News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following report was compiled by Erdoğan Altan in Kobane for DIHA and was published in Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.
Yesterday 7 different military organizations led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) came together to form the Manbij Military Council. In a joint-statement fighters affiliated with the military council declared that it had been formed as a response to a call for liberation from the people of Manbij and that within a short time all gangs would be cleared from the city. It added that the people of Manbij had no desire to perish under ISIS oppression and that the city needed to be liberated as soon as possible.
Yesterday a number of military organizations within the QSD, including the Northern Sun Battalion, The Manbij Revolutionary Alliance of Euphrates Regiments, the Union of Euphrates Martyrs Brigades, the Cind El-Heramên Regimentsm the El-Qewsi Brigade together with the Manbij Turkmen Battalion formed a joint military command to be known as the Manbij Regional Military Council. The announcement of the council’s formation took place on the Tishrin Dam and was attended by local fighters.
Following the announcement fighters called their families to give them the good news. Botan Turkmeni, a member of the military council and a commander of the Jaysh al Suwar from Manbij, told those assembled that “we will confront not only DAISH but any group that oppresses our people.” Adding that the aim of the military council was to defend the peoples of Manbij and to clear the region of gangs, Turkmeni went on to say that “for this reason we have given our promise to the people of Manbij who has asked us to be liberated. We will liberate them from all forms of oppression.”
An Arab member of the military council, Muslim eli Celeb, added that the fighters knew of DAISH oppression from family members who had remained in the city, adding that they would meet the demands of the Manbij people for liberation.
“We Have Given The Good News To The People Of Manbij”
Erebat Manbij, a commander with the Northern Sun Battalion, said that they had already given the good news to the people of Manbij. Ehmed Mehmud, a Kurd from Manbij and a fighter with the Manbij Revolutionary Battalion said that he had joined the QSD because of ISIS oppression, saying “In forming this military council God willing we will be able to free our people from the oppression of these gangs. Our families and the people there have reached out to us and asked us to liberate them from the DAISH gangs. God willing we will shortly be able to carry out their wishes. Recently the people cannot even leave their homes because of DAISH oppression. Those who leave their homes must either do what the gangs demand or accept torture and imprisonment. For this reason they are constantly calling us and asking us to immediately come to their aid.”
‘We Are Living In A Prison’
Another resident of Manbij Miheh Ebu Kemil explained how the DAISH gangs only increased their oppression as their fears increased following the liberation of the Tishrin dam and the surrounding area by the QSD on December 23, 2015. He added that people are so afraid that ISIS will kidnap their children that they will not even let them outside in front of their houses. He added that many had been oppressed for attempting to help QSD forces, noting that owing to this oppression residents were basically living in an open-air prison. “We are now fed up with oppression” said Kemil, “the QSD needs to launch an offensive. If not the gangs will kill us all. Before there was oppression of Kurds in Manbij, but now they are oppressing everyone it doesn’t matter if you are a Kurd, Arab or Turkman. Everyone is a ‘kafir’ for them and are people who need to be destroyed.”
Another resident of Manbij, a woman named Rehmê, added that they no longer wanted to stay in Manbij but that ISIS fighters were holding them there by force, saying “there is no life left here. We want to leave this place but they won’t allow us to leave. Because now they need civilians as human shields. We cannot take it anymore. Please let the QSD come and liberate us from these gangs.”