected to all kinds of oppression, violence, massacre, rape and other attacks. The male-dominated system has turned women’s lives into hell with such violence against women. Women all over the world have stood up to these attacks and have demonstrated unparalleled resistance. Women in Northern and Eastern Syria, especially Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians, fought relentlessly against the invasion attacks and the patriarchal mentality.”
The statement continued: “Women all over the world need to build a legitimate defense system in order to be able to wage a permanent struggle against the understanding of power and the occupying fascist system. Now we call women freedom time. Women now have an organization and an army. The reality of the revolution in Northern and Eastern Syria has shown that women can lead a democratic and free society.
Our self-defense system has reached a level thanks to the heroism of thousands of martyrs, creating great hope for all women in the region and the world. From today on, whatever the cost, we are ready to fight for a free and dignified life for free women and society, and we will fulfil our responsibilities.
We call on women whose hearts beat for freedom to organize themselves and build their self-defense forces.
In 2022, we celebrate the new year of all humanity and working women and say JIN JYAN AZADI.”