Tag Archives: Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG)

YPG Commander Kocher: We Are Expecting More Foreigners Will Join YPG Soon

Hisên Koçer
YPG Commander Husein Kocher Photo: Hawar News

One of the senior commanders of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Serekeniye (Ras al-Ain) Husein Kocher commenting on recent increase in foreigners joining YPG.

Mutlu Civiroglu          https://twitter.com/mutludc

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Thanks to the resistance in Kobane that is ongoing for 80 days, YPG has become an internationally recognized force. As a result, people from the USA, Britain, Holland, Austria, and Canada and elsewhere are joining you. What do you want to say on this?

YPG is the only force fighting on a ground war against the terrorist organization ISIS which is targeting the whole world. While struggling against this terrorist organization, YPG is fighting on behalf of the all humanity.

A Group of Foreign YPG Fighters
A Group of Foreign YPG Fighters

A large number of peace willing, democratic people who appreciate our struggle are coming from different countries including the USA, France, England and Turkey to join YPG. Even a woman from Israel is among these people. They regard this force as a power which protects the values and will of their communities. That’s why they feel compassionate towards Kurds and join YPG. In other words, YPG is a force representing these people in any matter.

Everybody knows that YPG is fighting for their values, brotherhood and peace. That is why these people want to fight in the ranks of YPG. The way YPG is internationally known, once these people join YPG, they are also known by their communities and respected in their own country.

Amerikali YPG Savaşçısı Jeremy Woodard
American YPG Fighter Jeremy Woodard

I can say the number of foreigners joining YPG is noticeably important and these people are fighting for the sake of humanity, for the values of their own communities. We have information that many people desire to join us from Europe, the USA, and even from China. Many people contact our friends via internet however; there are some difficulties in reaching us. Still, we are expecting an increase in the number of new people joining YPG in upcoming days.

Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem: The Fall of Kobane Would Be the Fall of Humanity

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Anwar Moslem on the right with dark shirt

In an exclusive interview conducted on Wednesday, Ovober 8, 20014, the Premier of local Kurdish Kobane Canton administration Anwar Moslem provides important update about Kobane and ongoing ISIS attacks against the city.

Mutlu Civiroglu https://twitter.com/mutludc

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Mr. Moslem, what’s the current situation in Kobane?

ISIS hasn’t withdrawn yet. ISIS is still in the eastern, southeastern and southern [parts of the town. They are a little away from the western section. Clashes continue so far. Fierce ffightings are taking place. They aim for a massacre. There are thousands of civilians here; children, women and elderly. As the resistance is in its 24th day, they want to crush it spitefully with all the civilians as well. The fact is there is heroic resistance here by Kurdish Protection Units (YPG). American and coalition air strikes are very welcome here by our forces and the Canton administration.

Tell me about the civilians inside Kobane. There are reports that all civilians left the city?

Claims that there are no civilians in Kobane are false. Nobody can, nobody dares to get out of their homes as there are fierce clashes and flying bullets everywhere. There are thousands of civilians under the ISIS threat. Some are here in the city; some others are close to the border. Their situation is getting worse and dangerous. Some media say Kobane is empty. It’s not true. There are civilians even in the villages ISIS has overrun. Their situation too is dangerous. I repeat that there are civilians in the town. I can’t give you an exact number, but there are thousands of civilians here. If the media wants we can provide pictures and interviews with civilians. Our main purpose in calling the international community is protecting these civilians, children and women.

American and coalition air strikes have had effective results in the last two days. When jets strike civilians in the city cheer up. They salute American jets. Defense Ministry of the Kobane administration said, in a statement, that our YPG forces and the coalition partners can root out ISIS from the Middle East.

You mentioned airstrikes. How effective are today’s air strikes?

They are effective today as well. But we cannot know how much exactly. As the fighting rages on we can’t determine the effect. We are in touch with our forces who witness air strikes. But they are usually busy in fighting ISIS militants. We don’t want to keep them busy, so we avoid calling them frequently.

The jets carry out a good mission, especially for the well-being of civilians. That’s why the continuation of air strikes in Kobane against ISIS is important. The destruction of ISIS’s tanks, Humvees and other heavy vehicles is of utmost importance. Today they carried out a car bomb attack. That’s why American, British, French and all other coalition partner’s jets should continue targeting ISIS in Kobane Canton. ISIS receives reinforcement from Tal Abyad and Raqqah. The coalition partners should be tracking them better. They must stop them. So that we can finish them off inside Kobane and save the civilians.

Some media reports claim these airstrikes are useless. Are they?

No, they are pretty effective in last two days. As the head of the Canton Administration, I recognize the fact that they are helpful and effective. ISIS militants are using artillery they brought from Mosul, and it is used against the civilians as well. So why should the coalition stop the bombardment? The coalition is saving these civilians and the canton. So be it known by all sides that YPG on the ground with the American and coalition jets overhead can fight ISIS off.

Is YPG capable of expelling ISIS from Kobane?

Yes, as long as their artillery, vehicles and tanks are destroyed, new reinforcements are cut off; we don’t have anti-tank weaponry by the way, our forces can finish them off. YPG has promised to annihilate those thugs.

What about YPG loses and injuries? How many ISIS fighters were killed?

YPG and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) are the sons and daughters of this people. Most of these fighters are in their twenties. They fight against ISIS looters, thieves whose aim is destruction.

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Arin Mirkan

ISIS commits inhuman actions; they behead even our girls. YPG and YPJ are fighting against such a cruel terrorist group.

A young Kurdish woman Arin Mirkan who was a YPJ commander chose to detonate herself among a group of ISIS members. Rather than surrendering to ISIS, she chose sacrificing her life such in such heroic way.

