News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
Turkish President Erdoğan, who once said Kobanê was certain to fall, has been compelled to go to the YPG defending the city for help in order to save the tomb of Süleyman Şah – according to a new piece in Özgür Gündem. With the permission YPG, Turkish soldiers moved across the border to rescue their soldiers stationed at the tomb. Following the rescue they blew up the facility. The YPG also took an active part in the operation, while it was the Kobanê Canton Administration which decided on the new location for the tomb in the village of Aşmê.
Turkish soldiers crossed the border into Kobanê around 20:00 local time Saturday after reaching an agreement with the Kobanê Canton Administration and receiving the permission of the YPG, before moving to the site of the tomb and rescuing the trapped soldiers. The operation was carried out using 57 armored vehicles, 100 transport vehicles and 573 soldiers. After rescuing the 44 soldiers stationed at the tomb and retrieving the remains of Süleyman Şah the Turkish soldiers destroyed the site and established a new location for the tomb in the village of Aşmê. YPG forces helped in the evacuation of the site, which had been surrounded by ISIS for over 6 months. A Turkish soldier named as Halit Avcı lost his life during the operation when he became caught under a tank.
Enwer Muslim Was In Ankara
Before the soldiers crossed into Kobanê all communications lines in Pirsûs (Suruç) and Kobanê were cut. In order to protect operational security the Urfa Provincial Governorship had declared the area along the border with Kobanê a ‘forbidden military zone’ between February 19th and 23rd. Three days before the operation Kobanê Canton President Enwer Muslim had traveled to Ankara, where according to available information the YPG/YPJ agreed to allow passage to the Turkish soldiers while the canton administration helped the Turkish state to fix a new location for the tomb.
Lots Of Big Talk But…
As Turkey’s PM Ahmet Davutoğlu and its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, together with the Turkish General Staff and the country’s mainstream media attempted to portray the relocation of a simple grave as a ‘great victory’ they once again demonstrated the tragedy of their ‘strategic depth’ in the MIddle East. PM Davutoğlu, speaking after the complete of the “Şah-Euphrates” Operation, claimed that no permission was taken from any party and only the coalition forces had been informed. Attempting to conceal images of Turkish tanks passing under YPG flags, Davutoğlu said “the decision to undertake the operation was taken in Ankara. No permission nor help was requested from any other party. In the course of the operation the Turkish Armed Forces were ready to confront any obstacle in their way and brought that which was entrusted to us back to our country.”
Süleyman Şah In Kobanê
The body of Süleyman Şah was brought to the village of Aşmê in the west of the Kobanê Canton and just across the Turkish border from Pirsûs and was reburied here under the supervision of the YPG. Speaking about the tomb, which has been relocated for the third time, Davutoğlu said ‘the tomb remains within the borders of Syria. This is a temporary location. We hope that when the circumstances improve in Syria it can be brought back to its original location.”
A statement made by the Turkish General Staff read “Owing to the security problems which have emerged in Syria and military necessity we have brought the ancestral heirloom entrusted to us to the Syrian village of Eşmes temporarily in order to protect them. As for Turkish President Erdoğan who had predicted the fall of Kobanê and equated ISIS with the YPG saying that “two terrorist groups were fighting there” told the media that “this operation aimed at transporting the tomb of Süleyman Şah which had been entrusted to us by our ancestors to a more secure location in Syria given the war conditions of prevailing in the country.”
YPG: We Took An Active Part In The Operation
In a statement released by the YPG Press Center the defense force confirmed that it had coordinated with Turkish soldiers, reading “the operation took place with the knowledge of our commanders and the participation of our forces. Our commanders evaluated the request of the Turkish state and the desires of the coalition forces and after encountering no problems from an humanitarian dimension they proceeded to give their permission. The plan was realized after four days of discussion between our leaders and Turkish state officials. Within this framework the Turkish army advanced toward the tomb on an agreed upon route and in the company of vehicles belonging to our forces. The operation in which our forces actively participated was completed successfully.”
Tomb’s New Location Under Control Of YPG
A new location for the tomb is now being prepared in the village of Aşmê, which is under the control of the YPG and YPJ. In 1973 the Süleyman Şah tomb was first moved from Jaber Castle following the completion of the Tabka Dam project and moved to the village of Qereqozax. The tomb was relocated a second time following the completion of the Teşrin Dam in 1995. This time the tomb was moved to the village of Aşmê directly on the border with Turkey.
YPG Had Already Given Permission Once Before
In addition to aiding Turkey during this operation, the YPG and the canton government had already given permission for Turkey to bring reinforcements and supplies to the tomb in April of 2014 when it was initially besieged by ISIS.
Operational Mise En Scene
Prime Minister Davutoğlu, Head Of the Air Force General Akın Öztürk, Head of the Turkish General Staff Necdet Özel and Head of the Army General Hulusi Akar followed up the operation with a scene in the headquarters of the General Staff which resembled the scene of US President Obama’s announcement following the death of Osama bin Laden.
The Assad regime called the attack an ‘open attack’ on their national sovereignty.