Kurds fear massacre by Turkish military; Yezidi women join forces with YPJ to fight ISIS

No prizes for spotting the deliberate contradiction in the title of this story. Yezidi women, some of whom were held captive by ISIS but escaped, have now joined forces with the YPJ (Kurdish women’s militia) – their objective: to take revenge on ISIS and defend their territory against further incursions. (Below, in Section A, we provide statements from six Yezidi women who have joined with the YPJ.) Meanwhile, the West continues to ignore Turkey’s war against the Kurds – the same Kurds who are the ‘boots on the ground’ forces holding back ISIS. (In Section B we provide a compilation of the latest reports of attacks by the Turkish military on Kurdish towns and villages – and the consequential and completely logical declarations of autonomy by Kurds in those towns and villages).

Western media is largely turning a blind eye to the war that’s being waged by Turkey against the Kurds. The war is clearly a result of a deal between Turkey and its NATO partners, to allow Turkey – a past master of masscres and genocide (of Armenians) and which has provided support to ISIS – to attack the Kurds at will and seize their liberated territories (and re-brand those teritories as a ‘Safe Zone’). The offensive escalated the day after the suicide bombing in the town of Suruc (Turkey), which saw many Kurdish students killed.

Over the last few weeks Turkey has launched scores of bombing and other raids on the Kurds, but only three attacks on ISIS. Turkey’s prevailing strategy is to attack the Kurds and provoke them into fighting back, then accuse them of terrorism. The latest moves by the Kurds is to declare autonomy in villages and towns, Zapatista-style.

Note on acronyms:

  • PKK is usually used interchangeably for the name of its armed wing, the People’s Defence Force (HPG), which was formerly called the Kurdistan National Liberty Army (ARGK)
  • YPJ and the YPG are the women’s and men’s units (respectively) of the PKK and have been at the frontline of the war in against ISIS, liberating the city of Kobane, the province of Rojava and helping the Yezidi people in the Sinjar province
  • KDP is the Kurdistan Democratic Party, allied to the Kurdish Peshmerga, who fight ISIS from within Iraqi Kurdistan
  • HDP is the Turkey-based, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party
  • KCK is the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (and founded by the PKK)
  • DBP is the largely Turkey-based Democratic Regions Party
  • DTK is the largely Turkey-based, pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress
  • AKP is the Justice & Development Party) – the ruling party in Turkey

A. Interview with Yezidi women fighters

Six young women who were forced to leave Sinjar by the attacks of the inhuman ISIS gangs, have joined the ranks of the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) in Rojava (West Kurdistan). Here are their comments…

Yezidi women fighters in YPJ

‘I will not give up my struggle until Sinjar is free’

Lalesh (19): “There was only one thing to do when ISIS attacked Sinjar and mercilessly massacred the people. That was to fight to the end against this filthy force. For that reason I joined the YPJ. I will not give up my struggle until Sinjar is free.”

‘If the YPG and HPG had not heard our cry for help and come to the rescue, no one would have assisted us’

Warshin (24): “The reason I joined was to protect my homeland and my religion. Those who were supposed to defend us abandoned us after ISIS entered Sinjar. We, the young Yezidi people of Sinjar, have joined the YPG and YPJ in order to defend Sinjar. We want to have the same rights as all the peoples in the world. If the YPG and HPG had not heard our cry for help and come to the rescue, no one would have assisted the Yezidis. Leader Apo said previously that the Yezidis should be protected. But the KDP did not give permission for the PKK to come to Sinjar to protect the people. The KDP itself did not protect us. No one protected us apart from the HPG and YPG. I now call on all Yezidi young people. Today is the day to protect our honour. All youth should join the YPG and HPG in order to defend their honour.”

‘All women from Sinjar should join the struggle to protect their homeland’

Delal (20): “I’m from the village of Til Qesep. We expect all women from Sinjar to join the struggle to protect their homeland. Not only in Sinjar, but for the freedom of all four parts of
Kurdistan, all young people must participate.”