But, we are hopeful that our forces with the help of the coalition partners can fight ISIS till they are annihilated, and we can rebuild peace and stability once more.

What about the reaction of people around the globe to your case? American people are deeply concerned that the Kobane will fall. Similarly people in other corner of the world have similar concerns for you.

ACW

The memory of 9/11 is with us. We especially want to reach out to the American people and their government. We know their suffering too. We remember terrorist attacks against civilians in Spain, France and elsewhere. We are aware of what happened innocent journalists and aid workers at terrorists’ hands.

We, as the administration of Kobane Canton, call upon all sides to challenge the threat together as to create security. We believe in support of the American people and people all over the world.

I would like to tank all human rights defenders in becoming a voice for the voiceless Kobane. I am very grateful on behalf of the people of Kobane. I want everyone to know that fall of Kobane would be the fall of humanity. I therefore appeal everyone to stand up for Kobane and stand with us in these very difficult days.

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If you want my participation to a show, interview me or get a quote on Kobane and other Kurdish related issues, please contact me at mciviroglu@gmail.com

You can follow me on Twitter for latest updates from Kobani  https://twitter.com/mutludc

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This interview was translated from Kurdish into English by Ê Din

An Exclusive Interview with Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem About Ongoing ISIS Attacks

Moslem: International Community Should Support Kobane Against ISIS

Mutlu Civiroglu https://twitter.com/mutludc Kobane_YPG

Mr Anwar Moslem, Premier of Kobane Canton in Rojava, over the recent days, the ISIS has been waging remarkably severe attacks on Kobane and its surrounding villages. First of all, please give us the latest about what has been going on in Kobane?

Enwer Mislim

Anwar Moslem: Yes, that’s right. It is almost a year a devastating war has been waging on Kobane in order to seize it. But since two days ago, they have been waging an unprecedented attack on Kobane from east, south, and west with the tanks, artilleries, and Humvees they had seized in Mosul. They have been doing their very best to make Kobane give up. They have an intention of committing a massacre in Kobane like how they made people of Shengal flee, how they were massacred, how women were seized and enslaved, how kids were killed; the ISIS wants to inflict the same predicament upon Kobane. That’s why a remarkable resistance and bravery, led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is being waged against those extremist forces. But unfortunately, their heavy weaponry have caused many problems for us. Our people’s resistance, however, has been noticeable until the moment we are having this conversation.

How long people of Kobane will be able to resist in front of those heavy weaponry shown on videos?

Anwar Moslem: Kobane’s resistance had been substantiated before, and it is going on again. They are using the very sophisticated and developed American weaponry e.g. tanks, Humvees, and long-range mortars they seized in Mosul. People of Kobane are saying, as they had frequently said before, “we will resist till the last one of us gets martyred.” Indeed, there has been a historic YPG resistance; it is not sufficient, though. They are in desperate need of an international support. Kobane Canton needs support of all Kurds living inside or outside Kurdistan. The situation is extremely dangerous. If something happens to Kobane, all those who claim they care about human rights and lives will be held accountable.

You pointed to an international support. A special meeting was held in Paris; The US president, Barack Obama, has released several speeches talking about a military operation against the ISIS. Have you ever received any assistance from these forces thus far? Or, have you had any meeting with them asking them to help you?

Anwar Moslem: I am afraid we have not received any assistance till this moment. Despite what had been agreed upon in Paris and the US president Obama’s emphasis upon the attack against the ISIS, nothing has been dispatched to us so far. We hope the international community and especially the USA, Russia, France, and the UK will get started with attacking the ISIS as soon as possible. The ISIS is growing so fast and if this trend does not stop, they will be too strong to be defeated by people; and, that’s when we will witness a huge, bloody massacre. We hope that those states will come to help us through attacking the ISIS as soon as possible.

There are some accusations spreading in Kurdish media based upon which Turkey has been helping the ISIS, and a train had been sent to the border carrying assistance to the ISIS. What do you have to say in this regard?

Anwar Moslem: Based on the intelligence we got two days before the breakout of the current war, trains full of forces and ammunition, which were passing by north of Kobane, had an-hour-and-ten-to-twenty-minute-long stops in these villages: Salib Qaran, Gire Sor, Moshrefat Ezzo. There are evidences, witnesses, and videos about this. What attracts one’s attention is why the ISIS is strong only in Kobane’s east? Why is it not strong neither in its south nor in west? Since these trains stopped in those villages located in east of Kobane, we guess they had brought ammunition and additional force for the ISIS.

Well, where are those videos? How can public opinion get access to them?

Anwar Moslem: Most of our witnesses are the ones forced to leave those villages. If news agencies come to the region, we will help them meet those IDPs. If members of international organizations come to visit Kobane, they will be able to meet all those who have seen the trains. To make trains stop in villages controlled by the ISIS persuades one that something wrong is going on.

There are many reports about a couple of villages seized by the ISIS. I want to know if there is a tactic to leave those villages or not. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the number of those villages is twenty. How many villages the YPG have lost so far, and what are the reasons for these losses?

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Anwar Moslem: we know how barbaric the ISIS has attacked civilians in those villages. It has been shelling those villages in order to force residents leave their villages. According to the YPG, 15 villages have been left so far whereas the resistance is still going on. Those who have left their villages are afraid of the ISIS atrocious methods in treating civilians. That’s why, they have fled to Kobane. But a severe response will be waged soon.

How far the ISIS is from Kobane city?

Anwar Moslem: They are 25 to 30 kilometers far from Kobane.

You addressed the world community. What do you have to say to Kurds?

