General Commander of YPG Hemo: What is Happening in Syria is Like a Third World War


People’s Defense Units, known by YPG too, established a military force in the last four years, where the number of its fighters reached to 50,000. The nucleus formation began in the Jazita region with the end of 2011, where it was able to achieve victories against “Islamic State” as well as its clashes with the regime forces, Jabhat al- Nusra (al- Qaeda in Levant) and Islamist factions in successive periods. Its military formations have distributed in three main region where the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is combined with People’s Defense Units (YPG) within the Democratic Society System, declared the establishment of 3 cantons: Jazira, Efrin and Kobani in the late January 2014.

YPG has gained world-wide fame during IS attack on Kobani and seizing more than 356 towns, villages and farms that guided to the military alliance between YPG and US-led coalition. SOHR could interview the general commander of YPG Sipan Hemo, where the main points on the Kurdish and Syrian arena in general.

First, how do identify YPG?

The best definition of it is its name People’s Defense Units, its fundamental pillar is the young Syrian Kurdish men who are militarily disciplined, while its mission is to protect the people in Rojava in all its constituents under these deadly mess in the cantons of Rojava. Rojava is an expression for the regions inhabited mostly by Kurdish people in Syria.

Is it faction from the guerilla forces – the military wing of PKK, and does it fight on Turkish territories with the PKK?

YPG is a military force belongs to the Democratic Self- Management in Rojava, and it is fighting in fierce battles to protect its regions, so YPG has no interest to open a front with Turkey expanding to hundreds of kilo meters, this is a military suicide, and what is said on the contrary of this is meaningless and does not merit a response.

What is your response to the accusations of recruiting children?

We have issued a lot of statement in response to these allegations but it seems that some people insist on repeating this just to defame the good reputation gained by YPG, we all know who recruit children as fighters and suicide bombers by the name of Jihad.

What is the relationship between the Self- Defense Forces, which was announced some time ago, and YPG? Is it an attempt to increase YPG personnel obligatorily? Is it a permanent or temporary step?

The Self- Defense is a step to organize a permanent protection, where the society in all its constituents protects its self, and to that time YPG stays, the most experienced in defending our areas. For this reason, the Self- Defense is a goal we seek to reach to, and its first step was YPG.

Now, let talk about the hottest event, what is the story behind the last clashes in al- Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo?

To answer this question, we have to see the whole picture, provocations have started by attacking our areas in the villages of Derbalout and Diwan as well as kidnapping civilians and banditry; the last one was the attempt of arm-twisting by their attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud believing that it is the weakest link because it is far from the center of gravity Efrin and due to the difficulties of ensuring logistic support, as the neighborhood besieged for more than a week and the humanitarian situation there is so bad specially because the neighborhood is inhabited by more than 250000 civilians from all society constituents.

We also draw attention to the point that the national members in the opposition were disturbed about this attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud, I, in turn, wondered and would you like you to wonder like me, who benefit from this attack? And who benefit from opening a front against the Kurds? What is the advantages?

Simply, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Soltan Morad Brigade and Ahrar al- Sham Movement are agents for another force in fighting Kurds, and this force or the third party gave them the orders to open this front.

What is the prospect of the battle in Aleppo, is it a defensive or offensive measure?

From our side, the battle is defensive; we respond to the sources of fire and protect the outskirt of the neighborhood. But if the same situation continue surely we are going take more stringent measures, and we are going to change the battle into the offensive position, I do not say that we are going to control more areas but I assure that we are going to hurt them and targeting their held areas.

Do you think that Ahrar al- Sham, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Zinki and other factions may alley themselves to attack Efrin?

Jabhat al- Nusra believe in Bay’ah (in Islamic terminology, is an oath of allegiance to a leader) and does not believe in alliances simply because it does not believe in partnership, it endeavors to control all the factions exist in its-held areas whether by force or enticement by lining the pockets. In addition, it is practically controls Nour al- Din Zinki Movement, part of al- Shamiyyah Front like al- Sham Legion and even with Soqor al- Jabal battalions supported by US. However, anyone refuses to join Jabhat al- Nusra is going to be assassinated as what happened to Hazem Movement, the Syrian revolutionaries Front and the Division Jabhat al- Nusra is unveiling the reality of its method that is assassination or control, and after that it will mobilize against Efrin. Here, I want to add something, it saddened us that are some in the Free Syrian Army who do not differ from Jabhat al- Nusra in their actions.

Is the truce in Kefrayya and al- Fu’ah in the countryside of Idlib will have negative effect on Efrin particularly on Atmah and Jandires front?

We do not count very much on this agreement as it is a periodical and tactical one; we hope to be a success to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of civilians, women and children on both sides. However, as realistic reading, we do not expect it to be a success especially after many breaches occurred in the past 2 days. Concerning Jabhat al- Nusra, we are enemies and what made the situation getting worse is the declarations issued by it several times that when they finish fighting in al- Fu’ah they are going to attack Efrin. Regardless al- Zabadani – al- Fu’ah agreement, the war between us has been declared for a time sometimes directly and sometime indirectly.

How do you evaluate the current the situation in al- Hasakah, and what is your goal in the area?

From the military aspect, the situation from al- Hasakah to Kobani is a defensive one. So, after expelling Daesh from al- Hasakah, Kobani and Tal Abyad our units are deployed defensively to repel any possible attack carried by IS militants.

We view al- Hasakah as a nucleus of the new democratic Syria. For this reason, we are working on establishing joint councils includes Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, and on increasing the communication among all constituents. So, the success of our project in al- Hasakah is the motivation to fine similar solution that could be applied on the whole Syria where Syria will be free and democratic for all people.

What about the ongoing military actions in the countryside of Kobani?

The military operation in the countryside of Kobani is under the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat that includes YPG and some factions of the Free Army, so this operation is going to continue until we reach al- Raqqa and expel Daesh from it. YPG is committed to providing all kinds of support to the factions of the Free Army affiliated to the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat in order to defeat Daesh and retake al- Raqqa.

Were you going to achieve these glory victories in Kobani without US-led coalition support?

To be realistic, we cannot deny the role offered by US-led coalition in Kobani battle but frankly speaking, I confirm that the legendary resistance and courage of our fighters as well as their ability to scarify their blood were behind these victories. So, US-led coalition had an important role but it is not the most important one.

Under these victories, there are some parties accuse you of seeking to secede from Syria in order to establish a Kurdish entity.

These are false accusations; the Turkish government underlies them where it tries to portray any Kurdish strife as if it is a secessionist movement. Rather, those who repeat these accusations should communicate with us and see our project, then they will discover that our main project for Syria is establishing a pluralist parliamentary democratic system, and that it is Syrian project par excellence for all the constituents of Syrian people. It is the real guarantee for the unity of Syria, so stop repeating Erdogan speech like parrots. I would like also to ask them, is the stay of Daesh in Jarablus and the countryside of Aleppo is a guarantee for the unity of Syria?

What is your response about that YPG displaces the Arabs from their regions?

Frankly speaking, we got bored of these blatant lies and falsehoods, we issued a formal statement about that, as well as many human rights organizations have refuted these allegations. In war, it is very normal that the civilians will leave the clashing areas towards safer places, and that what happened in all the clashing areas in Syria from Horan to Qamishlo, but those who have been disturbed by our victories and tolerance and humanity turned to confuse what we have achieved. In addition, we have repeatedly launched appeals for the citizens to return to their homes, and allow me to reiterate the call from your rostrum to all citizens on order to come back to their homes.

Too much talk about your relation with the regime especially after al- Hasakah clashes, how do you explain this relation if any?  

“These accusations are the same of accusations of seeking to secede, so those who repeat such accusations have closed their minds on two ways, whether to be with me or with the regime. I said to them that we are the third line. Our revolution against injustice and tyranny has its own special way that is nor similar to anything. We are convinced of the impossibility of the military solution for the Syria crisis but it should be a cultural, intellectual and political one. Therefore, we depend on ensuring protection to the citizen who will build new democratic Syria; the peaceful Syria. We are friends of people and friends of all those who want democracy and equality.

