Executive Board of Kobane Canton calls for international solidarity on 1 November

The Kobane Canton Executive Board has released this statement calling for all people to take part in this Sunday’s Global Rally for Freedom and Reconstruction of Kobane: 

A Call for an International Solidarity Day with Kobani

1 November 2015

Kobani and Rojava have faced numerous military campaigns and attacks since the birth of freedom and justice on their soils on 19 July 2012. Ever since, militant extremists have laid siege to this geographic area that aspires to build a new life and new approach that is open to socio-cultural, religious and ethnic diversity.

However, the will of the people in Rojava and the power of their desire for a new era and new administration were invincible, defeating extremists’ campaigns, which culminated in the Kobani’s humane resistance. This resistance marked the beginning of the end of ISIL’s myth of its ability to control any town or city, and proved to the world that the union between the will of the people and local institutions in a geographic area is sufficient to defeat terrorism, and thus safeguarding humanity and peace. Continue reading

YPG responds to controversial Amnesty report

YPG_AmnestyThe YPG has released a response to a controversial Amnesty International report published last week which accused the Kurdish forces of forcibly displacing Arab civilians from villages. The report was apparently the result of a ‘fact-finding mission’ to Rojava, but its findings have been heavily disputed by solidarity activists, Kurdish political organisations and now the YPG itself, which says: “The report contains fallacies since the testimonies of the individuals interviewed by Amnesty International were incorrect and contradictory to the facts and evidence, widely available and easily accessible to everyone. In this official statement, we will mention some of these flagrant fallacies that put the credibility of the report and Amnesty International at stake.”

The introduction to the report is here. To read the full report, which unpicks the evidence, or lack thereof, of war crimes committed by Kurdish forces, here.

Continue reading

Massacre in Sinjar, one year on: REPAK statement

REPAK, the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office based in Erbil, has published this statement on the one year anniversary of the IS attack on Sinjar/Shengal, which led to a horrific massacre in which thousands of Yezidi people were killed, thousands taken into sexual slavery and many more thousands were displaced. 

To the press and public

Exactly one year ago, gangs of the so-called Islamic State (IS) tried to carry out genocide in the Southern Kurdish (Northern Iraqi), mostly by Yazidis inhabited city Shingal/Sinjar. On 3 August 2014, IS aimed to occupy Shingal by massacres and ethnic cleansing in the villages around. According to numbers of the UN, due to the massacres that started on 3 August, 5 thousand Kurdish Yazidis got killed, 7 thousand girls and women got kidnapped like trophies, enslaved by IS gangs and sold in slavery markets. Even though some of the women were able to escape, a lot of women committed suicide for escaping from this atrocity. But still thousands of women remain in the hands of IS. Continue reading

U.S. Makes a Deal with the Turkish Devil

By Thoreau Redcrow for the Kurdopia Project

There are recent revelations from The Guardian that the U.S. deal with Turkey involves a “no fly zone” (that would only apply to Assad’s Syrian Regime, as neither ISIS nor the Kurds have planes) in exchange for a tacit agreement that Turkey can prevent further land acquisitions by the Kurdish PYD in their quest to unify Rojava by connecting the Kobane and Afrin Cantons. Essentially, the U.S. gets use of a closer location at Incirlik Air base to bomb ISIS from, in exchange for selling out the Kurdish PYD (which includes their heroic YPG & YPJ guerrillas), who were the only ground forces effectively defeating ISIS. Continue reading

Rojava, Kurdish autonomy and peace-building efforts in Syria: Report from a roundtable discussion

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) organised a wide ranging discussion of Rojava, Kurdish autonomy and the attempts to build peace in Syria on 30 June 2015. Held in the Houses of Parliament, the event was hosted by the independent cross-bench peer Lord Hylton. Lord Hylton has recently returned from Rojava and is the first member of the UK parliament to visit the self-declared autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria. The meeting was well attended and included people from the region and surrounding countries, along with British people and others with varying levels of familiarity with the Kurds and some who had little background knowledge but had been inspired by the resistance of Kobane.   Continue reading