Anwar Moslem: Kobane is the manifestation of Kurds’ will. Kobane is a part of Rojava. Kobane is a part of Kurdistan. Kobane’s collapse is Kurdish people’s collapse. And, we do not want it to collapse. We are calling upon those from Kobane living outside to come back to Kobane, center of honor and bravery, in order to protect their own people. We are calling on all Kurdish people, especially those from Northern Kurdistan [Kurdistan of Turkey), to head towards Kobane and protect their own brothers and sisters again, like they had done it before.

We are calling upon Kurds of Eastern and Southern Kurdistan [Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan] to come and participate in this resistance. Whoever of honor and conscience, based upon their opportunity, via demonstrations, via holding protests in front of embassies of those countries helping the ISIS, they can help Kobane. These activities will inspire our girls and boys in the battlefield.

Based upon some Kurdish news agencies, those from Kobane living outside and want to go back to Kobane are facing hardships in the border line by the Turkish authorities. Do you confirm these news?

Anwar Moslem: Yes, that’s right. It regularly happens. But our people from Northern Kurdistan will also join us despite the difficulties created by the Turkish authorities. Those who want to cross the border to Kobane, they can do it one way or another despite all those hardships. But Turkish authorities must realize that if the ISIS seizes Kobane, they will soon head to Turkey. Turkish officials must take this fact into account and help Kobane and let Kobane’s boys and girls cross the borders to their own city.

I want to know the number of casualties. How many YPG fighters have lost their lives? How many of the ISIS members have been killed? Yesterday, there were some news about the high number of the ISIS casualties in the Manbij Hospital. Give us some information in this regard, please.

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Anwar Moslem: That’s right. YPG’s heroic resistance has inflicted a high number of casualties upon them, not only in Manbij but also in Tel Abyad as well. Today, some of their wounded members were crossed into Turkey in order to get cured. We have had 8 martyrs until this moment. But, tens of their members have been killed so far.

How can it be possible? I mean, despite all their heavy attacks, why the YPG’s casualties are not high?

Anwar Moslem: The ISIS wages attacks with high numbers upon a given place. And, the YPG members resist. Since they are in an offensive and we are in a defensive position, despite our light weaponry, we inflict high casualties upon them without having many martyrs. And, sometimes we do tactical withdrawals.

What about Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG’s) support. Have you ever received any assistance from the KRG?

Anwar Moslem: We hope to be heard by the KRG. We have not received any support up until now. But we are looking forward to receiving help from our brothers in Southern Kurdistan. They have already witnessed what happened to Ezidi Kurds in Shengal [Sinjar]. Let us not allow the same massacres to take place in Kobane. That’s why we hope people of Southern Kurdistan will join this campaign in defense of Kobane.

My last question is, as the president of Kobane Canton, you visit villages. I want to know about people’s spirit in Kobane and its surrounding villages.

Anwar Moslem: Despite the heavy war going on, people’s spirit is noticeably high. The vast majority of them say they will continue their resistance before they make these attacks fail. But unfortunately, there is a small number of people who are scared of ISIS atrocities. They want to leave Kobane but a whopping majority of people, including Arabs and Turkmens, have been resisting against the ISIS and their spirit is remarkably impressive.

Again, we are repeating our call upon international forces especially USA, UK and France and others to help Kobane against the ISIS whose only goal is to annihilate all dissident peoples and religions.

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You can follow me on Twitter for updates from Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq @mutludc

For feedback, question and interview requests: mciviroglu@gmail.com or +1202-241-0506

Yezidi Demonstration in Washington, DC

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Yezidi Children and Women Arrive Rojava

Ezidi_Girl_Rojava

A group up of Yezidi children and elderly women arrive in Kurdish Syria known as Rojava after Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) open a safe way for them.

These women tell how their beloved ones remained behind and they were without food and water for days in  tearful eyes

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ISIS Attacks on Kobane and YPG’s Response

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Mutlu Civiroglu

After taking over Mosul and some other cities in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) or with its new name Islamic State (IS) has launched a large offensive against Kobane (Ain al-Arab) on Wednesday, July 2. ISIS attacks supported by 10 tanks and other armored vehicles including US Humvees, were concentrated in the west of Kobane around several villages mostly against Zormixar, a strategic village overlooking town of Jarablus.

One important difference of these recent attacks is that ISIS has been employing many Western made heavy weapons seized from Iraqi army around Mosul in the past weeks. Moreover, YPG sources are stating that Iraqi generals from the Saddam era have joined ISIS and are coordinating the attacks against the Kurds. The main questions for Syria analysts was whether or not the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) had advanced weaponry and military capabilities that could repel these attacks and keep control of the region.

Two days after the offensive, on Friday, the YPG withdrew from Zormixar and other villages after ISIS bombarded the region with over 3000 mortars. Although YPG forces stated that this was a tactical move, some analysts interpreted this as a sign of possible defeat. After fierce clashes between the two sides, YPG forces managed to take back control of Zormixar as well as Khrab Ato, Bayadia, Ziyareteh and Jadidah villages. Currently some smaller scale clashes continue with remaining ISIS fighters, but local sources say the situation is pretty much under YPG control and the morale of the people of high.

YPG Media Office announced on Sunday, July 6 that ISIS offensive had been broken and around 200 ISIS fighters were killed. Sources that I spoke with in Kobane also verified that a lot of ISIS fighters had been killed and that their unburied bodies were scattered all over the battle field. Local sources also report that some of the fighters were blonde haired and bright skinned in appearance. According to YPG statements around 40 of their own fighters lost their lives in these recent attacks.