Earlier, you held a truce with Jabhat al- Nusra and other Islamist factions, if there is any mediation are you going to hold a truce with “Islamic State”?

Our conviction is that Daesh is a force of darkness; it bears no relation to Islam and the humanity. It is a criminal force established to destroy all what is human. In my opinion, there is no big difference between Jabhat al- Nusra and Daesh but the war with al- Nusra is a little bit complicated because there are many Syrians in its ranks and because there are some parties attempting to burnish its image on media. As for the truce, there was no truce between only Jabhat al- Nusra and us but it always was with several factions and Jabhat al- Nusra was signing with them on the truce.

Lastly, what is your vision for the realistic solution of Syria crisis?

Unfortunately, what is happening in Syria, we can call it clashes of titans; it is more like a third world war, where the major powers are fighting to divide the zones of influence in the world.

The solution is not in the hand of Syrian now. It is in the hands of the contesting powers. We see it a war of change of maps, divisions, agreements and mentalities that are hundreds years old. Syria is also a conflict center and the solution of disputes will be on its land. Unfortunately, our point of view is that the war may take dozens of years, and all what the Syrian people can do is having the will and the attempt to achieve a joint project that protects them, reduce the losses and help them to promote strongly at the end of war.

“The war will not stop in Syria but it will extend to all the Middle East and my extend more than that, and then will see a reverse migration from all countries towards Syria which will be the safest country.

Source: SOHR

İsmet Hasan: IŞİD Çeteleri Çocukların Okul Çantalarına Bile Bomba Koymuşlar

Foto: Mahmoud Bali

Foto: Mahmoud Bali

Kobanê şehir merkezinden sonra köylerin de kurtarılmasıyla birlikte vatandaşlar dönmeye başladı. IŞİD’in kaçarken kurmuş olduğu mayın ve bubi tuzakları için  neler aktaracaksınız?

İsmet Hasan: Kobanê şehir merkezini kurtardığımız gibi ikinci bir hamle olarak köyleri kurtarma operasyonu başlattık. Köylerinin kurtarıldığını duyan birçok insan dönmeye başladı. Vahşette sınır tanımayan IŞİD bu köylerden kaçarken bazı yerlere mayın döşemiş. Bu çeteler çocukların okul çantalarına bile bombalar yerleştirmişler. Çantayı açar açmaz bomba patlıyor. Bu patlamalarda en az 15 sivil yaşamını yitirdi ve çok sayıda insanımız yaralı.  Her gün mayınları, bombaları temizlememiz için bizi arıyor vatandaşlar. Fakat 370 kadar köye yetişecek imkanımız yok, çünkü arkadaşlarımız aynı anda cephede savaşıyor. Mayınları temizleyebilecek bütün uluslararası kuruluşlara, devletlere bir yardım eli için sesleniyoruz. Köylerine dönen insanların burada yaşamaya devam etmesi için bu mayınların temizlenmesi lazım.

General Ismet

Peki, dönen bu insanlar kanton yönetiminin izniyle mi dönüyor yoksa izinsiz mi?

İsmet Hasan: Açıkçası şu an dönmelerini istemiyoruz. Bütün şehir alt üst olmuş durumda. Su, gıda gibi temel ihtiyaçları karşılamak için sistemimizi oturtmak istiyoruz öncelikle. Mayınları temizledikten sonra insanlar dönsün istiyoruz fakat insanlar sabredemiyor. Mesela çocukları cephede savaşan ailelerin hepsi Kobanê’ye bir an önce dönmek istiyor. Sınır kapısında bir takım sıkıntılar olmasına rağmen insanlar gelmeye çalışıyor. Mayınların hepsini de kısıtlı imkanlarımızla temizleyemediğimiz için gerçekten çok zor durumdayız.

Mayınların temizlenmesi için neye ihtiyacınız var?

İsmet Hasan: Bu konuda uzmanlara ve mayın temizleme araçlarına ihtiyacımız var. Kobanê iki yıldır kuşatılmış durumda, başka bir yerden alma imkanımız olmadı. Daha önce de bu araçlarımız yoktu. Başta Amerika bizden desteklerini esirgemeyen bütün ülkelerin bu konuda da bize yardımcı olmasını istiyoruz. Çadır kampı kurmak istiyoruz aynı zamanda fakat henüz bir koridor açılmadığı için bu çalışmalara da başlayamıyoruz.

Kanada tarafından geliştirilen mayın temizleme robotu

IŞİD’in çocukların çantalarına bombalar yerleştirdiğini söylediğiniz. Bu kindarlığı nasıl yorumluyorsunuz?

İsmet Hasan: Çaydanlıklara, et kıyma makinalarına, yorganların arasına bile bomba yerleştirmişler. İnsanları diri diri yakan IŞİD’te insanlık adına ne olabilir ki? Tarihte bu vahşetin başka bir örneği yok. Fakat biz onlar gibi olmak istemiyoruz. Geçenlerde öldürülen Konyalı bir IŞİDlinin cenazesini ailesine teslim ettik. Onlar ise kelimelerle anlatamayacağım kadar etrafa vahşet saçıyorlar.

Kanton yönetimi olarak ABD, Birleşmiş Milletler ve Avrupa Birliği gibi ülke ve kurumlarla görüşmeleriniz ve onlardan somut talepleriniz oldu mu?

İsmet Hasan: Henüz kanton yönetimi olarak resmi bir görüşmemiz yok. Fakat direnişimize destek verip halkımıza kucak açan herkesin ilerleyen günlerde Kobanê’nin inşasında da yanımızda olacağını umut ediyoruz. Çünkü sadece Kobanê halkının üstesinden gelebileceği bir şey değil bu. ABD, Birleşmiş Milletler, Avrupa Birliği ve diğer ülkeler ve kuruluşlar Kobanê’nin Ortadoğu’daki direnişi temsil ettiğini söylüyordu. Bu direniş ancak tekrar onların desteği ile canlı kalabilir.

Peki, devletler ve kuruluşlar değil de dünyanın dört bir yanından sizi destekleyen insanlar Kobanê için ne yapabilir?

İsmet Hasan: Herkes kendi imkanları doğrultusunda yapabildiği şeyi yapmalı. Kobanê bir tarım alanıydı, bu yıl hiçbir tarım ürünü yok burada. Sadece bu konuda bile insanlar bir şeyler yapabilir. Bütün insanlara sesleniyoruz biz, bütün kurumlara, bütün devletlere.

Şehir merkezinin yaklaşık % 80’lik kısmının tamamen yıkıldığı aktarılıyor. Peki, köylerde durum ne? Oraya dönen insanlar yaşamlarını sürdürebiliyor mu?

İsmet Hasan: Köylerdeki evler talan edilmiş durumda. Fakat insanlar toprak yemeye muhtaç da olsalar köylerine dönmek istiyorlar, bu şekilde dönüyorlar. Yani buradaki varlıkları için gelmiyorlar, sadece toprak için geliyorlar. Köylerdeki bütün her şey çalınmış durumda fakat bütün köylerde evler hasar görmemiş.

İnsanlarımız özellikle de dışarda yaşayan halkımız uluslararası düzeyde kamuoyu oluşturmalılar ve sesimizi bütün dünyaya duyurmalılar. Herkes elinden gelenin en iyisini yapmalı. Özgürlüğe inanan halkımıza bu yolda biz de buradan başarılar diliyoruz.

Aerial Footage of the Destruction in Kobane City

kobane tepeden

This flying camera footage shows the horrifying destruction in the City of Kobane after ISIS attacked the city on September 15 with heavy weapons.