‘The PKK saved us’

Evin (21): ISIS took many Yezidis hostage. They slaughtered lots of people. They abducted our women and girls and sold them to Saudi Arabia. Yezidi women will protect their honour, come what may. We were in the mountains without food or water for 7 days. Then the PKK saved us. We will never forget this. Our women will protect their honour at the cost of their lives, and we will protect our Yezidi faith. That is why I have joined, to protect and liberate the people of Sinjar.”

‘All young Yezidi women should join the YPJ’

Zelal (22): “I came here to protect my country and the four parts of Kurdistan. Wherever the comrades send me I will go and struggle to the end. I believe that oppressed people like ourselves will be victorious. All Yezidi women should join the YPJ. We have no option but to protect our people and country.”

‘I will fight for Sinjar and for the whole of Kurdistan’

Dicle (20): “I am from the village of Til Qesep. I walked for 6 days in the mountains with my family. We were thirsty and hungry and I was angry. I wanted revenge. Now I have the opportunity. From now on I will fight to protect my people and liberate Sinjar. Not
just for Sinjar but for the whole of Kurdistan, I will struggle to the end.”

B. Reports from the Kurdish frontline

Below, courtesy of The Free Online,  are reports from the Kurdish frontline…

Heavy clashes are taking place between HPG guerrillas and Turkish forces in Martyr Kendal area of Haftanin region in Medya Defense Zones. Local sources reported that clashes in Martyr Kendal area, which is located at the border to Roboski village of Şırnak, started at 11:00 today noon and are continuing at the moment. According to sources, Turkish aircraft are also shelling the scene of intensified clashes and the Turkish troops have attempted to cross into the South Kurdistan side of the border.

NEWS DESK (DİHA) – IHD, TIHV, SES and Eğitim Sen applied to the UN regarding the 6 YPG fighters who were deported and handed over to Al-Nusra. In their application, human rights organizations called upon the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture to act upon Turkey’s breach of law.

NEWS DESK (DİHA) – People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has released its report on the massacre in Zergelê village located in Qandil region, where the airstrikes of Turkish air forces claimed the lives of 8 civilians and left dozens of others wounded in the early morning hours of August 1, 2015.

MARDİN (DİHA) – Turkish troops have launched a military operation in the rural areas of Taşlık (Cirzê), Kırkdirek (Çilsutun) and Soylu (Deriş) neighbourhoods in Mardin’s Savur district. Special operation teams in a large number of armoured vehicles have been deployed in the highlands in the region. According to the reports, the teams of police have taken up position in the area in three separate 50-men groups. The military operation is reported to be going on.

ŞIRNAK (DİHA) – Gunshots continued until early morning hours today in Silopi where police had carried out a massacre and tensions have remained high since August 7. Snipers on rooftops shoot at anything that moves, and explosion sounds mix with gunshots frequently. Hills between Silopi and Mount Cudi have also been under artillery bombardment.

NEWS DESK (DİHA) – KCK Executive Council Co-Presidency voiced support to People’s Councils’ declaration of self-governance in Şırnak and said that Kurdish people have no option but self-governance in the face of AKP government’s insistence on the nation state.

HPG (People’s Defense Forces) Press Office reported in a written statement that the Turkish army launched a large-scale operation on the Martyr Rojhat area of Lice-Hani-Karayazı triangle in Amed in the early morning hours of August 18. HPG said guerrillas ambushed two groups of soldiers who attempted to infiltrate into the area from two sides at 12:00 yesterday noon. Six soldiers were killed and four others were wounded in this area where clashes lasted till 16:30 in the afternoon. While Cobra type helicopters of the Turkish army shelled the scene during the course of the fighting, one of them was effectively hit and severely damaged by guerrillas. HPG guerrilla Dılgeş Batman fell a martyr in the clashes.

Jets of the Turkish army are bombing the rural areas of Hurê (Gömeç) village in Amed’s Hani district. The operation started by Turkish army in the Hani-Lice-Kocaköy triangle yesterday is going on. The area was declared ‘military security zone’ by the Governor of Diyarbakır yesterday. Many villages in this area were bombed by troops and many houses were set on fire by soldiers who also targeted civilians in their attack yesterday. Local people said soldiers didn’t even allow them to take the casualties from the houses they set on fire and burnt down. According to reports, clashes between HPG guerrillas and Turkish soldiers in this triangle continued throughout yesterday.