YPG also announced that its forces destroyed several ISIS tanks and other vehicles as well as seizing a wide range of weapons and ammunition.

Why Does ISIS Focus it’s Attacks on Kobane?
ISIS attacks against Kobane are significant for several reasons. First, with the recent confidence gained by taking over Mosul and other cities in Iraq, ISIS wants to expand its control over a larger territory of Syria as well. After seizing two oil fields from a rival extremist group, ISIS wants to seize Kobane which remains in the middle of territories under its control. ISIS currently controls Girsespi (Tall Abyad), Jarablus and Raqqah. It desperately wants Kobane to connect the regions under its control and make it a part of the “Islamic State”. Taking control of such an important city will enable ISIS to seize new territories from the direction of east and west, in addition to connecting Tall Abyad and Jarablus.

Furthermore, being a border city with Suruc of Sanliurfa province of Turkey, seizing Kobane will also allow ISIS to control the Mursitpinar Border Gate with Turkey as well. It is well known that ISIS gives specific importance to border gates especially for trade, easy crossing for fighters and logistics, the treatment of injured fighters etc. In this regard, it is increasingly likely that ISIS will plan attacks on other border crossings controlled by the Kurds like Serekaniye and Til Kochar (Yarubia), and crossings controlled by rival Islamist groups in Azaz.

In addition, ISIS also wants to cut Kobane from the Kurdish Mountain Region (Kurd Dagh) or Canton of Afrin and Canton of Jazira (Hasakah). As of now, moving between three Kurdish Cantons is difficult. According to local officials, currently hundreds of civilians are also held hostage in Jarablus and Tall Abyad. Also some 130 Kurdish students who were kidnapped by the group remain in captivity for over a month after they were kidnapped as they were returning from school exams in Aleppo. Despite all calls from international human rights groups those children and other civilians are still not released and are being used as a bargaining chip to pressurize YPG, according to local human rights defenders.
If Kobane falls to ISIS, such a possibility will bring some additional advantages for ISIS to further pursue its goals. It is apparent that ISIS does not hesitate to use any means to seize the city including kidnapping civilians and crucifying them, destroying houses and taking properties and even cutting off the water of the city.

Due to the fact that the taking of Kobane will be very advantageous for ISIS, it is not holding back from committing all sorts of cruelty against the people. ISIS is kidnapping civilians, publicly crucifying them and killing them by torture. Local sources are frequently reporting that ISIS is ransacking civilian homes and confiscating civilian property. As a matter of fact, it is well known that ISIS has on several occasions cut off the drinking water supply to Kobane.

One other factor to remember is that Kobane is the first city in Rojava to have been freed from the Assad regime on July 19, 2012. Therefore, the city has a special meaning for Kurds in Rojava. If the Kurds lose this city it will also have a demoralizing impact on them and their struggle for self-rule. Therefore, attacking Kobane is also attacking the massive gains of the Kurds in Syria, and a message for Kurds that ISIS [and its regional supporters] will not allow Kurdish autonomy in Syria. YPG sources and local officials expect that ISIS will be very likely to intensify its attacks as the second anniversary of the Kurdish takeover of the city approaches.

In fact, already news has come in that on Monday and Tuesday July 7and 8, ISIS launched new attacks on Kobane from the south and the east. YPG announced that in the fighting that occurred 35km south of Kobane close to Kunheftar, 40 members of ISIS were killed and that 2 YPG fighters had lost their lives.

YPG, along with the Kurdish Front (KF) and some other Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades, also managed to break ISIS attacks from the east of Kobane which were aimed at sandwiching in YPG forces from both directions. It is known that there was intense clashes between YPG fighters and hundreds of ISIS fighters supported by tanks from Tall Abyad who had launched an attack that began on Monday, the 7th of July and continued on Tuesday and Wednesday. Local sources reported that the YPG had destroyed several tanks and killed tens of ISIS members while also adding that the YPH had also suffered serious losses.

On the 9th of July, news came in from Kobane that 2 of the YPG fighters had possibly lost their lives as a result of a chemical weapon. It is worth reminding that the internationally respected Syrian Observatory For Human Rights also reported on this allegation on Wednesday.

As of now, despite ISIS’s possession of advanced weaponry from Iraq, it has been unable to gain the upper hand over the YPG, known for its high military capabilities, its discipline and its popular support. However, as stated above, it is highly likely that ISIS will continue its attacks. In this regard, the statements of the administration of the Kobane Canton, PYD leader Salih Muslim and, on behalf of the KCK, Murat Karayilan on Kobane are very important. Local officials say hundreds of Kobane residents are returning home from neighboring countries to defend their city. Also, hundreds of Kurds from Turkey crossed border to fight against ISIS alongside YPG forces. It is without a doubt that the future of Kobane is both significant for the Kurdish gains in Rojava, and also for the Kurds in other parts.

ISIS Attacks on Hasakah

In the long run reaching Hasakah is one of the major goals of ISIS. But, Hasakah is currently controlled by three different forces, YPG (in Kurdish side of the city), Assad and the opposition. So, it is not that easy for ISIS to take control of Hasakah, but they certainly want to expand their control in Syria.

Hasakah City is the administrative center of the Hasakah governorate. It is an important road junction near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. It is also an important agricultural region; wheat, rice, cotton etc. It is also close to the oil fields in north (Ramalan area). In a way, controlling Hasakah will provide any group with an important advantage over the others.

Given YPG’s superior military capabilities, discipline and its large popular support base it makes it very difficult for ISIS to defeat YPG in Kobane, Hasakah or elsewhere. Even with advanced Western weaponry ISIS obtained from Iraq seem to have not helped the group to seize Kobane thus far.