After Kurdish YPG and allies defeated ISIS, now the local government is trying to expedite reconstruction efforts through

Essential and Urgent Needs of Kobane

Photo: Mahmoud Bali

Photo: Mahmoud Bali


Kobane has been attacked by terrorist groups of (ISIS) for about five months. So our people and forces are resisting bravely and strongly against them to protect their humanitarian and democratic thoughts and beliefs. As a result of the mentioned military actions, the most of the city and parts of its nearly (400) villages destroyed or damaged hard.

Health care:
There were four hospitals- 2 destroyed completely and 2 damaged between 20 – 50 %. The private clinics and pharmacies are hard damaged. So there is very urgent need to a medical point or a hospital that can provide medicine and health care to thousands of civilians in the city and the countryside.

Foto: Mahmoud Bali

Foto: Mahmoud Bali

It was planned by the Syrian regime for majored Kurds people Kobane to depend on the neighboring towns and cities (Manbej, Sirrin and Shekhlar) for its drinking water, electricity and flour. After ISIS has controlled these places since two years, they have besieged Kobane to submit its people to their extremist thoughts, so they cut drinking water, electricity and flour from Kobane.

The Democratic Autonomous Administration looked for alternatives, so we made a drinking water project which depends on getting water from wells, pure and distribute it via the existing network. But the attacks destroyed it after two months of work, so no pure drinking water and Kobane depends on unclean water form own wells. The sewage tubes and electricity networks inside the city are destroyed completely, too.


Photo: Mahmoud Bali



There are 19 schools in the city – 4 are destroyed completely and the others damaged from 20 – 80%.

In general:

We are preparing 40 acres of land in west of the city to build a camp of 1000 tents for civilian people who are returning home and their houses are destroyed completely. The camp will have a medical point, 4 tent schools, a security point and other public services. So we are in urgent need of help to build the mentioned camp.

There is also very urgent need of food, medicine, drinking water and clothes for about 25000 people live in the city and villages of Kobane. The number increases every day because hundreds of civilians are returning back from Turkey.

Kobane Reconstructing Board

Spokesperson: Idris Nassan
20/ 2/ 2015


Oberbefehlshaber der YPG von Kobane Berxwedan: Wo auch immer der IS ist, da werden auch wir sein


Mutlu Civiroglu

Herr Mahmud Berxwedan, seit einigen Wochen wird der Kampf gegen den in den Dörfern ausgetragen, nachdem der IS aus der Stadt Kobane vertrieben wurde. Wie sieht die aktuelle Situation an den drei Fronten aus?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Nach der Befreiung von Kobane am 26. Januar haben wir mit der zweiten Phase begonnen, welche die Befreiung aller Kobane zugehörigen Dörfer beinhaltet. Seitdem sind 21 Tage vergangen, diese Phase ist bisher sehr erfolgreich verlaufen, täglich werden an allen Fronten neue Gebiete befreit. Die Westfront befindet sich jetzt dort, wo dder IS den Krieg am 15. September begonnen hatte: Wir befinden uns in der Nähe von Şêxler und sind nur 3 bis 4 km vom Euphrat entfernt. An dieser Front gibt es nur noch wenige Dörfer, die zu befreien sind, gerade eben wurde das Dorf Keçelo befreit, in weiteren Dörfer wie Cibilferac, Sêvalo und Derbazin wird zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt  gekämpft.

Mahmud Berxwedan

Mahmud Berxwedan

Wird der Kampf gegen den IS auf der anderen Seite des Euphrats, in Dscharabulus, fortgesetzt?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Unser primäres Ziel ist es, alle Ortschaften des Kantons Kobane zu befreien. Danach fängt unser eigentliche Kampf gegen den IS an, bisher hatte der IS unser Land besetzt. Nach der Befreiung des Kantons werden wir die Gebiete des IS angreifen. Am 15. September hatten der IS damit begonnen, uns anzugreifen, dieses Mal werden wir den IS angreifen und ihn aus allen Gebieten verdrängen. Wo auch immer der IS ist, da werden auch wir sein.  Für uns gibt es keine Grenzen, unser Angriffsziel ist der IS, wir werden sowohl das arabische als auch das kurdische Volk, aber auch alle anderen Völker, die von der IS unterdrückt werden, befreien.

Herr Berxwedan, Sie sind Oberbefehlshaber der YPG und klingen sehr überzeugt und hoch motiviert. Worauf basiert Ihr Vertrauen? 

Mahmud Berxwedan: Wir glauben an uns und unsere Kraft. Wir glauben an unsere Kämpferinnen der YPJ und an unsere Kämpfer der YPG. Wir glauben an unsere Kalaschnikows und Bomben. Alles andere ist für uns eine zusätzliche Unterstützung. Wir glauben daran, dass wir es schaffen werden, in Syrien die Niederlage des IS einzuleiten. Angefangen bei den Ortschaften von Kobane, werden wir den IS in allen Gebieten, die er besetzt, bekämpfen.

Wenn ich Ihre Antwort richtig deute, dann werden auch Dscharabulus (Westen), Manbij (Südwesten), Sarrin (Süden) und  Girê Sipî (arabisch: Tall Abyad, Osten) Angriffsziele [der Kurden]?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Alle Orte, an denen sich der IS aufhält, sind unser Ziel. Das darf nicht missverstanden werden: Wir wollen den IS bekämpfen, nicht das arabische Volk. Wir möchten nichts, was den Arabern oder anderen Völkern gehört, besitzen oder beschlagnahmen. Unser Ziel ist die Zerschlagung der IS. Wo auch immer der IS ist, werden wir uns für dessen gegenwärtige und vergangene Taten rächen.

Uns erreichen Meldungen, dass sich arabische Menschen, die sich in den von der IS besetzten Gebieten aufhalten, an Sie gewendet und um Unterstützung bei der Befreiung dieser Orte gebeten haben. Können Sie diese Meldungen bestätigen?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Ja, sie stimmen. Viele Kämpfer aus Manbij und Dscharabulus sind zu uns gekommen und haben unsere Verteidigungseinheiten (YPG, YPJ) um Hilfe bei der Zurückeroberung ihrer Städte gebeten. Wir haben diesen Kämpfern unsere Unterstützung im Kampf gegen den IS versprochen. Wir sind bereit, allen Menschen, die von der IS bedroht werden, unsere Hand zu reichen und sie im Kampf zu unterstützen.


Können Sie uns noch kurz über die Lage an der Ost- und Südfront ins Bild setzen?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Im Süden haben wir die strategisch bedeutsamen Hügel Şehit Xabor und Sêvê zurückerobert, von dort aus haben wir die Brücke Qereqozak, die Stadt Sarrin und vielen weitere Orte im Blick. Seit über einem Jahr war der Hügel Sêvê umkämpft, dieser war mal unter der Kontrolle der IS und mal unter unserer Kontrolle. Nach einem sehr intensiven Kampf konnte der Hügel  zurückerobert werden und heute weht auf diesem Hügel die Fahne der YPG.

Ist es wahr, dass ein Teil der Straße, die von Heleb (arabisch: Aleppo ) nach Hesiçe (arabisch: Al-Hasaka) führt, unter kurdischer Kontrolle ist?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Südöstlich von Kobane sind 25 km dieser Straße unter unserer Kontrolle: Die Straße nach Rotko steht unter der Kontrolle der YPG, einige Dörfer wie Qilheydê und Girêk, die sich an dieser Straße befinden, wurden befreit. Im Osten haben wir die Dörfer Bexdik, Idani und viele weitere Dörfer um Idani zurückerobert.

