News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
A member of the YPG Rojava General Command Meysa Ebdo sat down with journalist Ersin Çaksu in an interview for Özgür Gündem which appeared yesterday. Ebdo was speaking on the font in Kobanê, where the YPG continues to resist an ongoing ISIS offensive against the canton which began on September 15th. The YPG commander called the ISIS attacks a crime against humanity, and pointed her finger at international and regional powers, in particular Turkey, who are supporting ISIS in their attempt to destroy the canton. Ebdo made it clear that Kobanê would not fall to ISIS and that the Kurds would not allow the Turkish military to enter into the area to form a buffer-zone. Below is a transcript of the interview, translated into English.
-The Kobanê region has been subject to heavy attacks since September 15th. The ISIS gang was able to capture cities such as Mosul, Sinjar, Tikrit and Rakka easily have just one or two days of fighting. Kobanê has been resisting for ten days. What is the latest situation?
Before everything else let me say that the Kobanê region has been encircled in a giant ring for a year and a half. Not even basic foodstuffs that the people need to meet their basic needs have been allowed to pass into the city. They cut all roads. This was a beginning in order to weaken us and render us unable to resist. However despite this encirclement we made many preparations. There had already been many scattered attacks. All of these were broken. However this most recent attack has been very comprehensive. This is not only an ISIS attack. This is an operation led by international powers. They are directing this operation. There are many parties involved. These forces are running this operation in accordance with their own interests.
-What is the goal of this operation according to you?
They want to break about geography, peoples and cultures. Here it is the shining of the Kurdish people in the Middle East, their existence as an independent power, their ability to act without receiving support from anyone and their heroism that have has been targeted. These international powers are anticipating the liquidation of Kobanê in accordance with their own interests. They look at the Kurdish people and other peoples as an obstacle in the way of their plans. They also carried this plan out in regard to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). They liquidated the FSA that did act in accordance with their own designs. Then they turned their attention to the power – the YPG/YPJ – that continued to resist and remain standing in both Syria and the Middle East. They turned their attention to our movement which was struggling for both Iraq and South Kurdistan. Coming to the goal of the attacks, Kobanê is a small place. It is surrounded by the [ISIS] gangs on three sides, and on the fourth side is Turkey which supports the gangs. These attacks are not attacks that could be coordinated by these gangs. No force could persist like that in front of us. This is an international operation. When, how, on what flank and at what points they will attack is always established. The geography has been studied village by village, hamlet by hamlet. The tactics are even established. There are many different wings of the attack against Kobanê and each wing represents a state. In fact even among ourselves there is a traitorous element. All the plans are directed toward taking Kobanê. We are fighting against them and we will continue to fight. Even if the whole world joins to fight against us we will never take a step backward.
-What is Turkey’s role in this plan? As the attacks began the hostages from the consulate which had been held by ISIS were released in Girê Spî (Til Ebyad) which is a very strategic and symbolic site.
There is an ongoing peace process in Turkey. But Turkey has always delayed this process. They were waiting for the Kurds in Rojava to grow weaker, and to break and to lose all power and influence. All of this would also have affected Northern Kurdistan. This is also the goal behind Turkey’s support for the attacks on Kobanê and Cizîrê. For this reason Turkey has not intention of solving the Kurdish issue. They are continuing their politics of refusal and a policy of weakening and liquidating the Kurds. As we see it Turkey has taken an active and operational role in this operation. Turkey is providing the heavy weapons. All borders are open to them. Many times gang members who have gotten lost have reconnected with their groups through Turkey. When we see all of this we see that Turkey has no will to solve the Kurdish issue. Turkey, who knows that the Kurdish will which will form here will also affect the North, is the country in the Middle East which is most hostile to the Kurds. Turkey has taken the liquidation of the Kurds as its guiding principle. We also see this in its treatment of people on the border in the North. We can also see this in their treatment of the border gates under the control of ISIS in Til Ebyad and similar places and in their treatment of those under the control of the Kurds. Turkey close the borders around us. And when they opened the gate for the smallest things it was so that they would not be condemned in the eyes of the world.
-Turkey has brought a debate about a buffer-zone onto the agenda. It is said that many different groups want a Turkish buffer-zone in Kobanê. Do you think there is such a thing [in the works]?