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IŞİD Neden Sürekli Kobanê’ye Saldırıyor?

Kobane_Civilians
Irak ve Şam İslam Devleti’nin ele geçirmek istediği Kobanê’nin büyük bir önemi buluyor. Musul’da ele geçirdiği ağır ve gelişmiş silahları kullanan IŞİD’in bu kente girmesi demek hem doğu hem de batıdan geniş hareket alanı bulması anlamına gelecek.

Haber: MUTLU ÇİVİROĞLU / Arşivi

RADİKAL – Irak’ta Musul’u ve diğer birkaç bölgeyi ele geçiren Irak ve Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) yeni ismi ile İslami Devlet (IS) 2 Temmuz’da Kobanê’ye büyük bir saldırı başlattı. 10 tank ve başka ağır araçlar tarafından desteklendiği bildirilen bu saldırılarını Kobanê’nin batısındaki bir kaç köy, özellikle de Cerablus için stratejik değeri olan Zormixar bölgesinin etrafında yoğunlaştırdı.

Son saldırıların önemli bir farkı ise IŞİD’in geçen haftalarda Musul ve çevresinde elde ettiği ağır ve gelişmiş silahları ve kullanmasıydı. Hatta yakın dönemde IŞİD’e dahil olan bazı Saddam dönemi Iraklı subayların da Kürtlere karşı saldırıları yönettikleri YPG kaynaklarınca dillendirilmekte. Durum böyle olunca Suriye ’yi yakından takip eden uzmanların merakla sordukları soru, YPG’nin böylesi gelişmiş silahlarla yapılan saldırıları püskürtüp bölgeyi elde tutacak imkânlarının olup olmamasıydı.

IŞİD gerçekleştirdiği 3.000 ‘den fazla havan saldırısından sonra, YPG güçleri Cuma günü Zormixar ve diğer köylerden çekildi. YPG’nin taktiksel bir hamle olarak duyurduğu bu geri çekilme, akıllara ‘bir yenilgi mi ?’ sorusunu getrdi. İki taraf arasındaki şiddetli çatışmaların ardından YPG güçleri Cumartesi günü Zormixar’ın yanı sıra Xirabato, Ziyaretê ve Cedide köylerini geri almayı başardı. Şu anda bazı küçük çaplı çatışmaların devam ettiği fakat bölgenin YPG’nin kontrolü altında olduğu ve oradaki halkın moralinin yüksek olduğu bilgisi geliyor.

YPG Basın Merkezi 6 Temmuzda yaptığı açıklamada IŞİD saldırılarının kırılmış olup 200’e yakın IŞİD savaşçısının öldürüldüğünü duyurdu. Yerel kaynaklar da bu sayıyı doğruluyor. Tarlalarda gömülmeden bırakılan IŞİD’e ait birçok cesedin içinde sarı saçlı ve beyaz tenli olanlarının da bulunduğu belirtiliyor. YPG’nin açıklamalarına göre son saldırılarda 20 civarında savaşçının hayatını kaybettiği görülüyor. Yine, IŞİD’e ait 2 tank ve birkaç ağır aracın YPG tarafından tahrip edildiği, birçok silah ve mühimmatın de ele geçirildiği YPG açıklamalarında dile getirilmekte.

 

IŞİD NEDEN SÜREKLİ KOBANÊ’YE SALDIRIYOR?

Bu saldırıların birçok nedeni var. Birincisi IŞİD Musul ve Irak’taki diğer şehirlerde elde ettiği başarılardan güven alarak Suriye toprakları üzerindeki kontrolünü de genişletmek istiyor. Bunun dışında Kobanê, şu an IŞİD’in kontrolünde bulunan Girespi (Til Abyad), Cerablus ve Rakka’nın ortasında bir ada gibi duruyor. Kobanê’yi bu kendi kontrolü altındaki bölgeleri birbirine bağlamak için ve de yeni ilan ettiği “İslam Devletinin” bir parçası yapmak istiyor. Böylesi önemli bir şehrin kontrolünü ele geçirmesi demek, hem doğu hem de batıdan geniş hareket alanı bulması anlamına gelecek, yeni topraklar ele geçirmesini kolaylaştıracak.

Bunun dışında, Kobanê’nin ele geçmesiyle beraber Urfa’nın Suruç ilçesindeki Mürşitpınar Sınır Kapısı’nın kontrolünü de ele geçirmiş olacak. IŞİD’in özellikle ticaret, eleman ve mühimmat geçişi, hastaların tedavisi vb. nedenlerden dolayı sınır kapılarına önem verdiği biliniyor. Bu bağlamda önümüzdeki dönemlerde Kürtlerin elinde bulunan Serekaniye ve Til Koçer ile diğer İslami grupların elinde bulunan Azaz’daki sınır kapılarına saldırılar düzenlemesi muhtemel.

Bu saldırılarla IŞİD, ayrıca Kobanê’yi Kürt Dağı Bölgesi yani Afrin Kantonu ve Cezire Kantonlardan da koparmak istiyor. Şu sıralar üç Kürt Kantonu arasında gidiş gelişler oldukça zor. Yerel yetkililere göre birçok sivil Cerablus ve Til Abyad’da IŞİD tarafından rehin tutuluyor.