Sie sagten, dass [die Kurden] dem arabischen Volk, das sich in den von der IS besetzten Städten befindet, zu Hilfe eilen würden. Erhalten [die Kurden] denn Unterstützung von anderen Nationen? Immerhin hatte letzte Woche eine Kommandantin der YPJ den französischen Staatspräsidenten Hollande besucht. Erhalten oder erwarten Sie internationale Unterstützung, da Sie sagen, sie würden den IS auch in anderen Städten bekämpfen?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Alle wissen, dass der IS eine Plage für die ganze Welt ist. Wir möchten, dass alle, die den IS bekämpfen möchten, uns unterstützen, damit wir den IS schneller besiegen können. Jeder, der den IS wirklich als Feind betrachtet, muss uns unterstützen und die bisherige Unterstützung fortsetzen und intensivieren. Bis heute kämpfen wir mit den wenigen Mitteln, die uns zur Verfügung stehen. In einem früheren Interview mit Ihnen hatte ich gesagt, dass wir nur mit leichten Waffen Widerstand leisten. Glauben Sie mir, bis heute kämpfen wir mit ebendiesen Waffen. Es stimmt, wir werden durch Luftschläge unterstützt, aber wirklich wirkungsvolle Waffen für unsere Einheiten auf dem Boden, wie Panzer und schweres Geschütz, haben wir bisher von niemandem erhalten. Die Welt muss sich als eine Einheit gegen den IS stellen. Der IS ist eine Bedrohung für alle, in der Zerschlagung des IS sehen wir eine menschliche Aufgabe, es geht uns nicht nur um Kobane. Das haben wir auch zu anderen Zeitpunkten gesagt, wir führen den Kampf für die Menschheit. Deswegen muss die Weltgemeinschaft uns in diesem Kampf unterstützen. Kobane braucht aber auch eine andere Art von Unterstützung, Kobane braucht einen Hilfskorridor, Hilfe beim Wiederaufbau. Der gesamte Besitz der Menschen ist geplündert worden, in den Dörfern gibt es nichts mehr. Der IS hat alles gestohlen und in vielen Häusern Minen verlegt. Wir  brauchen internationale Untersützung bei der Entschärfung  der Minen. Es sind so viele Menschen nach Kobane zurückgekehrt, dabei gibt es in der Stadt keinen einzigen Laden, in dem sie sich etwas kaufen könnten. Die Bevölkerung von Kobane braucht viel humanitäre Unterstützung.

Herr Berxwedan, lassen Sie uns ein wenig über die Rolle der Freien Syrischen Armee und der Peschmerga sprechen, ein paar Gruppen stehen seit Beginn des Kampfes auf der Seite der Kurden. Einige Quellen melden, dass in den überwiegend arabisch besiedelten Gebieten die FSA den Kampf anführen würde. Welche Rolle spielt die Peshmerga?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Es gibt in den Reihen der FSA einige Gruppen, die uns seit Beginn der Kämpfe unterstützen, wie zum Beispiel die Siwar Rakka, Şemsi Şimal und Cephetul Ekrad. Auch jetzt kämpfen sie mit uns an der vordersten Front. In den arabischen Regionen führen sie den Kampf an und wir unterstützen sie. Auch diese Gruppen brauchen militärische Unterstützung, auch sie haben bisher keine Unterstützung bekommen. Mit den wenigen Mitteln, die uns zur Verfügung stehen, helfen wir diesen Gruppen. Auch die Peschmerga unterstützt uns sehr tatkräftig, diese sind im Besitz von Artillerie und unterstützen uns auf diese Weise.

Abschließend möchte ich Sie fragen, wieviel Prozent der Dörfer des Kantons Kobane zurückerobert wurden. Zudem hat die Aussicht auf die Befreiung von Girê Sipî (arabisch: Tall Abyad) große Wellen in den kurdischen und internationalen Medien geschlagen. Was möchten Sie dazu sagen?

Mahmud Berxwedan: 80 Prozent der Dörfer des Kantons Kobane wurden befreit. Um die die restlichen 20 Prozent wird noch gekämpft, wir möchten  diese Dörfer so schnell wie möglich befreien. Wir möchten auch das Umland von Girê Sipî und Girê Sipî selbst von der IS säubern, so wie wir den IS auch an allen anderen Orten bekämpfen werden.


Mutlu Civiroglu ist Analyst der Kurdischen Frage mit Schwerpunkt Syrien und Türkei. Er verfolgt insbesondere den Kampf der YPG gegen den IS und andere dschihadistische Gruppen.


Vom Kurdischen ins Deutsche übersetzt von N. Ozdemir

Berxwedan of YPG: We Will Crush ISIS Anywhere in Syria

Kurdish fighters claim to have cleared Islamic State from Kobane

After liberating the city of Kobane, you began operations to liberate villages. What is the situation on the eastern, western and southern fronts? How far have you reached?

Mahmud Berxwedan: After liberating Kobane, we started a second advance. Since that day, approximately 20 days have passed. Within this time period, we carried out our operations successfully. Day by day, we are moving forward on all three fronts. We are liberating the land around Kobane bit by bit. On the western front, we have reached the point where we made close contact with ISIS on September 15th, we are somewhere near Shexler, there are 3-4 kilometers between us and the Euphrates. Around here, there are a small number of villages that are not yet under our control. Our operations are still ongoing around the villages of Kechelo, Jabalfaraj, Sevalo and Derbazin, and we will recapture these villages one by one.

Alright, on the western front, will you go beyond the Euphrates and go toward Jarablus?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Our top priority is to liberate the whole area around Kobane. Then we will start a new war with ISIS. Up until now ISIS conquered our land and we succeeded thanks to our friends who act with fighting spirit and made them suffer a great defeat. After taking the whole of Kobane under our control, I can say that we’ll start a war with ISIS, on September 15th they started the war, this time we will do it. Our struggle with ISIS will continue no matter where they go. We cut across all boundaries when it comes to fighting with them, we will liberate anyone who is targeted by ISIS.

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chied Ismet Hasan and other officoals Photo (Mislim Nebo)

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chief Ismet Hasan and other officials Photo (Mislim Nebo)

Your sound very confident and you seem to be in good spirits. What makes you speak so assertively?

Mahmud Berxwedan: We have faith in ourselves, in our strength and the YPG-YPJ fighters. We believe in our Kalashnikovs and our bombs. Anything else are supportive tools. We will crush ISIS in anywhere in Syria. We will fight with them first in the area around Kobane, then wherever ISIS goes.

Then, shall we say you will soon enter Jarablus, Manbij, Sarin and Tal Abyad? Is that right?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Wherever ISIS exists is our target. We don’t want to be misunderstood, we are not targeting the Arab people, we are targeting ISIS. We don’t have our eyes on anyone’s property. We just want to fight ISIS. Wherever they are, we will settle scores, old and new.

It has been reported that Arabs in places where ISIS holds control await your support, are these claims true?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Yes, they are. There are people who have escaped ISIS’s tyranny from Manbij and Jarablus, and they have come and asked for our help. They want us to save their land from ISIS, we promised to help them. We’ll help anyone who is subjected to ISIS’s tyranny and save them from it.

Mahmud Berxwedan

How about the situation on the southern and eastern fronts?

Mahmud Berxwedan: On the southern front, Shahid Xabur Hill has strategic importance because it overlooks the Qaraqozak Bridge and the area around Sarin. Girê Sêvê Hill, where there are intensive clashes, is now under our control, the YPG flag is flying on top of it.

Is it true that part of the Aleppo-Hasakah highway is under your control now?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Yes, a 25 kilometer-long section of Aleppo-Haseke highway just southeast of Kobane is under the control of our fighters. Qilheydê, Girêk and many other villages on the Rotko Highway were liberated by the YPG. On the eastern front, Bexdik, Idani and many other villages close to these places are under our control.

You are saying that you will support the Arab people who ask for your help and fight ISIS wherever they are in the world. Do the world powers also support you?

Mahmud Berxwedan: The ISIS thugs have become a nuisance for the world. Anyone who fights against them should support us, and increase the already extant support. Up until now, we have been fighting with limited means, always fighting with the weapons that we always mention. True that the Coalition Forces support us with airstrikes; however we still weren’t given heavy weaponry such as tanks or new weapons.

