Statements: Condemn Turkey's unjust attacks on North-East Syria and northern Iraq

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF): We will respond effectively and efficiently at the right time and place

November 20, ANF English - The General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) released a statement about the latest wave of Turkish attacks on North-East Syria that came as no surprise after Turkey’s repeated threats to capture the area amidst an international silence on the crimes committed by the invading state in the region.

The SDF statement released on Sunday includes the following:

“The Turkish occupation State has been preparing for a long time to launch a large-scale attack on the regions of the north and eastern Syria, especially after it fabricated the bombing scheme itself in Istanbul to use it as a pretext to threaten our areas.

Based on these preparations and at 12:00 p.m. on November 19th, it launched a brutal air attack on our areas using aircraft, targeting the areas of Derik / al-Malikiyah, al-Darbasiya, Zarkan / Abu Racin, Kobane, Tal Rifa’at, and the areas of al-Shahba’a. The air attacks continued sporadically until this morning.

The Turkish attacks on the city of Derik and its countryside caused a large massacre in the village of Taqil Baqil. In the first attack on the Taqil Baqil village, a worker in the power station was martyred, and when civilians tried to reach and retrieve him, the Turkish occupation aircraft launched another raid, committing a large massacre by targeting civilian medics, leaving 11 civilians martyred and 6 others injured, in addition to causing severe material damages to the power station.

In the Darbasiya area, two guards of the grain silos and agricultural centers were martyred, and in the Zarkan/Abu Rasin area, one of our SDF fighters was also martyred.

As documented and verified, three civilians were injured as a result of the extensive aerial bombardment on Kobane, in addition to severe damage caused to civilian homes and property.

As confirmed, 15 members of the Syrian regime forces lost their lives in these attacks.

Once again, the Turkish occupying State has shown its true fascist, genocidal and anti-people face. It cannot bear to see stability and coexistence among the people in the regions of north and eastern Syria. These attacks do not only target the Kurdish people, but also all components of north and eastern Syria.

We in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), just as we defended our people and our regions against the attacks of the terrorist organization of ISIS and the Turkish occupying State, from now on, we will do our historical duty, and we will continue our struggle with great determination. These attacks will not remain unanswered, and we will respond effectively and efficiently at the right time and place.

We are fully confident that our people will strengthen their cohesion with great determination, enhancing their national unity, increasing their adherence to the soil of their homeland and the stability of their region ever more than before, showing a stronger stance against the brutal attacks of the Turkish occupying State and its collaborators.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to our people and all the families of the martyrs in this massacre, and we reiterate our commitment to adhere to their struggles and sacrifices. We wish a speedy recovery for the wounded.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP): North and East Syria are not a security threat, they are hope for humanity

November 20, HDP Europe - The Executive committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has released a statement in response to Turkey’s intense aerial bombardment of North and East Syria and northern Iraq, calling for an immediate end to the military aggression.

Turkish warplanes have been bombing civilian settlements in North and East Syria overnight, citing the Istanbul bombing of 13 November, which many analysts consider to have been a false flag operation by the Turkish state, as a justification for its actions.

The region is known for its resistance against ISIS, and, says the HDP, “The new life system it has established which has been an inspiration to oppressed minorities all over the world […] North and East Syria are not a security threat, they are hope for humanity!”

The statement goes on to say that while Turkey has previously attacked Afrin and other Kurdish regions in North and East Syria, taking control of a number of regions, “These attacks do not, as the administration claims, ensure border security, on the contrary they increase the threats and dangers to Turkey”, indicating that the real threat comes from “ISIS and similar organisations that it has been nurturing in the region”.

Turkey is in the midst of a great period of crisis, and the ruling Justice and Development Party / Nationalist Movement Party (AKP-MHP) coalition is in danger of losing power, the life of which “they are trying to extend by the strategy of external war”, says the HDP.

The HDP goes on to call “national and international democratic circles, anti-war and sympathetic sectors to raise their voices and condemn these unjust attacks,” urging the “administration to stop this dangerous initiative, and international forces not to be a part of it.” They find the attacks “so wrong and so dangerous”, and go on to express their condolences for those who have lost their lives and wish urgent recovery to the injured.

HDP’s Women’s Council: “All women across the world: Let us defend life and freedom! Jin, jiyan, azadi! (Woman, Life, Freedom)”

November 20, HDP Europe - The Peoples’ Democratic Party's Women’s Council has issued a statement condemning the attacks on Kobanî as an attack on the free and independent life established under the leadership of women.