Aynı şekilde IŞİD tarafından Minbiç yakınlarında kaçırılan yüzden fazla Kürt öğrenci bir ayı aşkın zamandır rehin tutuluyor. Gerek İnsan Hakları İzleme Örgütü (HRW), gerek UNICEF ve de diğer kurumların tüm çağrılara rağmen bu çocuklar ve diğer siviller halen serbest bırakılmış değiller. Kobanê Kanton yetkilileri ve bölgedeki insan hakları savunucuları, IŞİD’in rehin tuttuğu çocukları ve diğer sivilleri YPG’ye karşı baskı oluşturmak ve arkasındaki halk desteğini yok etmek için kullandığını belirtmekteler. Bu kaynaklar IŞİD’in ayrıca YPG’nin elindeki üyelerini salıverilmesi konusunda bir pazarlık kozu olarak da sivilleri kaçırdığını iddia etmekteler.

Kobanê’nin IŞİD’in eline geçmesi, örgüte birçok avantaj getireceği için oradaki halka her türlü zulüm yapılmaktan kaçınmıyor. IŞİD siviller kaçırıyor, bazılarını alenen çarmıha gerip, işkenceyle öldürüyor. Birçok defa sivillerin evlerinin tahrip edildiği ve mal ve mülklerine de el konulduğunu yerel kaynaklar sıkça dile getiriyorlar. Hatta Kobanê’nin içme suyunun bile IŞİD tarafından birçok defa kesildiği de kamuoyu tarafından bilinen bir durum.

Devam eden bu saldırıların bir diğer önemli nedeni ise Kobanê’nin 19 Temmuz 2012’de Esad rejiminden kurtulan ilk şehir olması ve Rojavalı Kürtler için manevi bir öneme sahip olması. Kürtlerin bu şehri kaybetmesi büyük bir moral kırıklığı yaratacak ve elde ettikleri kazanımlara büyük bir darbe olacak. Yani Kobanê’ye yapılan saldırılar Kürtlerin Suriye’de elde ettiği başarılara da bir saldırı anlamına da geliyor. YPG kaynaklarına ve yerel yetkililere göre IŞİD muhtemelen saldırılarını Kürtlerin Kobanê’yi alışının ikinci yıldönümünde artırarak devam edeceği.

Zaten hafta başından beri IŞİD’in hem güneyden, hem de doğudan yeni saldırılara başladığı haberleri de gelmekte. YPG, Kobanê’nin 35 kilometre güneyinde bulunan Kunheftar yakınlarındaki çatışmalarda 40’a yakın IŞİD üyesinin öldürüldüğünü, kendilerinin de 2 kayıp verdiklerini belirtmekte.

IŞİD’in, Kobanê’nin batısıyla birlikte eşzamanlı olarak doğudan yani Akçale’nin karşısındaki Til Abyad’dan yapmaya çalıştığı ilk saldırılar ise YPG, Kürt Cephesi ve Özgür Suriye Ordusu (ÖSO)’ya bağlı bazı grupların da desteğiyle püskürtüldü. IŞİD bu saldırıyla YPG’yi her iki yönden kıstırmayı amaçlıyordu ki bunda başarılı olamadı. 7 Temmuz Pazartesi günü başlayan ve bugün Salı da yoğunlaşarak devam eden çatışmalarda ise, yine Til Abyad’dan saldırıya geçen IŞİD güçleriyle YPG arasında sert çarpışmaların yaşandığı haberleri gelmekte.

Şu an itibariyle görünen, IŞİD’in Irakta ele geçirdiği gelişmiş silahlara rağmen yüksek askeri kabiliyeti ve disiplini ile bilinen ve geniş halk tabanı olan YPG karşısında üstünlük sağlayamadığı. Fakat yukarda da belirttiğimiz gibi IŞİD’in önümüzdeki günlerde saldırılarına devam etmesi de oldukça güçlü bir ihtimal. Bu nedenle de hem Kobanê Kantonu yönetimi ve Salih Müslim, hem de KCK adına Murat Karayılan’ın açıklamaları dikkat çekici. Hiç şüphe yok ki Kobanê’nin geleceği hem Rojava’daki kazanımlar, hem de Kürtlerin tamamı için önemli bir role sahip olacak.

http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/isid_neden_surekli_kobanye_saldiriyor-1201038

Trenches Between KRG and Rojava

ImageThe issue of trenches on the border between Iraqi Kurdistan Region and Rojava has been one of the most important issues for the Kurds in last several weeks.

Barzani led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) says these trenches are intended for preventing ISIS and other extremist groups from crossing the border. Yet, this notion has not convinced many.

Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG), who has successfully been fighting against ISIS and other radical groups, is strongly rejecting the idea that Islamic extremists ever use the region where trenches are dug. Democratic Union Party (PYD) also believes the trenches are dug by KDP to further deepen the ongoing embargo on Rojava, and punish the people for supporting the PYD.

In Iraqi Kurdistan Region there is generally a consensus among political parties against these trenches with the exception of KDP. Indeed, in regards to Rojava generally, Goran, PUK, Islamic parties and other smaller parties have a different view than KDP; they are more supportive of PYD and Cantons declared in three regions of Rojava. Since the KDP is the strongest party in Iraqi Kurdistan, and control much of the government, none of these parties really have power to stand against KDP’s policies.

Something certain about these trenches is that they have caused deep wounds in the conscious of many Kurds. Regardless of what political parties say, people commonly view these trenches as something further dividing them and legitimizing the borders which they never accepted. That is the reason for the strong reaction coming from Kurds living in different parts of the world against these ditches.

Finally, it should be noted that people in both sides of the trenches are close relatives that were divided by those borders. Despite those borders they continued visiting each other facing many difficulties. Now they fear that these trenches will separate them forever…

Are Syrian Kurds Being Left Out in Geneva 2

 Are Syrian Kurds Being Left Out in Geneva 2?

Yesterday, Syrian Kurds said they would form an autonomous provincial government in Rojava, the Kurdish-language term for one of three majority-Kurdish regions in northeast Syria. The self-proclaimed government is complete with its own president and ministers. 