Everyone should take responsibility for this; we can be rid of ISIS only when we are united. We are fighting ISIS not only for Kobane but also for the whole of humanity. People should look out for Kobane not only about arms aid, but in terms of other things as well. Today a new Kobane is being built; everyone should act with a sense of responsibility. There was nothing left in the villages, the ISIS thugs had plundered everything. They had put landmines, bombs inside the houses to kill the civilians. That’s why de-mining organizations should come to Kobane as soon as possible.

It has been said that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was on your side in Kobane, will lead the operations that you will conduct in places which are densely populated by Arabs. What do you have to say about the role played both the FSA groups and the peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan in Kobane?

Mahmud Berxwedan: The groups such as Siwar al-Raqqa, Shams al-Shimal, Jabhat al-Akrad fought with us in Kobane and still now are continuing the struggle on the front line. In Arab areas, they lead, and we assist them. But they also need other kinds of help and haven’t received any of sort of help yet. We try to help them with the limited means we have.

The peshmerga forces were the back support from the beginning, they are not on the frontline. They have heavy weaponry and can give any form of support depending on our needs. They never hesitated doing anything they could do.

Lastly, what percentage of the Kobane villages have been recovered? Also, the possibility of you entering Tal Abyad caused a stir among the people, what do you want to say about this?

Mahmud Berxwedan: 80% of the Kobane villages have been recovered. Our operations are still ongoing for the remaining 20%. We are planning to liberate Tal Abyad from ISIS. As I said in the beginning, we will fight ISIS with all the strength we have no matter where they are.


For my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at


Mahmud Berxwedan: IŞİD’i Her Yerde Yenilgiye Uğratacağız

Mutlu Çiviroğlu     


Sayın Mahmud Berxwedan, Kobanê şehir merkezinini kurtardıktan sonra köylerde operasyon başlatmıştınız. Doğu, batı ve güney cephelerinde son durum nedir?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Kobanê’yi özgürleştirdikten sonra köyleri kurtarmak için ikinci bir hamle başlattık. O günden bugüne yaklaşık 20 gün geride kaldı. Bu süre zarfında operasyonlarımızı başarılı bir şekilde yürüttük. Her üç cephede de her gün biraz daha ilerliyoruz, Kobanê topraklarında adım adım özgürleştiriyoruz. Batı cephesinde 15 Eylül’de IŞİD ile sıcak temasın başladığı noktaya başladık. Şêxler’e yakın bir yerdeyiz, Fırat ile aramızdaki mesela 3-4 km. Bu taraflarda henüz kontrolümüz altına geçmeyen çok az sayıda köy kaldı. Keçelo, Cibilferac, Sêvalo, Derbazin köyleri etrafında operasyonlarımız devam ediyor ve o köyleri bir bir geri alacağız.

Peki, batı cephesinde Fırat’ı aşıp Cerablus’a doğru gidecek misiniz?

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chied Ismet Hasan and other officoals Photo (Mislim Nebo)

YPG Commander Mahmud Berxwedan, Canton PM Anwar Moslem, Defense Chief Ismet Hasan and other officials Photo (Mislim Nebo)


Mahmud Berxwedan: Öncelikli hedefimiz Kobanê topraklarının tamamını özgürleştirmek. Sonrasında IŞİD ile yeni bir savaşımız başlıyor. Şimdiye kadar IŞİD topraklarımızı işgal etmişti, biz mücadele  ruhuyla hareket eden arkadaşımızla başarıya ulaştık ve onları büyük bir yenilgiye uğrattık. Kobanê topraklarının tamamını kontrolümüz altına aldıktan sonra IŞİD ile savaşın başlayacağını söyleyebilirim. 15 Eylül’de onlar savaşı başlatmıştı, bu sefer biz başlatacağız. IŞİD ile mücadelemiz nereye giderlerse gitsinler devam edecek. Biz onlarla mücadelede sınır tanımıyoruz. IŞİD’in hedef aldığı bütün insanları IŞİD’ten kurtaracağız.

YPG’nin Kobanê’deki en üst ismi olarak oldukça kendinizden emin konuşuyorsunuz. Sizi bu kadar kadar iddialı konuşturan etkenler nelerdir?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Biz kendimize güveniyoruz, gücümüze, YPG-YPJ savaşçılarına inanıyoruz. Keleşnikofumuza ve bombamıza inanıyoruz, diğer her şey bizim için sadece destek. IŞİD’i Suriye’de hezimete uğratacağız. Başta Kobane toprakları olmak üzere IŞİD nerede olursa olsun onlarla mücadele edeceğiz.

Mahmud Berxwedan

Mahmud Berxwedan

O zaman yakın bir zamanda Cerablus, Minbic, Sirrin ve Tilebyad’a da gireceğinizi söyleyebiliriz, doğru mu?

Mahmud Berxwedan: IŞİD’in olduğu her yer bizim hedefimizdir. Yanlış anlaşılmak istemiyoruz, biz Arap halkını değil IŞİD’i hedef alıyoruz. Kimsenin malında mülkünde, bir iğnesinde bile gözümüz yok. Biz IŞİD’le mücadele etmek istiyoruz. Nerede olurlarsa olsunlar eski yeni bütün intikamlarımızı alacağız.

IŞİD’in hakim olduğu yerlerdeki Arap halkının sizin desteğinizi bekledikleri aktarılıyor, bu iddialar doğru mu?

Mahmud Berxwdan: Evet, doğru. IŞİD’in zulmünden kaçan Minbicli, Cerabluslu kaçan insanlar var ve yanımıza gelip YPG’nin desteğini istediler. Topraklarını IŞİD’ten kurtarmamızı istiyorlar, biz onlara yardım edeceğimize dair söz verdik. IŞİD’in zulmüne maruz kalan herkese yardım edip onların o zulümden kurtaracağız.

Peki, güney ve doğu ve cephelerindeki durum ne?

Mahmud Berxwdan: Güney cephesinde Şehit Xabur Tepesi ve Qaraqozak Köprüsü’ne ve Sırrin’in alanına hakim olduğu için stratejik öneme sahip, üzerinde şiddetli çatışmaların yaşandığı Girê Sêvê Tepesi şu an bizim elimizde, üzerinde YPG bayrağı dalgalanıyor.

kobani ozgur

Halep ve Haseke yolunun bir kısmının kontrolünüz altına geçtiği doğru mu?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Kobane’nin güneydoğusuna düşen, Halep Haseke karayolunun 25 kilometrelik bir kısmı savaşçılarımızın kontrolünde. Rotko Yolu üzerindeki Qilheydê, Girêk ve daha birçok köy YPG tarafından kurtarıldı. Doğu cephesinde ise Bexdik, İdanî ve oraya yakın birçok köye bizim kontrolümüzde.

Sizden yardım isteyen Arap halkını destekleyeceğinizi, dünyanın neresinde olursa olsun IŞİD ile mücadele edeceğinizi söylüyorsunuz. Peki dünya güçleri de sizi destekleyecek mi? Bu konuda yeni bir gelişme var mı?

Mahmud Berxwedan: IŞİD çeteleri bütün dünyanın başına bela oldular. Onlara karşı mücadele etmek isteyen herkes bize destek çıkmalı, var olan desteği artırmalı. Bu saate kadar da kısıtlı imkanlarımızla, hala hep bahsettiğimiz o silahlarla mücadele ediyoruz. Koalisyonların güçlerinin hava saldırıları desteği var, doğru, fakat tank ve ağır silah yardımı henüz yapılmadı bize. Bu konuda herkes sorumluluk sahibi olmalı, ancak bir olduğumuz vakit IŞİD’i ortadan kaldırabiliriz.

Biz sadece Kobane için değil bütün insanlık için IŞİD’e karşı mücadele ediyoruz. Sadece silah yardımı değil, diğer konularda da insanlar Kobanê’ye sahip çıkmalı. Bugün yeni bir Kobanê inşa ediliyor, herkes bir sorumluluk bilinci ile hareket etmeli. Köylerde hiçbir şey kalmamış, IŞİD çeteleri her şeyi yağmalamış. Birçok eve de siviller ölsün diye bomba yerleştirmişler. Bunun için mayın temizleme kuruluşları da Kobanê’ye bir an önce gelmeliler.