The statement of the women’s council says that the only threat to the administration in North and East Syria and Kobanî is the free and equal system established under the leadership of women in response to its increasing war tactics. They say that “these attacks are the last ditch hope of the AKP-MHP” coalition, but that “Cross-border operations and policies based in war and hatred will not extend their lives.”

The statement goes on to say that the coalition is more concerned with solving its own crisis than that of the people, that they are unable to tolerate the achievements of the Kurdish people.

They say: “Women will not allow you to use policies of war and cross-border operations to remain standing. The day is one of women’s solidarity and struggle against these operations, one of the women of Rojava standing up for their revolution, for the women’s village of Jinwar, for female academics and for defence of noble peoples’ peace!”

They call upon “all women across the world: Let us defend life and freedom! Jin, jiyan, azadi! (Woman, Life, Freedom)”

Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK): Our people must rise up everywhere

November 20, ANF English - The Co-Presidency of the KCK Executive Council condemned in a statement the "genocidal, fascist attacks which are directed against the peace of the region and the brotherhood of the peoples."

The statement reads as follows:

"The genocidal, colonialist Turkish state carried out intensive airstrikes against South Kurdistan, Rojava, East Kurdistan and the Medya Defense Zones on November 19, 2022. As a result of these attacks against the Kurdish people and all of Kurdistan, dozens of places were targeted and many people were martyred or wounded. We condemn these genocidal, fascist attacks which are directed against the peace of the region and the brotherhood of the peoples. We also wish the wounded a speedy recovery. AKP-MHP fascism will never achieve its genocidal goals with these attacks. It will never be able to break the stance of the peoples of Kurdistan and the region for a free and democratic life. Instead, AKP-MHP fascism will be defeated as a result of the resistance and struggle of our peoples.

The fascist AKP-MHP alliance is an anti-Kurdish alliance whose only aim is to carry out a genocide against the Kurdish people. With the attacks launched on November 19, the AKP-MHP’s anti-Kurdish hostility and genocidal reality have been clearly revealed. All of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people were targeted in these attacks. These attacks have made clear that the existence of the Kurdish people and the will of the peoples to live together are under attack. Those who have not stood by the Kurdish people despite all the attacks so far and who have legitimized the genocidal attacks of the AKP-MHP, will not be accepted by our people any longer if they keep this attitude.

The fascist genocidal AKP-MHP government attacks not only one part of Kurdistan or one group of Kurds, but all four parts of Kurdistan and all sections of Kurdish society. In order to carry out the Kurdish genocide, it attacks incessantly and uses all kinds of inhuman methods, from the use of chemical weapons to air strikes. The patriotic people of Kurdistan must therefore resist uninterruptedly against the unremitting and intense attacks of AKP-MHP fascism. They must take to the streets everywhere and express their protest. No Kurd should remain unresponsive to these attacks and stay at home. All Kurds must strongly protest against all hegemonic powers that remain silent and support these attacks.

As we have stated publicly before, the conditions for comprehensive attacks against the Kurds and for the occupation of Rojava are currently being prepared. Therefore, it is clear that the fascist government, the MIT [Turkish intelligence service] and Süleyman Soylu carried out the recent Istanbul attack. The explosion in Istanbul was carried out for this purpose. Shortly afterwards, the fascist leaders of the AKP-MHP targeted Rojava and stated that they will attack it. This attack has clearly revealed the intention and purpose of the fascist government. The fascist AKP-MHP government pursues malicious plans and resorts to all kinds of dirty methods to stay in power. Everyone needs to see and understand this reality and the plans of the AKP-MHP. By attacking the Kurds and by striking and invading Rojava, the AKP-MHP also aims to stay in power and trigger an even darker and more reactionary process in Turkey. Therefore, the Kurdish people as well as the peoples of Turkey, the democratic forces and all progressive groups must oppose these genocidal, dirty and malicious plans and attacks of the AKP-MHP.

Everyone needs to know that the attacks against the Kurds are definitely not in the interest of Turkey and its peoples and that they do not serve freedom and democracy. On the contrary, every attack against the Kurds constitutes an attack on all the peoples of Turkey, on democracy and freedom. Therefore, everyone must protest strongly against these attacks on the Kurds and stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people.

The genocidal colonialist Turkish state carries out these attacks with the approval and support of the hegemonic powers. The hegemonic powers, especially the USA and Russia, show clearly that they are complicit in the Kurdish genocide by approving and supporting the genocidal attacks against the Kurds. Everybody needs to be aware of this. Our people know this and take an attitude accordingly. Everyone who is in favor of freedom and democracy needs to take a stance against the forces that support the genocidal, colonialist Turkish state’s anti-Kurdish policies and who are partners in the Kurdish genocide.