The move comes two months after the country’s Kurds declared self-rule. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said elections for the new municipal council would be held this spring.

The announcement comes as Kurds are left without representation at this week’s Montreux peace talks, a U.N.-backed gathering of Syrian opposition groups, government representatives and international powers.

“Kurds have been struggling for decades. Hundreds of activists were tortured by the regime,” says Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based journalist and Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. “Ignoring the Kurds has a symbolic meaning that the future of Syria will not be any different for Kurds.”

We asked Civiroglu, Wladimir van Wilgenburg, a Middle East Analyst for the Jamestown Foundation specializing in Kurdish politics and Dilshad Othman, a Syrian specialist in information security and a U.S State Department Internet Freedom fellow to weigh in on the consequences of Kurds being left out of this week’s negotiations.

Syria Deeply: What do Syrian Kurds want from the Geneva peace talks?

Wladimir van Wilgenburg: The main Kurdish parties want some kind of recognition of a Kurdish status in Syria. They want to have recognition for a form of self-rule over their own areas, such as autonomy, federalism or democratic autonomy. This is quite similar to what the Kurds in Iraq have. But the West wants the Syrian Kurds to be part of the Syrian opposition, or excluded from Geneva II. As a result, the Kurdish National Council, one of the main Kurdish power blocs, joined the Syrian Coalition due to Western pressure.

Now the PYD fears that their demands are not recognized and that it could turn out to be a second Lausanne that led to the creation of Turkey and the division of the Kurdish areas in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, without granting them any form of Kurdish autonomy or independence, as promised by the earlier treaty of Sevres.

Mutlu Civiroglu: Two major Kurdish umbrella groups, the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan (PCWK) and the Syrian Kurdish National Council (SKNC), recently announced they had reached agreement on several key issues, including unified Kurdish participation at the Geneva II Conference. This joint delegation wasn’t recognized at Geneva. Kurdish activists now feel that their demands are ignored, and their voices are silenced.

Kurds want to participate in Geneva II as Kurds, the biggest ethnic minority in the country and one of the groups that has been fighting the regime’s repression for decades. Hundreds of activists were tortured by the regime. Ignoring the Kurds has a symbolic meaning, which is that the future of Syria will not be any different for Kurds.

Dishad Othman: Most Kurds want the right to independent political decisions. They want to play a strong part in any decision-making process.

Kurds are trying to bring their case to any table, even Geneva II. Kurds were also targeted in military attacks. Of course they want a role in the decision-making process. They want to know how they will be represented in the “new Syria.”

SD: Why are Kurdish interests being negated at the talks?

WW: It’s not seen as an important issue, and the U.S. thinks that the Kurds should negotiate Kurdish rights with the Syrian opposition, rather than imposing unilateral decisions on the ground and declaring autonomy.

Moreover, the United States wants to exclude PYD from the negotiations since the U.S. is closely allied to Turkey, which opposes PYD, and also since it considers PYD to be close to the Syrian regime and the United States also claims that it wants to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria. In Iraq, the United States prefers Baghdad over the Kurds, and in Syria, the U.S. also prefers the Syrian state over the Kurds (in this case, the Syrian opposition, or Assad).

The Kurds feel excluded and suggest that neither the Syrian opposition nor the Syrian government recognize any form of Kurdish autonomy, although Assad is flirting with the Kurds by allowing them the rights of education and giving them back Syrian citizenship. The Kurds want to have an independent delegation to push for Kurdish rights, instead of just discussing the future of Assad and a new government.

SD: What will be the consequences if Kurdish interests are ignored at the negotiating table?

WW: I doubt that the Geneva conference will lead to any solution since the main armed groups are not involved in the discussions, such as the Kurdish YPG militia, the Islamic front that is the biggest armed opposition group on the ground, or the FSA. Off course, al-Qaida-affiliated/inspired groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS are not invited, but they are also a significant power on the ground, and need to be dealt with somehow.

The Kurds want to have a say at the table, so if they do not have their own delegation, then Kurdish rights will most likely not be discussed, and the Kurdish “democratic autonomy” that was declared by PYD would not be recognized by the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition or the international community. Earlier, the Russians were willing to have the Supreme Kurdish Council to participate in Geneva II, but the Americans blocked it.

DO: The announcement of a autonomous administration in the northern part of Syria ahead of the Geneva talks is a direct reaction to Kurds not being invited to Geneva. They are sending a clear message that they are going to try and manage the area of northern Syria by themselves.

Kurds are waiting for a guarantee that their rights will be recognized on a political level. They are afraid of the new ideology and identity of the Syrian opposition. They are scared of the complexity of the battleground.

There is a lot to talk about at Geneva, especially in terms of the economy.  It used to be one of the strongest, but is now one of the poorest. There is a genuine fear that if the Kurds are not at the table, they will lose their rights and will be going on a path away from a united Syria.

MC: The core organizers of Geneva II rushed the conference and wanted to show the diplomatic community that international efforts were under way,  but unfortunately many groups are not represented at Geneva and by the Syrian National Coalition.

There will be one or two people at Geneva on behalf of the Syrian National Kurdish Council, but just like the Syrian National Council, they lack power on the ground among Kurds. Many colleagues I talk to said that this conference is born to be dead. This is a sad reality after three years.

Kurds are one of the largest minorities in Syria, and have a large presence in the Middle East. If there isn’t a solution to the Kurdish question, there won’t be stability in Iraq, Turkey and Syria. In Syria, Kurds have been the most organized militarily, socially, politically and economically. If you exclude the regime’s military power, the Kurds have the strongest army.