Arap nüfusun yoğun olduğu yerlerde yapacağınız operasyonlarda Kobanê’de sizinle birlikte hareket eden Özgür Suriye Ordusu gruplarının öncülük edeceği dile getiriliyor. Hem Özgür Suriye Ordusu grupları hem de peşmergelerinin Kobanê’de oynadıkları rol hakkında neler diyeceksiniz?


Mahmud Berxwedan: Siwar Rakka, Şemsi Şimal, Cephetul Ekrad gibi gruplar bizimle birlikte savaştılar Kobane’de ve şu anda da ön cephede mücadeleyi yürütüyorlar. Arap bölgelerinde onlar öncülük ediyor, biz de onlara yardım ediyoruz. Fakat onların diğer yardımlara da ihtiyacı var, henüz herhangi bir yardım almış değiller. Kısıtlı imkanlarımızla biz onlara destek çıkıyoruz, bizim dışımızda destek çıkan yok.

Peşmerge güçleri de baştan beri arka destek kuvvetiydi. Yani cephede yer almıyorlar. Ağır silahları var ve ihtiyaca göre her türlü desteği veriyorlar. Bu konuda hiçbir zaman ellerinden geleni yapmaktan kaçınmadılar.

General Ismett

Son olarak Kobanê köylerinin yüzde kaçlık bir kurtarılmış durumda? Bir de Tilebyad’a girme ihtimaliz kamuoyunda büyük bir heyecan yarattı, bu konuda neler demek istersiniz?

Mahmud Berxwedan: Kobanê köylerinin % 80’lik bir kısmı kurtarıldı. Kalan % 20 için operasyonlarımız devam ediyor. Tilebyad’ı da IŞİD’ten kurtarmayı planlıyoruz. Başta da dediğim gibi, nerede olurlarsa olsunlar tüm gücümüzle IŞİD ile savaşacağız.

Premierminister des Kantons Kobane: “Für die Entschärfung der Minen werden dringend Spezialisten gebraucht”


Mutlu Civiroglu: Nach der Befreiung der Stadt gaben Sie in einer Erklärung bekannt, dass

Hilfe für den Wiederaufbau gebraucht werden würde. Journalisten, die Kobane besuchen, kommen zum selben Schluss. Welche Art von Unterstützung braucht Kobane?

Anwar Moslem: Seit viereinhalb Monaten wird gekämpft, um die 40 Fahrzeuge wurden in Kobane in die Luft gesprengt, tausende Mörsergranaten schlugen ein. Die Fundamente der Stadt, kommunale Dienstleistungsstellen, Wasserleitungen und das Stromnetz wurden zerstört. Auf den Straßen liegen viele Leichen der ISIS-Kämpfer. Es ist notwendig, dass medizinische Organisationen uns vor Ort unterstützen, damit sich keine Krankheiten ausbreiten. Zudem wurden in der Stadt, in vielen Dörfern und Häusern Minen verlegt. Auch das ist eine große Gefahr für die zurückkehrende Bevölkerung. In den vergangen Tagen sind in den Dörfern Çuqur, Rovî und Yêdûq Minen explodiert, Zivilisten kamen ums Leben. Für die Entschärfung der Minen werden dringend Spezialisten gebraucht. Die Situation ist sehr schwierig, es mangelt an Trinkwasser, Nahrungsmitteln, denn schon vor diesen Übergriffen war Kobane von allen vier Seiten umzingelt, mit Beginn des Kampfes wurde diese Situation noch schwieriger. Weil wir schnellstmöglich eine Camp-Stadt errichten wollen, müssen wir eine medizinische Grundversorgung gewährleisten, damit die Bevölkerung wieder allmählich zurückkehren kann.


Mutlu Civiroglu: Wieviele zivile Opfer kamen durch Minenexplosionen ums Leben?

Anwar Moslem: Bisher gab es sechs Tote und dutzende teils Schwerverletzte. Nicht nur die Dörfer, sondern auch einige Teile der Stadt sind vermint. In den Dörfern wird noch gekämpft, aber in der Stadt wurde dem Terror ein Ende gesetzt. Deswegen bemühen wir uns, mit allen Nationen und Organisationen Kontakt aufzunehmen und sie nach Kobane einzuladen, damit sie uns behilflich sein können.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Die Nachrichtenagentur ANHA teilte gestern mit, 400 Zivilisten seien zurückgekehrt. Sie teilen uns mit, dass Blindgänger und Minen eine große Gefahr darstellen. Wie bewerten Sie die Rückkehr der Zivilisten trotz der Gefahr?

Anwar Moslem: Wir teilen den Menschen immer wieder mit, dass die Situation sehr gefährlich ist. Zum einen gibt es keine medizinische Versorgung, zum anderen sind überall Minen verlegt. Unser Aufruf nach Kobane zurückzukehren, richtet sich an junge Menschen, die in der Verwaltung oder im medzinischen Bereich arbeiten wollen, oder sich unseren Verteidungseinheiten anschließen möchten. Es kommen aber auch einige Zivilisten zurück. Manchmal betreten sie unbefugt gefährliche Gebiete, sodass es ständig Explosionen gibt. Auch wir leiden darunter, aber wir geben dutzende Erklärungen und erstellen Flugblätter, um die Menschen zu warnen, damit sie Orte nicht unbefugt betreten und sich bei der Asayish oder der YPG melden, wenn ihnen Blindgänger und Minen auffallen.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Sie sagten, dass es Bemühungen gibt, ein Camp zu errichten. Die Organisation “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” wollte ebenfalls ein Camp in Kobane errichten.

Anwar Moslem: Wir haben Kontakt zu dieser Organisation, diese möchte ein Krankenhaus und einiges mehr errichten. Wir sagten, dass unseren Türen allen Organisationen, die Kobane unterstützen möchten, offen stehen. Wir von der Stadtverwaltung versuchen, ein Camp zu errichten, damit die Bevölkerung zurückkehren kann, obwohl tausende Häuser zerstört sind. Um sie unterzubringen, brauchen wir dieses Camp. Wenn “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” oder andere Organisationen uns bei diesem Vorhaben unterstützen möchten, können sie dies tun. Wir haben ein Komitee gegründet, die noch Untersuchungen anstellt und die Ergebnisse bald publik machen wird.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Vor zwei Tagen hat der französische Präsident Hollande die Kommandantin der YPJ Nesrin Abdullah und die Präsidentin der PYD Asye Abdullah im Élysée-Palast empfangen. Viele bringen diesen Besuch mit dem Sieg der Kurden in Kobane in Verbindung. Was sagen Sie dazu?

Anwar Moslem: Unser Kampf war ein Krieg gegen einen Terror, der auch die USA, Frankreich, Kanada und Australien bedrohte. Zur gleichen Zeit, vor vier Monaten, fiel auch Kobane diesem Terror zum Opfer. Wenn unseren jungen Männer und Frauen diesen Terror bekämpfen, dann tun sie dies nicht nur für Kobane, sondern für die ganze Welt. Alle demokratischen und friedliebenden Menschen, die sich für Kobane einsetzten, haben ebenfalls Anteil am Sieg. Die Einladung von Herrn Hollande hat uns mit Stolz erfüllt. Wir hoffen, dass weitere Politiker Kobane unterstützen, indem sie Kobane besuchen, Delegationen schicken. Wir hoffen auch, dass uns unsere Freunde und Verbündeten aus den USA beim Wiederaufbau unterstützen, so wie sie auch zu Beginn des Kampfes an unserer Seite standen.


Mutlu Civiroglu ist Analyst der Kurdischen Frage mit Schwerpunkt Syrien und Türkei” Er verfolgt insbesondere den Kampf der YPG gegen die ISIS und andere dschihadistische Gruppen.


