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Women Defend Rojava

Women who liberated thousands of women from slavery under IS are now bombed by a NATO army.

Tuesday 15 October 2019, by siawi3

Source: Women Defend Rojava international campaign

Women’s Declaration Stop Turkey‘s Occupation War against North and East Syria – immediately!

Oct 14, 2019

On 9 Oct 2019 the Turkish state started its invasion and occupation war on the territory of Northern Syria. The Turkish army has been attacking all major towns and settlements along the border with airstrikes and mortar shelling. According to figures published by the Kurdish Red Crescent during only the first five days of the attacks at least 46 civilians were killed and 139 wounded – including many women and children. At present the Turkish army together with a so-called ‘National Syrian Army’ composed of mercenaries from different terror groups also try to invade on the ground. At the same time ISIS sleeper cells have started new attacks across North Syria. SDF and YPJ-YPG forces that liberated North and East Syria from the IS terror regime, now are dedicating their lives to protect the people from new occupation and massacres. Women who liberated thousands of women from slavery under IS are now bombed by a NATO army.

Millions of people’s lives from all different ethnic and religious communities in this region are under threat. Ten thousands of families have been displaced. Beside mainly Kurdish and Arabic populated villages, Christian neighborhoods have been specifically targeted. It is obvious that these attacks are carried out with the aim of ethnic cleansing and demographic change. Turkish occupation and war crimes in Afrin starting in January 2018 have been condoned by the international community until today. Therefore, Turkey strives now to expand its territory and impose its rule on further regions of North and East Syria, breaching international law and the sovereignty of Syria.

At the same time Turkey neglects the will of the peoples in the region that have been living peacefully together under democratic self-administration. Turkey‘s attacks are directed against the gains of the women’s revolution in Rojava that has been a source of inspiration for women from all over the world. Women who have been a vanguard in building up an alternative social model of democratic, ecological society based on women’s liberation are targeted by jihadist killer teams. The co-chair of the Syria Future Party Hevrin Xelef was assassinated in an ambush on 12 Oct. when she was on her way to visit injured and displaced people in the Til Temir region. Inspite of 8 years of continuing war in Syria, the regions of the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria has succeeded in ensuring human needs and democratic rights for all people in this region. Hundreds of thousands of war refugees from different regions of Syria found refugee here. Without any noteworthy support of UN organisations these refugees have been welcomed, protected and supported by the structures of the Autonomous Administration.

While the Erdogan government openly announced this war and his occupation plans the international community – including UN bodies – did not take any adequate measure to stop this from happening. Furthermore hegemonic powers like Russia and the US encouraged Turkey‘s aggression. The genocides of the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians and Syriac people in 1915 and the massacres against the Kurdish people in Dersim, Halebje, Nussaybin, Cizire, Afrin... are still in our minds. Today again, crimes against humanity have been prepared and carried out openly as the calculation of war profits counts more than international laws, human rights and values.

Women in Rojava have always underlined: “We have defended the women’s revolution with our sacrifices. We lead our struggle on behalf of all women in the world.†Turkey’s war against women and peoples of North and East Syria as an aggression against all of us. It targets the gains and values of our struggles for women’s rights, freedom and justice - everywhere. With the international campaign Women Defend Rojava we unite against fascism, occupation and patriarchy. We raise our voices for the recognition of the autonomous self-administration in North and East Syria, for peace and justice in Syria.

To prevent new genocides and feminicides in the 21st century we urge the UNSC, all relevant bodies of the international community and governments to take urgent actions to
• Stop Turkey‘s invasion and occupation in North and Eastern Syria immediately
• Establish a No-Fly-Zone for the protection of the people’s lives in North and East Syria.
• Prevent further war crimes and ethnic cleansing by Turkish army forces, ISIS, El Nusra and other jihadist terror groups
• Take all war crimes and war criminals to justice
• Stop weapon trade with Turkey
• Implement political and economical sanctions against Turkey
• Acknowledge the democratic Autonomous Administration of the people of North and East Syria
• Take immediate steps for a political solution of the crisis in Syria with the representation and participation of women and people representatives from all different national, cultural and religious communities in Syria



Defend the women’s revolution in northeastern Syria

October 9, 2019

This statement by the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe puts Turkey’s attack on northeastern Syria in perspective and calls for international solidarity.

Author: ROAR Collective

TJK-E statement

Since 2012, with the leading role of women, the people in North and East Syria have been building a social system that enables a peaceful, radical-democratic, gender-liberated life for all ethnic, religious and cultural groups in the region.

This autonomous self-organization was created through the determined belief in democracy, freedom and the solidarity of all peoples. Leading the fight against the so-called Islamic State, the self-organization established a sense of safety and stability, enabling all peoples to collectively face the future with hope, despite the war-mongering policies pursued by hegemonic global and regional powers that protect the status quo by inciting ethnic and religious conflict.