As long as we are here they cannot form that buffer-zone. Until this day we have not presented Turkey any threat. After ISIS takes Kobanê they will say that a large part of the border belongs to ISIS and will call on the international community saying “look there is a threat at our borders and we need a buffer-zone.” That is to say it was a premeditated desire. Here this needs to be clear: after the coalition was formed against ISIS they were aiming at Kobanê falling within two or three days. One or two days after the formation of the coalition ISIS began its attacks. That is to say within a short time of the decision being taken to strike ISIS in Syria there was the attack against Kobanê. Kobanê would fall and they would hit ISIS in Kobanê. They were planning for it to be like Mosul or Sinjar. They would take it in two to three days. They would say look we are striking them but they took Kobanê. But they saw that Kobanê would not fall within a couple of days. The plan was foiled. They suffered at the hands of our resistance. Now in order to preserve their own legitimacy they are hitting places very far from Kobanê one or two times. ISIS is not even present in the places they are hitting. Because a large part of ISIS is now piled up in Kobanê. If they are really going to fight against ISIS there are reconnaissance flights and there are techniques. They can see if even one person moves. Then how can they not see the thousands of ISIS members around Kobanê and are not striking them? It means there are things which have been planned.
-In statements from the KCK and HPD it was said that treachery was committed against the Kurdish people. How do you evaluate these statements?
We are saying it was a great loss for Turkey. With this behavior it is opening the way to many errors. Perhaps Turkey can try to liquidate the Kurdish will in Kobanê as part of its secret plans. But Turkey cannot liquidate the entire Kurdish people and the Kurdish guerillas in the mountains of Kurdistan. They have been fighting with themselves for years. This Turkey must know better than anyone. As we see it Turkey has opened a huge war-front against itself. It it has thrown itself into a great conflagration. From now on Turkey and the AKP government will be responsible for any problems that might happen there. A great war could break out and continue for years. It can be dragged into a huge catastrophe. Kurds will never forget this hostility on the part of Turkish state. Turkey was expecting ISIS to destroy us. When Kobanê and the Rojava Revolution were destroyed it was going to say “we too have no Kurdish issue and therefore we don’t have any issue to solve. Now I will determine [what happens].” Turkey needs to calculate carefully. It is preparing its own problems.
-What do you want to say to the people in the four parts of Kurdistan at this historical juncture where the Kurdish people and the people or region are facing each other?
Let our people know that for a long time here a heroic struggle has been waged for the identity, existence and rights of the Kurdish people. We have lost martyrs in every village and hamlet and on every hill. We have had wounded in every village. In some places they stood over our corpses, but they will never, never trample upon the honor of the Kurdish people. In every resistance we grew the resistance of our people and will continue to grow. As long as one of us remains we will continue to fight as we have fought, village to village, house to house. This is the home of resistance. The Kurdish people must take moral from this resistance. We are not fighting with such a small power. The world is passing over us. The entire world is passing through a small town. We will suffer thousands of losses. If just one freedom fighter remains we will still resist. Our people must take ownership for the magnitude of the resistance here. It should look at it as a symbol and forge unity. It should adopt a stance against internal treachery. This people should recognize those who do not want to unify and only watch or even watch saying look how Kobanê will fall. Here we are fighting against tanks with braves. And alongside of this there is great psychological war being waged against us. However the resistance of the last ten days will without a doubt be one of the foundation stones of a free Kurdistan. There will a Kurdish people which has won absolutely. Everyone got to know the Kurds once more in this resistance. If we are going to live in this world it will be honorably and with a free identity.
-The YPG has launched a push from the Cizîre Canton against Til Ebyad. Do you have any information on this push and what is its goal?
We are in an intense war. We have the chance to watch it in parts. For us we will fight with ISIS wherever it is. This does not only include the Kurdish regions. We will also have a stance that is against ISIS. We look at ISIS not only as an enemy of the Kurds but an enemy of humanity. We see it as a dangerous line. We look it as a threat to humanity,. Until now it has been us who have been fighting against them in its true meaning. We ask the world this: Did you save Sinjar? If we had not been there and our soldiers had not been there they would have killed hundreds of thousands of people. We are fighting against a mentality that takes all of the worlds possibilities for itself and messes where it wants and destroys. We are saying to humanity that we need to have once stance against this enemy of humanity. These operations of ours will not remain within Mebarak or Til Ebyad or the borders of any other district. Arap regions have also been evacuated. There is a Syria without humanity here. They did not leave anyone in the cities and villages. The Middle East has become the Middle Ages.