Vasiliki Scurfield addresses Newroz reception in Parliament

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held an event in parliament on 17 March, to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. The event was hosted by MP Mike Gapes. The speakers were Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, Michelle Allison, KNK UK women’s representative, Dr Alan Semo, PYD UK representative, and Dr Mohamed Kanyany, former KRG MP.

by Sofia Beatty

newroz parliament_vsAddressing a packed meeting in the House of Commons, Aysegul Erdogan, chairing, welcomed the speakers, with a special thanks to Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Scurfield, the ex-Royal Marine who died fighting with the YPG for the liberation of the Kurdish people. This year, said Aysegul, Newroz “takes on added significance, as this is the first Newroz since the victory of the Kurdish forces, the YPG and YPJ in Kobani, Rojava. This year, the fire of Newroz burns brighter than before. Newroz, for us Kurdish people, has a different meaning. To us, it means light over darkness, freedom over oppression, peace over war.” She praised the Kurdish spirit of resistance in the face genocidal acts against the Kurdish people, such as at Halabja. Continue reading

PYD: We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

We received this appeal from the Democratic Union party (PYD) representation in Europe, which calls on the international community to support YPG, YPJ and other defence forces as they resist the latest ISIS onslaught in the Til Hemis and Til Birak regions of Syria. 

An appeal to the international community

We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

It started with Kobane and Sinjar, and now we are witnessing the same developments in Til Temir, Serê Kanî and Al Hasaka. Since February 22th, these areas have come under a brutal and barbaric assault by the Islamic State. Triggered by their setbacks in Kobane, Til Hemis and Til Birak, the terrorists have launched a major terrorist campaign. No one has been spared, including women, children and so-called ”apostates”. Once again we have witnessed the horrendous enslavement of women by the hands of the terrorists, beheadings of innocent civilians and the destruction of churches and mosques. The tragic fate of our 300 kidnapped Christian’s brothers and sisters is sadly still unknown. Continue reading

Victory in Kobane: What next in the Rojava Revolution?

victory in kobane

DATE/TIME:
Sunday 22 February, 3-5pm

VENUE:
Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), Main Building, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Speakers:
Havin Guneser, spokesperson of the International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan
David Graeber. anthropologist, author and political activist

Chair:
Margaret Owen, barrister and patron of Peace in Kurdistan Campaign Continue reading

Asya Abdullah from Kobanê: Myth of the invincibility of ISIS collapses

After the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and the Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) had put a stop to the attacks of IS (the Islamic State) on Kobani, which had gone on since the 15th September 2014 and had been able to push the IS back on most fronts, the YPG explained that the complete liberation of Kobani would soon follow.


“Victory will be announced shortly”

Mazlum Kobanê, YPG commander on the eastern front, told ANF newsagency that in the YPG/YPJ operation of liberation which began on 23rd January, Sukulhal, Seyda Cami and Seyda streets were cleared, and the IS forces in the Kaniya Kurda area were pushed back: “The IS forces now only hold four places in this area. If our forces push forwards successfully on these four roads, the eastern front will be completely cleared and we can announce the victory of our heroic struggle against the IS in Kobanî to all our people”. Continue reading

Event report: Feminicide in Sinjar

Report of a seminar held at Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, on Saturday 22 November, organised by Roj Women and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

On Saturday 22 November, representatives of several women’s organisations gathered in SOAS University for a seminar to discuss the use of sexualised violence in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria. In particular, the event sought to bring attention to the kidnapping of Yezidi women in the Sinjar province by ISIS fighters in August and discuss ways to campaign for their release. The seminar was introduced and chaired Isabel Käser, a PhD candidate, at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, and included members of a newly emerging Women’s Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria, a platform of UK based women’s groups who convened following the crisis in Sinjar. Continue reading