The democratic, lived alternatives, built up despite constant attacks, displacement, and economic embargoes, made it impossible for the capitalist forces to assert their own interests in the region. They are a thorn in the eye of those, who want to impose authoritarianism, dependency and exploitation on the peoples of the Middle East.

Invasion of Afrin

The Turkish state’s invasion of Afrin in January 2018 was an attack on hope, co-existence and democracy among the communities in the region, symbolized by the democratic self-governance in northeastern Syria.

In a blatant violation of international law, the Turkish state and its mercenaries killed over 1,000 people — mainly civilians — systematically destroyed villages, historic and religious sites, nature and the economic resources of the population. More than 300,000 people were forcibly displaced.

Extremists settled there in place of the displaced population and ever since worked together with Turkey to commit daily crimes against humanity. They plunder homes, kidnap members of families who were unable to escape, rape women, torture prisoners to death, burn down nature and steal local cultural treasures.

All of the autonomous women’s structures that had been built there over the course of six years were destroyed, as violence against women became policy of the occupation.

Seeking international consent

This time, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has been trying to get the international community to agree to a Turkish occupation of the entire area of northeastern Syria. The democratic self-government of northeastern Syria was able to prevent a Turkish attack with great diplomatic efforts and has implemented all the steps agreed with Washington and Ankara for the establishment of a so-called security zone in recent weeks.

However, the developments of the last few days clearly show that Erdoğan and the fascist Turkish state have never distanced themselves from an invasion of northern Syria. US president Donald Trump’s latest statements also show that the international community has tacitly agreed to such an attack.

Following a telephone conversation between ErdoÄŸan and Trump, the White House has announced that the forces of the international coalition will withdraw from the region and that responsibility for fighting the remnants of the so-called Islamic State will be transferred to Turkey.

For those, who have been leading the war against ISIS on the ground, transferring responsibility for the struggle against ISIS to those, who have supported the group in every way — logistically and ideologically, with weapons, recruitment and border deals — is an open declaration of war on all values of humanity. Such an attack will not only mean that, similar to Turkey’s offensive in Afrin, thousands of civilians will be killed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced — among them, people who have already been internally displaced.

Such an operation will also endanger all of the alternative democratic structures that have been built up in the area for peoples’ freedom, peace, justice and women’s liberation. That governments remain silent in the face of these concrete threats is a clear demonstration of the fact that it is dangerous for the oppressive patriarchal system to allow the women’s revolution to spread.

Defending the women’s revolution

The Kurdish people, under the leadership of Abdullah Öcalan, have a 40-year-old legacy of organizing and defending themselves. Likewise, the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) declared: “As the Syrian Democratic Forces, we are determined to defend our land at all costs.â€

The Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen, Armenian, Assyrian and Syriac people of the confederation of northeastern Syria, having managed to survive the worst kinds of attacks, are therefore prepared to defend themselves once again. In particular as women we have learned to defend ourselves: to defend our land, to defend our people, to defend what we are.

The heroic struggle of the Women’s Defense Units YPJ has illustrated to all women in the world once again that self-defense is women’s only guarantee for a life in freedom. States remain silent, because they are aware that what is being built in northeastern Syria is an alternative model to the patriarchal and capitalist system that they represent.

We know that our allies are not governments, states and their armies, but all the women, who rise up in every part of the world to overthrow the patriarchy. Our allies are the forces that build a different world day by day and work to defend it.

All of the struggles for justice and liberation around the world are reverberating in the revolution of north and east Syria. It is to our true allies, the forces of freedom, therefore that we appeal today: we are together in this struggle.

Take to the streets and defend the women’s revolution in northeastern Syria!

Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe (TJK-E)



Rojava: Millions of civilians in northern Syria threatened as US green-lights Turkey’s invasion

By Bulent Gokay and Lily Hamourtziadou

October 11, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On October 6, the White House declared US troops would be withdrawn from northern Syria and no longer be in the immediate area ahead of a Turkish military operation. It also added the US would not support or be involved in the operations, and that Turkey would now be responsible for the fate of all Islamic State (IS) fighters captured during the last two years (totalling 12,000 men and 70,000 women and children) and currently held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias.

Trump justified his decision by saying the US deployment of troops in northern Syria was simply too costly: “The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so … They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home … Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out†.

This was followed by a characteristic Trump tweet warning Turkey:

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over... Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump), 7 October 2019.

Trump is simply stating that US troops will not stand in the way of planned Turkish operations against Kurdish controlled areas that comprise approximately one-third of Syria’s territory in the northeast of the country. An autonomous administration, under the leadership of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controls this region of Syria, commonly known as Rojava. The region gained its de facto autonomy in 2012, taking advantage of the partial withdrawal of Syrian government forces from Kurdish areas. It is home to Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian populations, alongside smaller numbers of Turkmens, Armenians, Yazidis and Circassians.

