Polat Can of YPG Appeals for an Humanitarian Intervention for Kobane

Kurdish Woman Kobane

Mr.  Polat Can, the US and coalition countries started to strike ISIS in Syria a few days ago. What effect did these attacks have on Kobanê which faces a grave danger?


Polat Can: For a few days now, ISIS has stopped its attacks in other regions and has directed all its forces towards Kobanê alone, for an all-out attack. There are no ISIS attacks against the regime or in any other city. ISIS is attacking Kobanê with forces gathered from many cities, Raqqa, Til Hamis, Minbij, Jarablus and many other cities. YPG has been putting up a very dignified resistance against heavy weapons, tanks and artillery for ten days now. Even though ISIS is cracking in front of this resistance and resolve, it is a known fact that its force in terms of military weapons and artillery is very big. We have been resisting to slow down ISIS and block its entry into Kobanê for a long time. Now we want to stop them, but the force confronting us is very big. Because of this, practically an intervention must take place right away and forces making war on ISIS must help us.

Who do you want this help from? There is a lot of misinformation/disinformation. While many people say that the US has attacked ISIS in Kobanê region, your spokesman Rêdûr Xelîl said there were no attacks a few hours ago. What will you say on this topic?


Polat Can: I am underlining this; until this minute no U.S. or other coalition country attack against ISIS has taken place in Kobanê region. It is true that a few planes have flown, but as of yet it is not even clear whose planes they are. They can Turkey’s or Syrian regime’s planes too. When we talk about help, we are not talking about helping YPG, we are talking about helping Kurdish people. No help has been made to the people of Kobanê who are under death risk, who are confronted with a recurrence of what happened in Sinjar, Iraq.

What is the reason for this? How is it possible that these countries which formed a coalition against ISIS, can be so indifferent when civilian lives are in such grave danger?

 Polat Cano

Polat Can: We, too, are trying to find an answer to this question. But they, also, should look for answers to some questions. Are Kurds’ lives so cheap? Are the lives of 600 thousand Kurds in Kobanê, who are faced with the threat of massacre, so cheap? Do some states speaking on the basis of various political interests and Kurdish parties that have various political disagreements consider Kurds’ lives very cheap? If they will not help the Kurdish people in these most dangerous times then they should not say we are against ISIS, we are against terrorism.


That is, some Kurdish parties oppose the US and coalition attacking ISIS, is this what you mean?


Polat Can: Yes that is exactly what I mean. If they continue this attitude we will make public the names of those Kurdish parties, too. Based on information we received in some contacts we established, we know that some Kurdish parties wish to prevent US attacks against ISIS.

Why would a Kurdish party prevent these attacks and bring about the deaths of thousands of Kurds?

Polat Can: Because despite these difficult times, some groups think of their petty interests instead of the people. This is an opportunity for them. They say now is the right time; they think we are getting closer and closer to defeat and they are driving bargains to realize their own wishes in the aftermath. Such a position is not compatible with the qualities attached to being human or being a Kurd. All parties without exception should stand beside the Kurdish people in these difficult times. I can say that these parties I am talking about have not provided YPG a single bullet for help. Let no one claim that we did not ask for help, we are calling out to all Kurds.

Do these parties you are talking about realize how dangerous the situation is?

Polat Can: They know that the situation is dangerous better than you and me.


What will you say about the media? Some news is published without confirmation and it is continuously reported that the situation in Kobanê is good. What do you have to say about this?


Polat Can: We have been under conditions of uninterrupted fighting for some days so we did not have the chance to follow the media. We do not want our people to lose hope but the situation is bad. Everyone should know that together with the Kobanê youth who are arriving from all around for support, we will resist to the last drop of blood. If necessary, we will make Kobanê a new instance of the Resistance in Stalingrad.

Going back to the topic of media, we experience problems with countries we are in contact with because of some media that report the situation is very good. We say something, but they don’t listen to us and they write different things.

 Is it possible that wrong statements and reports can have to do with not being informed about what is going on in the war front? Because sometimes international bodies make statements based on what officials say.

Polat Can: Yes, wrong news and statements have very bad impact on us. For example yesterday, everyone talked and wrote about US planes attacking ISIS in Kobanê; but we are hundred per cent sure that no attack has taken place. Let alone attacking, there still is no decision for a US attack on ISIS in Kobanê.

What should the Kurds do to draw world public’s attention to Kobanê?

Polat Can: First of the whole world should know that we saved our 250 thousand Ezidi people in Sinjar from a huge massacre by our own limited means and at the cost of many martyrs. And we are resisting in Kobanê in spite of the embargo that has been going on for approximately two years. ISIS and its supporters see and know this well and that is why they kept attacking Kobanê continuously to fully incapacitate us here. For this reason, it is necessary to organize actions that can be effective, simple press conferences, sit-ins are not enough.

Vast public opinion should be mobilized, massive pressure should be made for (military action to put an end to the danger of massacre and disproportionate murderous attacks as well as humanitarian intervention to prevent massacre of tens of thousands of civilians. I’m saying leave aside helping YPG, I’m saying they should do something for hundreds of thousands of people from Kobanê who are faced with the danger of massacre.

The US and coalition countries may be targeting ISIS, may have started attacks but they are not organizing attacks on the most dangerous positions. They attacked Til Abyad but they did not target those positions in Kobanê region where tens of ISIS tanks have lined up. Our people all over the world should mobilize immense public pressure for this.

In New York, a conference against terror has been going on for two days. Did anyone say anything about Kobanê in this conference, what sort of a resolution was made about Kobanê? If nothing is done about Kobanê, it means all these conferences, talks, coalitions are pointless!

What is the role of Turkey in all these events?

Polat Can: Turkey has in the outcome taken a bad role and is playing this role. As you have followed, we, as YPG, as Rojava Kurds wish to establish good relations with Turkey. We had been acting on the basis of never having any problems with Turkey on the border. But it is a fact everyone has come to know lately that Turkey supports ISIS. There is a bargain; ISIS will come and invade Kobanê, then it will seize other cities of Rojava and then Turkish soldiers will be deployed in these regions and a buffer zone will be created. This is Turkey’s plan. In fact, as a result of the help Turkey provided for ISIS, ISIS released the Turkish hostages it had been holding. This dirty bargain is being carried out over Kobanê.

I am calling out to human rights organizations, to grassroots and non-governmental organizations. If they do not help now, it can be too late later on. True, YPG is resisting with its limited means, light arms but YPG is no Superman, no divine power. They must act at once.


Translated into English by Ayse Berktay @ayseberktay