The attacks of the fascist AKP-MHP alliance are also directed against the peace of the region and the will of the peoples to live together. The fascist AKP-MHP alliance aims to reach the borders of the Misakı Milli [National Pact] and thus establish its hegemony in the region by carrying out the Kurdish genocide. It intervenes in the countries of the region and binds their will by involving them in the Kurdish genocide. The countries of the region need to know that as long as they remain silent or become complicit in the attacks against the Kurds, they will lose their own will and turn into puppets that serve the Turkish state. Therefore, not only the Kurds but also the regional countries themselves must oppose the attacks of the Turkish state and not become complicit in them.

We once again condemn the genocidal attacks and call on everyone to express their protest and increase the struggle. Our people need to rise up and protest by taking to the streets wherever they are in all four parts of Kurdistan and abroad. The attacks of the fascist AKP-MHP alliance, which aims to annihilate the people of Kurdistan, can only be stopped with strong protests and a total struggle."

Women’s Defense Units (YPJ): We will defeat this genocidal mentality

November 20, ANF English - The General Command of Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) released a statement in the wake of last night’s air raids by the Turkish state that targeted several locations and killed not only members of military forces but also civilians.

“Last night’s attacks directed at the Dêrik, Kobanê, Eyn Îsa, Dirbêsiyê, Zirgan, Şehba and Til Rifat regions of Rojava and North-East Syria are a massacre committed by fascism,” said the YPJ statement on Sunday, which further included the following:

“Despite the fact that fascist Erdoğan cites the provocation in Istanbul as an excuse for the aggression, it is known to everyone that preparations to attack Rojava and North-East Syria territories have been planned long ago. The terror regime of Erdoğan is attacking our regions today with a genocidal mentality in the same way as it killed its very own people. Yet, the AKP-MHP fascism should know that they will not succeed.

We know that our people will defend their lands, which are covered with the blood of ten thousand martyrs, and claim their patriotism and values. The women and young people in Rojava and North-East Syria should take their places in positions to defend their territories against attacks.

We offer our condolences to the heroes who lost their lives in this massacre, and wish the injured a speedy recovery. Let our people know that those killed will be avenged. These attacks by the Turkish terrorist state are neither the first nor the last. We have never bowed to these attacks and we shall never take a step back. With our victorious culture of resistance, we will fight everywhere and defeat this genocidal mentality of the terror regime.”

YPG/YPJ International calls for action against Turkish attacks on North-East Syria

November 20, ANF English - People's Defense Units (YPG)/Women's Defense Units (YPJ) International released a statement denouncing last night’s Turkish attacks on Rojava and vowing to defend the revolution at all costs. The statement issued on Sunday includes the following:

“Last night the fascist Turkish state began a series of heavy airstrikes throughout North and East Syria, hitting the historic city of Kobane, as well as other targets including Shehba, Dêrik and Zirgan. These hostile attacks represent a clear escalation, as the threat of a major invasion continues to loom over the region.

Turkey’s choice of targets demonstrates the sinister nature of their intentions, attacking villages which are home to thousands of refugees from Turkish-occupied Afrin, as well as Kobanê, the site of Rojava’s historic resistance against ISIS. By attacking Kobanê, Turkey attacks the most powerful symbol of this revolution - of its strength and resistance; of the resilience of its people; of its victory against all odds. To attack Kobanê is to attack the heart and soul of this revolution. At the time of writing, bombs continue to rain down on the city, as Turkish officials take to the internet to brag about their crimes. They announced their new operation as a “time of revenge” for a recent bombing in Istanbul, which they baselessly (and conveniently) attribute to the Kurdish freedom movement. In fact, emerging evidence points to the likely involvement or knowledge of the Turkish state itself.

The true target of these attacks is not the SDF, but society here itself - the people and their movement for democratic autonomy. Their goal is not only military victory, but a genocidal policy meant to terrorize local communities and dominate the region through the expansion of a neo-Ottomon empire. To this end, last night, they bombed not only military targets but civilian villages, a grain facility, and even a hospital.

These airstrikes could not have been carried out without tacit approval from both Russia and the United States, who respectively control the region’s airspace. In this context, the statement by the US Consulate warning US citizens one day before the attack to “avoid border areas” due to a “potential Turkish military action” takes on an especially sinister tone. Once more, the United States is showing that it is only in Syria to pursue its own interests - happy to use the SDF as partners against ISIS, but quick to turn their back on these same “allies” as they face the brutal attacks and occupation of its precious NATO-partner Turkey. While President Biden may wish to distance himself from Trump’s 2019 troop withdrawal, his passive approval of Turkish aggression makes him every bit as responsible for the violence that will follow. Ironically, as before, the foreseeable consequences of a Turkish invasion will be a gift to ISIS, inevitably drawing our resources away from counter-terrorism operations in order to defend the northern border against Turkey.