Turkish jets are shelling the Martyr Kendal area at the border of Haftanin in Medya Defense Zones. Turkish army is also enhancing its military deployment on the border line, according to reports.

DBP (Party of Democratic Regions), HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), DTK (Democratic Society Congress), Bazid Democratic People’s Assembly, Doğubayazıt Municipality, TUHAYD-DER and Sema Yüce Women’s Counseling Center declared self-governance at a press conference they held in Yenimahalle district of Ağrı’s Doğubayazıt (Bazid) district yesterday. Speaking here on behalf of the institutions, DBP Doğubayazıt district o-chair Muhsin Kula recalled that the AKP government staged a civil coup in the wake of its defeat in June 7 elections.

Military and police forces ruled by AKP have devastated Amed’s Silvan district where they deliberately targeted the local people, bombed and rained bullets on their houses, workplaces and vehicles. While the attacks of Turkish security forces have left a heavy toll in the neighborhoods where they staged a crackdown, a delegation of DBP and HDP officials has started an examination in the district. Silence dominates the district now after the withdrawal of police and military forces that terrorized the people and their living areas all day long.

Turkish soldiers rained bullets on a group of people from Rojava at the border between Bakûrê (North) and Rojava (West Kurdistan). According to a report by ANHA, a 21-year-old youth by the name of Şîhan Oerek Hesen crossed into North Kurdistan from Mamela village in Efrîn’s Raco district yesterday. The youth accompanied by three other people from Rojava had meant to meet the needs of his family as he crossed the border. According to the witnesses, Turkish soldiers captured the four Rojava citizens near Meydan Ikbis village of Raco, and released them later after subjecting them to torture and threats while under custody.

Police raided a number of houses after blockading the Küçükdikili neighborhood in Seyhan district of Adana this morning. All the houses targeted in the operation were searched in detail and messed up by police teams that took at least 10 people into custody, including minors. Among the detainees who were taken into custody on the grounds of participation in the protest demonstrations in the neighborhood, the minors were taken to the Juvenile’s Department and the others to provincial Police Headquarters.

The ongoing political genocide operations of the AKP have this time targeted co-mayors of DBP-held municipalities in Amed. A number of people including co-mayors of Silvan and Sur municipalities have been detained in house-raid operations in the districts of Sur and Silvan where at least two people were murdered by security forces that surrounded and attacked three neighborhoods yesterday.

Turkish police have killed one more youth during a protest demo in Esenler district of Istanbul last night. One youth died as police forces opened fire on a group of demonstrators in Tuna neighborhood of Esenler district last night. While the body of the youth was taken to Forensic Medicine Institution, police detained four others.

Turkish military shelled the Kolan region in Varto district of Muş where security forces killed four civilians two days ago after people took control of the town to defend themselves against the never-ending attacks of Turkish state forces.

Ömer Çinkılıç who was wounded in the head after soldiers opened fire on a civilian car passing by the Sorgun Military Barracks in Tatvan district of Bitlis late last night, has lost his life. 23-year-old Cinkılıç was firstly treated at Tatvan State Hospital from where he was later referred to Van Regional Training and Research Hospital. The youth who couldn’t survive the armed attack despite all the medical efforts made at hospital, has been taken to Küçüksu village of Tatvan by his family and laid to rest there.

Turkish troops at Tekeli Brigade have targeted the Şapatan (Altınsu) village in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district with artillery, mortar and howitzer fire Tuesday afternoon. While at least 10 houses in the village have been largely demolished and gone into ruins, smokes are rising from the forested area around the village as the fire caused by artillery fire has yet to be responded. According to the initial reports coming through, the bombardment left four civilians in the village wounded by shrapnel pieces. The wounded villagers are being held in the village as Şemdinli State Hospital has been evacuated by police and soldiers. The number of casualties is feared to increase as some areas remain out of reach yet.