SD: If Kurds aren’t included in the decision-making process, how will they implement any agreements on the ground?

MC: I spoke to PYD’s leader and a member of SKNYC, and they both said they didn’t have a say in who represented them at Geneva, and that as a result they would not recognize the decisions made at Geneva. This is the risk that Geneva conference bears.

By excluding Kurds from Geneva, the international community is sending the message that Kurdistan is different from Syria, and that there isn’t a pluralistic Syria. This bolsters the feeling that Kurds are not a part of Syria’s future, and only further pushes them in a separate direction from Syria.

SD: How unified are the Kurdish political parties, and how does this translate on the ground?

MC: There is a consensus among Kurds that they have been highly successful in fighting extremist groups. The armed Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) has been actively fighting radical groups like al-Nusra and ISIS. These efforts have largely been ignored by the international community.

It’s correct that you can’t see YPG as the military power that represents everyone, but there is an increasing consensus in the region that YPG is the defender of the Rojava region, and a general respect for their achievements in fighting extremism and keeping the region intact.

DO: Politically, Kurds are managing the area of northern Syria by themselves. Kurds don’t have a militia, except the PYD – the largest Kurdish militia, which isn’t in good shape with the Syrian opposition. There are a lot of small groups in the FSA. There are Kurds, but they don’t follow the Kurdish political routes – they get their funds from the Syrian opposition. Most Kurds are in Kobani and Afrin, controlled by PYD.

http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2014/01/syrian-kurds-left-montreux/

The Kurds and Geneva II

Wladimir van Wilgenburg, January 20, 2014

The Syrian Kurds have failed to get support from the United States and Russia to have an independent delegation for the upcoming Geneva II Syrian peace conference, slated to begin on January 22. They now fear that the Kurdish issue will be ignored in the conference, despite the fact that Kurds control a significant part of northern Syria, including many oil-producing areas.

At first it was unclear if the Syrian Kurdish political organizations could solve their differences, which have been exacerbated by tension between Kurdish groups in Iraq and Turkey. Competition between Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the main Kurdish party in Turkey, over the leadership of the Kurds, were at the core of the differences between Kurdish parties in Syria.

Regional Kurdish Disputes

The PKK backs the powerful Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and it’s armed wing, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), that control significant parts of the Kurdish areas in Syria. Its main rival, the Kurdish National Council (KNC), which brings together several Kurdish parties, is backed by Barzani.

Since 2011, the PYD has become the largest Kurdish party in Syria, as a result of its military power through the YPG. The KNC, on the other hand, has been increasingly marginalized as a result of its corresponding lack of military influence. Its leadership is now based outside of Syria and it has affiliated itself with the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Syria’s main exile leadership, which is endorsed by several Western and Arab nations, as well as by the PKK’s and PYD’s main enemy, Turkey.

As I have previously written at Al Monitor, the KDP and PKK managed to solve some of their differences in December 2013, and they agreed that the Syrian Kurds should have a united voice in Geneva II as part of an independent Kurdish delegation. However, the National Coalition and several influential foreign nations have opposed the idea of a separate Kurdish delegation. In the end, it appears that only the Kurdish National Council (KNC) will go to Geneva II, as part of the National Coalition’s delegation—assuming the conference is held and the National Coalition attends—while the PYD is left out entirely.

PYD’s Plan for Kurdish Transitional Rule

The PYD argues that if the Kurds do not have an independent delegation at the Geneva II talks, there will be no recognition of special status for the Kurds in Syria. There is historical precedent for such fears, considering how the Kurdish national tragedy began in the 1920s. The PYD-leader Saleh Muslim Mohammed has warned of a repetition of the 1923 treaty of Lausanne that created a Turkish state and ignored the option of Kurdish independence that had been promised in the earlier treaty of Sèvres in 1920.

Ultimately, the PYD seeks international recognition for its plan to form a transitional Kurdish government in northern Syria, similar to the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq. The West has so far opposed this idea, and it has been harshly criticized by the National Coalition. But for the PYD and many Syrian Kurds, it is of crucial importance. Having their own delegation at the talks would have allowed the PYD to raise this demand and bargain for its approval in the proceedings.

Turning the PYD Against Geneva

“There is frustration towards Washington, Moscow, and the UN,” says the Washington-based Kurdish affairs specialist Mutlu Civiroglu, who argues that Syrian Kurds now feel left out of the Geneva II process. “To provide the Kurdish point of view, Kurds should be there and they should be allowed to speak and raise their own demands. The Kurds have stopped radicals, protected their own areas, and protected ethnic minorities. Not allowing Kurds to come [in a separate Kurdish delegation], means that they want Kurds to live the same life as they did during Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule before the revolution.”

At the end of the day, the YPG is the clearly dominant military power in Syrian Kurdistan and the Geneva conference will not change the reality on the ground. Even the KNC realizes that the Kurdish issue will most likely not be discussed during Geneva II, and the PYD and its affiliates are turning hostile to the entire process.

On January 16, a pan-Kurdish body controlled by the PKK said that since the Geneva II meeting is “ostracizing” Syrian Kurds, its outcome “will not be recognized by the Kurds.” This hardening of the PKK’s position didn’t take long to filter down to its affiliates in Syria. Earlier on Monday, a PYD-affiliated organization threatened the KNC by saying that if it goes to Geneva without trying to secure “well-deserved Kurdish rights,” this “will be considered high treason against the Kurdish people and against all of Syria.”

It seems that after its demand for a separate Kurdish delegation was refused, the PYD has now decided to reject the Geneva II meeting entirely.

http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=54247