Trump announced his intention of withdrawing US troops from the region in December, claiming there was no reason for US troops to stay there since IS was on the verge of complete defeat. Following this, the US administration came to an agreement with Turkey to establish a 10-15-kilometre-wide safe zone, referred to as a peace corridor, along the Turkey-Syria border in northern Syria. As a result, in August some of the Kurdish forces removed their posts and left this zone under the joint control of US and Turkish troops.

It seems that this was not enough to satisfy Turkey’s security concerns. Turkey has openly and continuously criticised the US for supporting the Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist entity and an extension of the militant Kurdish political movement in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with which government forces have been at war with for more than 30 years. On September 24, Turkey’s president Tayyip Recep Erdogan told the United Nations General Assembly that Turkey had a detailed plan for this region: to set up a safe zone along 480 kilometres of the border and reaching 32 kilometres into Syria, from the Euphrates River in the west to Iraq in the east, for the purpose of ensuring border security. Under the plan, up to 2 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey would be settled in the safe zone, with international support. If implemented, the project would halve the number of Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey due to Syria’s eight-year long conflict and drive the YPG from the border. The Turkish plan, as explained by Erdogan, includes establishing 140 villages, 10 towns, more than 200,000 homes and a university. If materialised, this plan will seriously alter the demographic balance of the region by driving out much of the Kurdish population and replacing them with Turkey-friendly Syrian refugees.

So far, public opinion and the mainstream media in the West has been more interested in speculating over who would the likely winner of a Turkish offensive in northern Syria? “Bashar al-Assad is the real winner†, wrote the New Statesman, while CNBC asserts that “Trump handing northern Syria to Turkey is a gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS†, an opinion shared by many other media outlets and commentators.

This area is not just a military zone occupied by fighters; it is home to between 500,000 and 1 million Kurds and approximately 1.5 million Arabs, Assyrians and Yezidis, many of whom are refugees who have escaped from war zones in Syria and Iraq. The 2014 population estimate of Rojava was 4.6 million. Sandwiched between the Turkish army, the Turkey-supported Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish-Arab SDF militias, these civilians face the risk of losing their homes, lands and lives. This is the unfortunate fate of millions who happen to have been born in this geographic region; in Middle Eastern countries that, in the recent past, have experienced foreign occupation, violent wars and civil wars. The first two Gulf wars — Operation Desert Storm in 1990, to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq — killed hundreds of thousands, uprooted millions, unsettled the Greater Middle East, and led to still ongoing chaos and bloodshed.

Sixteen years after the George W Bush administration launched its so-called “War on Terror†, an untold number of civilians have been killed by in US and British-led military campaign through bombs, weapons, disease, illness, while millions of people’s lives have been turned upside down. Needless to say, the impact of war is particularly felt by children and adolescents. The wars are still ongoing in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, not to mention the secondary conflicts and covert wars that continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East.

On the eve of yet another disastrous military operation in the region, Save the Children Syria Response Director Sonia Khush said on October 7: “We are deeply concerned for the hundreds of thousands of people present in North East Syria (...) Currently, there are 1.65 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this area, including more than 650,000 displaced by war. All essential services including food, water, shelter, health, education, and protection must be consistently provided to all civilians, or we could see another humanitarian disaster unfold before our eyes.â€

What about the peace corridor and safe zone Erdogan wanted to establish? Peace and safety are not what the Middle East is known for. Peace and safety were sadly not features of the region, even before the War on Terror began. The Middle East is probably the most penetrated, invaded, exploited and destabilised region in modern history.

Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring supposedly has the following objectives: ensure border security; prevent a terror corridor and fight terror attacks; end drug trafficking; protect the territorial integrity of Syria; resettle Syrian refugees in terror-free areas, and prevent terror organisations from using children as fighters

All of these are similar to the declared objectives of Western interventions in the Middle East, all of which have only brought instability, insecurity and death — and all of which have failed. Can Turkey do better than the US? Better than Britain? Better than France? Better than Russia? Is there any precedent for this?

Turkey was given the green light to bomb parts of Iraq years ago, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Kurdish civilians. Syria is a sovereign state, as is Iraq, and the constant violation of its borders and the human rights of its citizens, Kurdish or Arab, is proof of what we all know but are reluctant to say: the US — not a universal morality, Western values, international law or institutions — decides whose security is to be protected, whose borders are to be respected and which allies can reap the rewards of influence, control, trade and resources that come at the cost of human life. It also finally reveals what we suspected all along: this was always Turkey’s war.

Bulent Gokay is a Professor of International Relations in Keele University, and Dr Lily Hamourtziadou is a Lecturer in International Security in Birmingham City University.