As clashes between HPG guerrillas and Turkish soldiers continue in the Lice-Hani-Kocaköy triangle in Amed, soldiers opened fire on a group of civilians who started a human-shield action in the area. According to a report by DİHA, two civilians were wounded after being hit by bullets fired by soldiers. While the civilians joining the action have managed to take the wounded out of the clashes area through their own means, the two human shields could not be taken to hospital yet due to the ongoing fighting. Despite the attack of soldiers who are opening random fire on the areas where guerrillas and civilians are present, the human-shield action continues.

As clashes continue in Şemdinli district of Hakkari, police and soldiers are opening fire around randomly and threatening the local people by making announcements from armored vehicles. Şemdinli State Hospital is reportedly under the control of soldiers.

HPD Amed deputy Ziya Pir who is currently in Silvan said at least two people have been executed so far and a massacre will be committed unless an order from Ankara says otherwise. Speaking to ANF about the latest situation in the district, HDP MP said; “Roads in the district are all blocked and we har gunshots and sounds of blasts from time to time. Tanks have also been deployed in the district where people cannot leave their houses and go out.

HDP Amed deputy Ziya Pir who spoke to Kurdish television MedNuçe via phone said they have been informed that two people have lost their lives as a result of attacks in Silvan district of Amed. According to Pir, the youth who lost his life after getting hit by a bullet in the head has been identified as Serhat Bilen. No information is yet available regarding the identity of the other person who died in the ongoing conflict in the district.

Turkish troops are opening mortar and howitzer fire on the Altunsu village in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district. The village headman Zeydan Özel told ANF about the recent situation that; “Clashes around the village have been going on for the last five days. Mortar and howitzer fires are being opened from the military barracks today. We have no losses of life so far but clashes have intensified.” Özel said soldiers made announcements for the evacuation of the village, adding; “One neighborhood has been evacuated but this village houses five thousand people. Where will so many people go? Soldiers are telling us nothing other than ‘Evacuate the village’. There is nothing we can do but to resist. We have nowhere to go.

Co-mayor of Şemdinli Seferi Yılmaz who spoke to ANF about the recent situation in Şemdinli district of Hakkari told that Turkish troops are opening mortar fire on the Altunsu village. Yılmaz said soldiers are threatening the local people to leave the village, saying that they won’t be responsible for any negative consequences. While a de facto curfew is in place in Şemdinli district center, police and soldiers evacuated the hospital.

NEWS CENTER – KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement about the recent developments in North Kurdistan, the Kurdish region of Turkey.

NEWS CENTER – The British newspaper Times released a news on Turkey’s cooperation with ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jabhat Al-Sham in Syria. Previously many newspapers and TV channels stated that Turkey has been supporting ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra by providing them logistics and allowing foreigners to cross the border into Syria and join these radical jihadist groups. Another famous newspaper Times of Great Britain also covered the relations between these jihadi groups and Turkey. Times says “after the latest meetings between USA and Turkey and negotiations on the ‘buffer zone’, the Jabhat Al-Sham has been given ammunition by Turkey.

As soldiers and police forces continue terrorizing people in Amed’s Silvan district, where an indefinite curfew has been declared, security forces killed a youth as they opened random fire around in the district. Soldiers and police launched an operation in the district soon after the announcement of an indefinite curfew to last until a further notice, which remains in effect since last night.

Four people have lost their lives during the last two days of clashes in Varto district of Muş. While the report has also been confirmed by Muş Governor’s Office, all the bodies were hurriedly taken by police from the district and sent to Malatya Forensic Medicine Institution. Two civilians who were allegedly captured alive and executed by special operations teams have been identified as 36-year-old Rahmi Kızıltaş and 26-year-old Abdullah Toprak from Alagöz neighborhood. While the families of both victims have left for Malatya, it remains unknown where the civilians were executed.

KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement about the recent developments in North Kurdistan, the Kurdish region of Turkey. Remarking that the Turkish state wildly attacked.

Other reports…

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