Vom Kurdischen ins Deutsche übersetzt von N. Ozdemir

Kobane: Problems and Reconstructing Efforts

Horrifying destruction of Kobane (Photo Mahmoud Bali)

Horrifying destruction of Kobane (Photo Mahmoud Bali)

Mutlu Civiroglu 

We discussed the topic of reconstruction of the city of Kobane with the Deputy PM of the Kobane Canton Administration Xalid Berkel, HDP Member of Parliament for Urfa Ibrahim Ayhan, Hisen Mihemed Eli, who is responsible for education in the area and Dr. Nahsan Amed, who is responsible for health.

Journalists who have visited the area recently, Hatice Kamer and Omer Faruk Baran also talk about their observations. We conversed about the current situation and problems in the area, the needs and the reconstruction process.

Mr. Xalid Berkel, after the city of Kobane was fully liberated; a commission was formed to rebuild the city. How much progress has been made by this commission so far?

Xalid Berkel: within the commission we have formed, there are engineers, doctors and specialists from many other fields. Regarding the works, we are still exchanging ideas. We are working for the return of our people and for those who return we will do our utmost to provide the best service, so that they do not experience any transitional difficulties. However, there are problems with this. Because Kobane is in complete ruins, the roads and streets are completely unrecognizable.

We are appealing to every organisation, to the whole world for help. For our people to return comfortably, to build a habitable Kobane worthy of humanity we need their help. We also want help from all parts of Kurdistan, especially from our Southern brothers and sisters, because their possibilities of helping are greater. Our Northern brothers and sisters have unreservedly worked and helped us from day one. While thanking them once again, I want to say that we are expecting their help in rebuilding Kobane to continue.

Have you had any communication with international organisations? Also, what kind of strategy have you developed regarding reaching people in different regions of the World?

Xalid Berkel: For donations we have created institutions in many countries around the world, and we are working on creating more of these kinds of facilities. Our work with regard to opening a bank account is still ongoing. As you have mentioned, Kobane has become synonymous with being a war city. On account of this alone, the whole world and all international organisations should support the rebuilding of Kobane.

Mr. İbrahim Ayhan, now; for a sustained period you have actively been working on the border of Kobane. As the HDP-DBP party, what kind of work will you carry out for the rebuilding process of Kobane?

Ibrahim Ayhan: The victory of Kobane is now known as a symbolic victory around the world for all who support humanity. We have tried to provide the best possible help by setting up crisis centers for people coming from Kobane. Since Kobane has been liberated, we have wanted to play an active role in the rebuilding process of a free Kobane. We have gone twice to Kobane and had meetings with the Canton officials. There was a commission set up there, and we also set up a commission over on this side too. Within this commission the HDP-DBP and other organisations are present. People are prepared to help, but over here at the Mursitpinar Border Gate there are problems. We are still unable to send over construction equipment via the border. For this reason there is urgent need for an open corridor.

So you are saying that Turkey is creating a problem regarding the crossing of the border?

Ibrahim Ayhan: Yes, correct. There is only permission for basic nutritional supplies to cross the border. There is no permission for construction vehicles and equipment to cross, because the border isn’t an official crossing. We have spoken to the government about getting other materials over via this border.

Mursitpinar is the only direct contact Kobane has with the outside world. In the likelihood of Turkey changing its stance and opening this border for the crossing of other charitable material and equipment, what would you plan to do?

Ibrahim Ayhan: At the meetings we have had with the government, they have told us that help will be provided; however for 10 days now nothing has yet happened. From America, Europe and southern Kurdistan, people and governments want to help as soon as possible. Until the border is fully free no help will be properly delivered. But we believe we will rebuild Kobane with the same spirit that we used to liberate the city.

International organisations say they want to help. People have started campaigns on social media. How can they deliver?

Ibrahim Ayhan: We are carrying out our work through the Rojava Help Association; we have called and are calling for people to provide help via this association. The association is within the municipalities of Suruc, Amed and Mardin. Again our party is carrying out various meetings. We are speaking with international organisations. We will carry out our work in a technical manner. But as I have mentioned, a Kobane which is surrounded on three fronts by ISIS needs an open border to Suruc.

Mr. Berkel, as part of the Canton management, how do you find Turkey’s stance and what demands do you have of Turkey?

Xalid Berkel: Turkey has a duty as a neighbor, and for humanitarian reasons, not to create any problems at the border. We have called for Turkey to create a security corridor; they should take the necessary steps to provide this. Turkey has already provided help via the border; we hope that the help provided will be broadened. After the liberation of Kobane there will be a new Kobane built here, which will embody peace and tranquility, and this will be in Turkey’s favor. The peace and tranquility will benefit them too.

Mr. Ayhan, do agree with Mr Berkel’s views? Would a tranquil and peaceful Kobane be of benefit to Turkey?

Ibrahim Ayhan: In reality, first of all Turkey actually followed a different policy against the Kurds. In the beginning during the war in Kobane they helped ISIS more. We criticized this stance because these policies had no benefit to Turkey or the Middle East. Turkey should change their policies and be more in alliance with the Kurds. Turkey should approach Rojava, the South and the North in a strategic manner and cut all ties with ISIS. Turkey didn’t even recognize the Kurdish status in Iraq for a long time, and now they say the same thing about Rojava and will not recognition a government formed in the region. This is a very wrong stance; they should recognize Rojava as soon as possible. The Turkish government should start official dialogue with the Rojava government, like they have done with Southern Kurdistan [KRG] officials, because for thousands of years we have lived with Turks as siblings. After this happens, whenever it may be, Kurds should be able to exist freely. Turkey should take this into account and start an alliance with the Kurds.

Mr. Eli, as the person responsible for education in Kobane, I would like to hear some examples regarding the hardships of education there. Many schools are in ruins, at the moment students are getting their education at refugee camps. How is your work going and what do you require regarding education?

Hisen Mihemed Eli: Before ISIS attacked there were 13 schools in Kobane, now only 3 are standing. During the reconstruction of Kobane we want to build new schools in the place of the old ones. We are in need of every kind of educational materials. All International organisations should mobilize concerning education. Turkey should also ease the border control because people in Europe want to help in Kurdistan regarding education.

Dr. Nahsan Ahmed, you are responsible for health. Hospitals are ruined; there is a real problem with doctors and medication. What is the latest situation in the health field?

Dr. Nahsan Ahmed: After the attacks, the health services in Kobane have been completely disarranged. Serious problems are ongoing. First of all we need medications, because people are starting to return and day by day the numbers are rising. We need operation materials and oxygen tanks. Children have been seriously affected by the war; to deal with the psychological state of the children we need psychologists. There are still many ISIS corpses around the city in the debris, in the coming days this will cause health problems. There are also still many mortars which haven’t yet exploded, which is a great danger for children. International organisations need to help with this problem as soon as possible.

International organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Doctors without Borders would like to carry out projects in Kobane. Are you in dialogue wıth these organisations?

Dr. Nahsan Ahmed: We met with Doctors without Borders today, but because Turkish officials are creating difficulties they are unable to cross the border. Not just this organisation, but many international organisations want to see Kobane to be able to carry out their work. But like I mentioned there is a problem with crossing the border. Because of this no international organisation has been able to step into Kobane. There is no problem on our side; we are waiting for international organisations to come to Kobane as soon as possible.

Mr Ayhan, officials from Kobane have also mentioned the problems Turkey is creating at the border. Can America play a role in pressuring Turkey to change its position?

Ibrahim Ayhan: America can put pressure on Turkey. Turkey didn’t allow the Peshmerga to cross the border for a long time, but when America got involved the matter was resolved. We met with the governor and the deputy governor of Urfa to get permission for Doctors without Borders to cross into Kobane but the permission wasn’t granted. They have not been the only ones, there have been many organisations from European countries. These groups want to help Kobane in a huge way. To be able get permission for these committees to cross over to Kobane, America has to put pressure on Turkey.

