News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
Mutlu Çiviroğlu conducted the following interview with YPG Spokesperson Polat Can, in which they discuss the current situation in Kobanê and the need of the people of Kobanê for international support against ISIS. It appeared today in Yüksekova Haber and has been translated to English below.
-Mr. Polat Can, America and other members of the coalition began airstrikes against ISIS in Syria a few days ago. What has the effect of these strikes been for Kobanê which is facing such danger?
ISIS has stopped its attacks in other regions and concentrated all of its forces against Kobanê. There are no ISIS attacks now against either the regime or in another city. They are attacking Kobanê with forces they have gathered from Rakka, Til HemIs, Minbic, Jarabulus and many other cities. The YPG has put up an honorable resistance again the heavy weapons, tanks and artillery of ISIS for close to ten days. However much one diminishes ISIS in compared with this resistance and this will, it is a well known reality that have a large amount of munitions. We have been resisting for a long time to prevent ISIS from taking Kobanê and to slow them down and naturally we would like to stop them but the force we face is overwhelming. For this to happen in practice an intervention is required immediately and the powers which are fighting against ISIS should help us.
-Ok, who do you want this help from? There is a question of false information. While many people are saying America has attacked ISIS in the Kobanê region Rêdûr XelÎl said a few hours ago that no such attacks had taken place. What do you have to say on this topic?
I want to underline this. Until now neither America nor any other coalition country has launched strikes against ISIS in the Kobanê region. Many jets have flown over this is true but it is not certain who these jets belong to yet. These jets could also belong to Turkey, or the Syrian regime. When we talk about help we are not even talking about help for the YPG. We are talking about help for the Kurdish people. No help has been given to the people of Kobanê, who are on the brink of death and have come face to face with what happened in Sinjar (Kurdish: Şengal).
-Ok, what is the reason for this? How can the countries forming the coalition against ISIS remain so indifferent as civilian lives are in such danger?
We are also searching for any answer to this question. However they should also be searching for answers. Are the lives of Kurds so cheap? Are the 600 thousands Kurdish lives in Kobanê now facing the danger of a massacre so cheap? Do some of these countries which are talking about political interests, and at the same time some of the Kurdish parties which are having certain disagreements consider the lives of Kurds to be so cheap? If they will not help this nation in difficult circumstances at the most dangerous time then let them not say we are against ISIS and we are against terrorism.
-That is some Kurdish parties have come out against the American and coalition airstrikes, is that what you want to say?
Yes that is exactly what I want to say. If these stances continue we are going to announce the names of these parties openly. Because according to the information obtained through contacts we have established we know that some Kurdish parties wanted to obstruct the American attacks against ISIS.
-Why would a Kurdish party want to obstruct these attacks and open the way for the deaths of thousands of Kurds?
Because in these difficult times certain groups are thinking about their own basic interests instead of thinking about people. The is an opportunity for them and they are saying just in time. They are thinking that as we get close to defeat they will be able to get what they want in the bargaining after. This is not something that shows the best side of humanity or of Kurds. Whatever party it is, it should be on the side of the Kurdish people in difficult circumstances. So that I might not be able to say that the Kurdish parties about which I have spoken did not give a single bullet to the YPG in aid. Let no one claim that we did not want help. We are calling upon all Kurds.
-Well, do these parties about which you have spoken realize how dangerous the situation is?
They know much better than you and us how dangerous the situation is.
– What do you have to say about the Kurdish media? Some are reporting broadcasting news without any confirmation and others are always saying that the situation in Kobanê is very good. What do you say?
Because we have been in a constant state of war for some days I have not had the opportunity to follow the media. We do not want our people to lose hope but the situation is bad. Let everyone know that we will resist to our last drop of blood together with the Kurdish youth which has come from the four sides of Kurdistan. If necessary we will repeat the Stalingrad resistance in Kobanê.
If we are to return to the subject of the media, because those media outlets are writing that the situation is very good we are experiencing misunderstandings with the countries with which we are in contact. As we speak they listen to us and then write something else and then depart.
-Can some of the incorrect statements and news reports be attributed to not being updated from the battlefront? Because sometimes some of the international [media] outlets are reporting based on what is being said by officials in Kobanê.
Yes, incorrect news and reports affect us very negatively. For example yesterday it was supposedly said that American jets had struck ISIS in Kobanê, and everyone repeated it. However we are 100 percent certain that no such strike took place. Forget the strikes America has not even taken a decision toward striking ISIS in Kobanê.
-What do Kurds need to do to bring Kobanê to the world’s attention?
First of all let the whole world know that we rescued 250 thousand Yazidis from a large scale massacre with our own, very limited resources and at the cost of tens of martyrs. And that we are resisting in Kobanê where an embargo has been imposed for close to two years. ISIS and its supporters have seen this clearly, and because they know this they aimed to continually attack Kobanê and weaken it. For this reason not simple press conferences or sit-ins for Kobanê but actions that will be effective must be undertaken. Pressure should be put on public opinion toward a humanitarian intervention. I am saying forget for a moment about help for the YPG and do something for the hundreds of thousands of people in Kobanê who are facing the danger of massacre. America and the coalition countries can target ISIS and start a war but they are not attacking in the most dangerous places. They attacked Til Abyad but they have not targeted the scores of ISIS tanks lined up in the Kobanê region. For this reason our people need to influence public opinion in the four corners of the world. A counter-terrorism conference has been going on for two days in New York. Well what was said about here in Kobanê, what kind of decision was taken? That is to say that if you are going to do nothing for Kobanê then all of these conferences, speeches and coalitions are for nothing!
-What is Turkey’s role in ongoing events?
Turkey has lately taken on a bad role and is playing this role. As you have followed we as the YPG and as Rojava Kurds want to establish good relations with Turkey. We have operated according to the principle of never having any problems with Turkey along the border. However lately there is a reality which everyone knows and that is that Turkey is supporting ISIS. There is a deal. ISIS will come and enter Kobanê, and later it will go into the other cities of Rojava and then later Turkish soldiers will enter this area and form a buffer-zone. This is Turkey’s plan. It is such that in fact as a result of the aid which Turkey gave to ISIS the Turkish hostages were released. This dirty dealing is taking place over Kobanê.
I am calling on human rights organizations and civil society organizations. If you do not help now then later it will too late. Yes the YPG is resisting with its own limited means and with light weapons but the YPG is not superman, it is not a divine force. They must take action immediately.