The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Kobanê Defense Minister: Everyone Needs To Support The Resistance


İsmet Şêx Hesen, the Minister of Self-Defense for the Kobanê Canton, spoke with Ersin Çaksu and İbrahim Aslan in a new interview for ANF which also appeared in Özgür Gündem. In the interview Hesen discusses the course of the fighting around Kobanê, now entering its third month, and the condition of the canton more generally.

The minister began by noting that Kobanê has not only been besieged for two months, but has been fighting off attacks and suffering under embargo for much longer, saying “the Battle of  Kobanê has been going on for around a year and six months. Before it was mostly groups like the El-Nusra Front and Ahrar-i Sham and others that were attacking Kobanê. Kobanê has been surrounded for a year and a half. Kobanê has been deprived of its basic needs such as water, electricity and trade. The battle which today is entering its third month is part of this history. I do not look at the attacks upon the Kobanê Canton as a battle with ISIS. We look upon ISIS as the agent of an international partnership. This agent has such partners in many parts of the world. It has partners in Afghanistan, China, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Turkey and many other places. Many different states have a hand in this group. For example they received a lot of support from places such as the Baath regime and Turkey. It was from there that they got the courage to attack Kobanê.

What Is Important Is That We Are Resisting With Limited Resources

Hesen stressed that although the defenders of Kobanê had been resisting for two months and had suffered losses, ISIS was unable to capture the the city, saying “They could not take over Kobanê like they had been able to take over other places. And this is because of the resistance of the YPG/YPJ and the value of its freedom martyrs. For example they captured many places in Syria such as Rakka, Minbic, Bab and Dera Zor within days and even hours. They were saying that with our tanks and our artillery we will capture Kobanê in the same fashion. In attacking Kobanê with all the weapons they had captured in Rakka, Mosul and from the 17 Division they were aiming to threaten the whole of Kurdistan by threatening Kobanê. But they came to Kobanê it turned into their graveyard. Last year too they were saying ‘we are going to go to Kobanê and perform our Eid prayers there.’ But they couldn’t do it then and they can’t now. YPG/YPJ fighters have been resisting with limited means and small arms for a year and a half. Because we are surrounded on all sides we can’t get weapons from the outside. We resisted against their tanks and artillery with our own small weapons. We proved to the whole world how we will resist against tanks and artillery with our own kalashnikovs. The truth is that it has become a historical resistance. There might be a war against evil and terror around the world but the important thing is our resistance with limited means. This is perhaps the first time in Syria that an organization with heavy weapons has been defeated by an organization with only small arms. The world saw it this way too and has commented upon it.”

A Foundation Has Been Laid For A National Defense Force   

Hesen went on to say that Kobanê had provided an important example of Kurdish unity and that a foundation had been laid for the formation of a national defense force, saying “another thing of course is that now everyone needs to see and recognize the Kurds. But not how they used to look at and recognize the Kurds. They should not recognize the Kurds as the enemies of the Kurds who surround us make them recognize us. Because they presented Kurds to the world as terrorists. But in the Kobanê resistance the Kurds showed the whole world who was fundamentally fighting against terror and who wanted to get rid of it. It is the Kurds who are carrying out the real fight against terrorism. It is the Kurds who are defending democracy and equality. It is necessary to see how the YPG/YPJ, with its small force, stopped ISIS which until then no one had stopped. It is necessary to see how the will of the peoples are behind this struggle.’

The Arrival Of The Peshmerga Was An Important Step For Kurdish Unity

The minister also commented on the arrival of peshmerga forces to Kobanê following the Duhok agreement last month. Hesen stressed that it was the first time that two Kurdish forces had come together to such an extent for a common fight, saying “this is something worthy of respect. It is something important. It was an important boost for morale that they came all the way here from South Kurdistan. It was something that pulled at the heart strings of the Kurds while going against all those who said that Kurds could not come together. It was good for morale. It was an important step for Kurdish unity. Because they used to be facing massacre and destruction. In the time of Şêx Seîd, Seyid Rıza, Qazi Mihemed ve Halabja the Kurds were facing massacres and genocide. For that reason there has always been a desire for Kurdish unity. As a people they have always wanted to be unified, but not as a party or an organization. For this reason it is important both spiritually and for the formation of a foundation for unity that the Peshmerga have come here.”

Our Enemies Did Not Allow Us To Recognize One Another

Hesen also touched upon the support Turkey has given to the ISIS gangs, saying “we have been protecting the borders of Rojava for three years. Not a single person along the border from Efrin to Endiwar has gotten as much as a bloody nose from our forces. We did not fire a single bullet into Turkey. Because we look upon Turkey as a neighbor. We said that ISIS is something that will come and go but the people of Rojava will remain. And we showed with our resistance that it is us who will last on these lands. Everyone saw how much Turkey supported ISIS. If they turn away from these bad calculations and reconsider them they will recognize the Kurds better. Up until today many of our neighbors have defined the Kurds in the same way that ISIS has defined the Kurds. Our enemies have not allowed the peoples here to recognize one another. Whether it was the Turks, the Arabs, or the Persians we could not recognize one another. Our two month resistance has shown the whole world who the Kurds are. Kobanê is now the castle of resistance for the four parts of Kurdistan. Let everyone know that the will of the peoples is above all else. When the people rise up with their own will then neither tanks, nor artillery, nor planes nor any force can destroy that will.”

ISIS Is A Threat To The Whole World

Hesen also stressed that ISIS was everyone’s problem, saying “insomuch that there is a clear threat to everyone everyone needs to struggle against it. Everyone needs to contribute in the fight against this gang organization that recognizes neither morality, borders nor humanity. From this perspective we find the air attacks to be justified. As Kobanê was showing such a resistance the provision of such support was what was wanted. The support that has been provided has been the proper thing.”

We Can Say That Thousands Have Died

On the subject of the number of ISIS fighters that had been killed in the fight for Kobanê Hesen said that they could not provide exact figures, but that the number is likely in the thousands, saying “there is a difference between how they came in the beginning and how they are coming now. We know that thousands have died. But before they made it to Kobanê many different sources and intelligence agencies said that they were attacking with around 8,000 men. If today they still had such a force the violence of the clashes would be different. We can say that thousands have died. They have lost many of their men here. You have also seen it, there are lots of bodies all over.”

The Condition Of Civilians And The Destruction Of The City

Hesen also stressed that ISIS continued to threaten civilians in Kobanê, and spoke about the situation of civilians in the city, saying “in recent days there have been mortar attacks against our people along the border. Many people lost their lives. Children lost their lives. Many were injured. They are still using heavy weapons. As long as no corridor is opened to Kobanê it is necessary to say that civilians will continue to be under threat. For that reason we are renewing our call. Our city has been reduced to ruins. The International public and their states need to see this and provide support. The mortars, artillery, shelling and explosions have caused a great deal of destruction across the city. Kobanê was already under embargo. Now it has been brought back decades. The international public needs to see the situation of Kobanê, the situation of its scattered people and the city. If they do not provide support then the situation of the civilians will grow worse. Because a large part of the people who have left Kobanê are living in tents.”

Finally Hesen added that everyone needed to support the resistance, saying “I am renewing my call to the youth of Kobanê to come and join in the resistance alongside the YPG/YPJ. I also offer my condolences to the families of our martyrs and wish a speedy recovery to the injured”

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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