News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF) The YPG Press Center has released a statement following the conclusion of its operation in Til Hemis. As a result of the operation ISIS was driven from 19 villages and 7 hamlets in the area, and 53 ISIS fighters – including two commanders – were killed. 4 YPG fighters also lost their lives in the fighting.
The operation took place in the triangle between Qamışlo, Tirbespiye and Til Hemis at began on September 13th. It comes as YPG forces are fighting ISIS across many fronts, from Şenjar (Sinjar) to Kobanê. It followed upon the YPG’s victory in the resistance of Jezaa ten days earlier, in which ISIS forces were driven from the town and surrounding area.
Targets of the operation in Til Hemis included what the YPG’s statement called “ISIS castles” – the villages of Rihaiya and Şermuxa Xedan. The YPG justified its operation in these terms: “This region is the closest ISIS base to Qamişlo and has played a role in the organization of many attacks. These have included bombing attacks which have killed civilians in Qamişlo and Tirbespiye, and the destruction of the Seyh Xiznewi tomb and mosque in Til Maruf, which is sacred to the local people. Our forces carries out this operation from September 13th until today with the goals of destroying the terror threat posed by ISIS gangs to Qamişlo and Tirbespiye, to prevent the new attacks and to hold to account those who have perpetuated killings and massacres.”
ISIS Targets Civilians
The statement also addressed the massacre by ISIS of Arab and Kurdish civilians for refusing to fight against the YPG and the shelling of Qamişlo with Grad long-range rockets which resulted in five civilian deaths and which the YPG claims ISIS acquired from the Syrian regime. It condemns ISIS for “targeting civilians including women and children for revenge.”
The statement described the successful liberation of a large and strategically significant territory from ISIS, reading: “Following a two-day operation and violent clashes in the villages of Rihaiya, Şermuxa Cedan and Şermuxa Ceryan we have liberated the triangle between Qamişlo, Tirbespiye and Til Hemis and cleared it off the gangs. Despite the fact that ISIS extended much effort to hold onto these areas around Qamişlo and Tirbespiye, which it is strategically important to it, our forces were able to bring this operation to a successful conclusion on the morning of September 16th.”
“The names of the 19 villages and 7 hamlets that were liberated from the gangs in the revolutionary operation that was completed in three days are as follows: Xirbêtesed, Xirbêtxelîl, Metiniyê, Haciya Biçûk, Gire Çilesî, Şermûxa Xedan, Şermûxa Ceryan, Harkê, Gibîba, Gibîba Huntesên, Gibîba Sêhta, Gibîbê Xelîl, Haciya Mezin, Haciya Metaşîr, Evenik Emrîn, Gire Awena, Rihaya Biçuk, Rihaya Mezin, Geryan, Emrîn, Haciyan, Gibîp, Mezra Ebas Ahmet, Mezrayê Xelîl.”
Heavy ISIS Casualties
The YPG statement recorde heavy ISIS casualties, stating that 53 ISIS members were killed in the fighting and that YPG forces had recovered 8 bodies. Two ISIS commanders – including one known as Ebubekir – were also killed. The YPG also managed to capture a large amount of weapons and other military equipment.
Four YPG fighters were also reported to have been killed in the fighting.
The statement concluded: “We want all of our peoples living in and constituting the Cizîrê region to know that as long as ISIS threatens our people and their security the YPG will continue to strengthen the resistance it is waging to defend the people and the region and YPG fighters will be be a thorn in the side of ISIS.”