The spokesperson for the American Ministry of Foreign affairs, Jen Psaki, has mentioned in the last few weeks that help will be continued for Syria, including for Kobane. Not just military, America also wants to provide humanitarian aid. As the HDP do you have interactions wıth the Americans with regards to a more active role?            

Ibrahim Ayhan: We have plans to meet with the American consulate in Adana in Suruc, we have spoken to them before. We plan to make these meetings more regular. America played a vital role with air strikes. We are going to require their help with other needs.

Experts claim that the American public played an effective role in the stance of US on Kobane?

Ibrahim Ayhan: Yes, this is true. Both the American and European public have been very influential. Work should be carried out and the problems Turkey has created should be nullified, because this is not just a Kurdish problem but global one.

Mr. Berkel, what kind of role can US play to change Turkey’s position on border control?

Xalil Berkel: With regards to the Peshmergas crossing and American air strikes, the American public had a big say on the matter. In the same way, we hope that they will play a major role in the reconstruction of Kobane, because a new Kobane will not just serve the Kurds but all humanity.

Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy

*Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy


By Mutlu Civiroglu and Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

Now that the anti-ISIS coalition has struck Raqqa in Syria, it must seriously consider the Kurds as its most effective on the ground partners. The Obama administration needs local partners in Iraq and Syria to fight against the jihadist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State) if it hopes to maintain any gains resulting from its attacks on ISIS positions.

A spokesperson of the main Kurdish armed group in Syria highlighted the importance of Kurdish assets. “Whoever wants to destroy ISIS should take YPG into consideration. Let me say clearly that any strategy in Syria without YPG is doomed to fail,” the People’s Protection Units (YPG) spokesperson Polat Can said in our interview with him. Given the Kurds’ extensive experience and professionalism, they represent the best the best chance to revitalize a beleaguered Syrian resistance and help President Obama achieve his objectives.

In his September 10 speech, President Obama ruled out the Assad regime as a partner in fighting ISIS and emphasized strengthening the Syrian opposition. “We must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all,” he said. While admirable that the president choose not to work with a man whose preferred strategy involves bombing his own civilian population, it leaves a dearth of effective partners on the ground. However, in Syria—just as in Iraq—cooperation between Kurds and Arabs could play a key role in eliminating ISIS. US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey recognized the fact that Kurds constitute an important part of Obama’s new strategy to fight ISIS.

Although Iraq has witnessed firsthand the effects of ISIS-induced instability, neighboring Syria has suffered far more with the advances and atrocities of the extremist group. ISIS has succeeded in wiping out many Syrian nationalist armed groups that comprise the bulk of moderate anti-Assad opposition. Both the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Kurds have faced attacks by ISIS, leading to incredibly large refugee flows into Turkey.

Nonetheless, the Kurdish YPG forces have successfully fought ISIS and won most of its battles in both Iraq and Syria. Not only was the YPG an asset in the rescue operation for thousands of Yezidis fleeing from Iraq’s Sinjar, it also secured a wide area in northern Syria from the Kurdish city of Afrin to Yarubiya, a town border to Iraq, despite the extremist push against Kurdish villages. These regions maintain relative stability compared to other parts of Syria, allowing Kurds, Arabs, and Christians to live peacefully together, thanks in large part to the ability of the YPG to keep a modicum of security.

Western diplomats have traditionally been reluctant to meet the PYD for their ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), viewed as a terrorist group in the United States and Turkey. After successful operations against ISIS extremists, however, both countries have begun reevaluating their positions towards it. The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials recognize the fact that Kurdish fighters in Syria may play a critical role in the campaign against ISIS, and have conducted talks with Syrian Kurds. The success of the YPG also prompted Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman to write about how the fight against ISIS has given the YPG and the PKK more legitimacy.

For their part, the Syrian Kurds have not only expressed interest and enthusiasm in pursuing Obama strategy against ISIS, they have already laid the groundwork for cooperation with Syrian nationalists. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), YPG Spokesman Polat Can said, “We are the most experienced military force fighting against IS, and we are willing to actively participate in the international coalition. We are currently meeting many countries on this issue including with those who are decision makers.”

As the YPG continue its fight against ISIS on several fronts, it hosted a former rival on August 22. FSA Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi sought to mend fences with the Kurds by meeting YPG commander with General Commander of YPG Sipan Hemo in the Kurdish city of Afrin, north of Aleppo. Al-Oqaidi, the former head of the FSA’s military council in Aleppo, initially angered the Kurds by fighting jointly with Islamist groups against the Kurds in Aleppo. The FSA said it attacked the YPG for supporting Assad. Kurds allege this led to the killing of nineteen Kurdish civilians and the kidnapping of at least 400 others by the various rebel groups.

But in January last year, alliances started to change, when the Free Syrian Army clashed with ISIS, and lost huge swaths of territory in Syria, including Raqqa and the oil fields in Deir Ezzor. This led new cooperation between rebel groups and the Kurds, resulting in an agreement between the YPG and the Ahl as-Sham operation room in April last year to fight ISIS in Aleppo, and to cooperate against Assad. On August 22, al-Akidi and an FSA-delegation apologized for the FSA’s past mistakes, saying that Kurds, Christians, and Arabs, should work for the overthrow of the Syrian regime. “We want to work with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the FSA if they accept the rights of Kurdish people and correct past mistakes,” Hemo said in a video.

In an exclusive interview, the Defense Minister of local Afrin Canton government Abdo Chilo, who took part in the meeting between the YPG and the FSA in Afrin, also told the Atlantic Council that the FSA wants to open a new page with the Kurds. “We told him we accepted his apology and we valued his visit. He realizes the power of YPG and wants closer relations with us, something we have long desired as well.”

The Kurds appear ready to fight alongside any secular group that will work for a pluralistic and democratic Syria against ISIS and the Assad regime. “We value Akidi’s visit and his request of help from YPG. It shows his willingness to work and create something good. We are ready to form a joint front with FSA and work against IS thugs and the brutal Assad regime,” Chilo added.

YPG spokesman Polat Can told Turkey’s daily Radikal that they are ready to work with anyone who is willing to fight against ISIS. “It has been over two years that we have been fighting against ISIS and like-minded extremist groups. We are keen on collaborating with moderate that respect to democracy, human rights and accept our national rights as Kurds.”

This historic meeting signifies a major starting point for effective cooperation against ISIS as well as the Assad regime. The meeting led to the formation of a new joint FSA-YPG operations room named “Euphrates Volcano” on September 10 in Kobane, which will carry out operations in areas surrounding Kobane, including the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqah. One day after its formation, the joint operation room carried out its first attack against ISIS in Qara Qawzak.

Abdurrahman Saleh, a spokesperson for ISIS, confirmed in our interview with him an alliance between Syrian anti-Assad rebels and Kurds, but suggested it to be a local alliance rather than a cohesive policy. “Some battalions of al-Tawheed brigade in Aleppo cooperate with the YPG against ISIS, but I do not know if this is a general decision, or a specific case. It may be a local agreement, rather than an overall strategy,” he said.

The new rebel alliance between the Kurds and the FSA could provide a determining factor to stop the expansion of the ISIS caliphate. If the FSA and the YPG can maintain a joint front, it will likely have a major impact on the success of fight both the militant group and the Assad regime in the longer run. The YPG, with its experienced and skilled fighters and strong popular support can provide a morale boost for the secular and moderate Syrian opposition and be a determining factor in preventing ISIS expansion in Syria. For Obama and the anti-ISIS coalition, keeping the Kurds incentivized to be their boots on the ground will be the key to fighting this war.

Mutlu Civiroglu is a Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. He has been closely monitoring YPG’s fight against IS and other jihadist groups. You can follow him on Twitter @mutludc

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is an analyst of Kurdish politics for the Jamestown Foundation and a contributing writer for Al-Monitor

* This article was originally published on Atlantic Council Website on September 23,  2014