As Ukraine continues to receive an outpouring of attention, sympathy and support from around the globe, the world remains silent as NATO-member Turkey carries out its own war of aggression against the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and all of Kurdistan. This hypocrisy is not lost on us. We will not forget.

Rojava must not stand alone. We call on people everywhere who value democracy, equality and women’s freedom to shine a light on what is happening in Rojava, and to take action to hold world governments accountable for their complicity in Turkey’s crimes. Today, Rojava represents a global frontline against fascism, where the paradigms of domination and liberation face each other in a battle for the future of humanity. Those of us on the ground as internationalists will do whatever it takes to hold the line. In the spirit of internationalism, we will defend the revolution at all costs!

Bijî berxwedana Rojava! Long live the resistance of Rojava! Jin, Jiyan, AzadîWomen, Life, Freedom!”

HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokespersons: Turkish airstrikes hit Kobani and other towns in Syria and northern Iraq

November 21, HDP Europe - Turkish airstrikes hit several Kurdish towns across northern Syria and Iraq, including the city of Kobani, late on November 19th and in the morning of the next day. Kobani is the city that defeated ISIS in 2014 with the support of the international community and sacrifice of thousands of young lives, many of whom were women. So far Turkish airstrikes have reportedly killed thirteen civilians, including one journalist, and fifteen Syrian soldiers, and injured many others. According to local sources, a hospital, a grains silo, and a power plant were among the destroyed civilian infrastructure.  

These attacks have followed the heinous bomb attack that took place in Istanbul on 13 November 2022, which the Turkish government instantly blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Both have strongly denied any involvement in the attack and expressed condolences for the victims. The statements of Turkish minister of interior have mystified rather than revealed the truth behind the attack, creating a lot of questions and confusion.   

We may never really learn about the forces behind the Istanbul bomb attack and their purpose, but one thing is very clear: Turkish government has been using this attack as a pretext and legitimizing ground to further its aggression against the Kurds in Syria. President Erdoğan is trying to gather international support for a major new incursion into northern Syria ahead of next year’s elections. Amid further deepening economic troubles, he conducts his election campaign on war-making and warmongering.

Turkey has publicly declared her desire to control a complete band of territory adjacent to their southern border with both Syria and Iraq, and in order to do this they have employed militants and mercenaries from multiple backgrounds, mostly Islamists. This is an acknowledged aim. But the recent attacks themselves also serve the purpose of boosting the election chances of President Erdoğan. They can be used to unite voters around a nationalist and anti-Kurdish agenda, to demonise and crack down on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is the kingmaker party in the upcoming elections, and to side-line other opposition parties, which can be expected to tail end Erdoğan’s nationalism.

Turkey has a history of blasted bombs in the run up to elections and blood-soaked electioneering. In 2015 after the AKP lost its majority in parliament in the June elections and called snap election for November, violence escalated across the country; people were subjected to several assaults, including bomb attacks. In the attack on the Labour, Peace and Democracy Rally in Ankara, over 100 people, many of whom were HDP sympathizers, were killed and more than 500 were injured. Then, the government also blamed the PKK and demonized the HDP as a key discourse in its electoral campaign. Later, it was found that the ISIS was behind the attack.

We also know that every recent Turkish election has been preceded by an invasion into northern Syria: Jarablus before the referendum on presidential system in 2017, Afrîn before the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018, and Serêkanî-Girê Spî before the local elections in 2019. President Erdoğan and his allies seem to have already started their election campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2023.

Let us emphasize that Turkey, which is a member of the NATO and the Council of Europe, is using the Russia-controlled airspace to attack the Kurds in Kobani and many other towns, who had defeated ISIS with much sacrifice in 2014 and have been continuing their fight since then. So far, Turkey has organized such attacks against the Kurds in northern Syria with impunity. Interestingly, this time the Syrian regime has not raised any strong objection, either.

The international community should not remain silent in the face of such deadly attacks that are in clear violation of the international and humanitarian law.

We hereby call on the international community, our friends and international institutions, to take immediate action against Turkey’s cross-border attacks and prevent another humanitarian catastrophe.

Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Chair: The only choice is legitimate defense

November 20, ANF English - Salih Muslim, Co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), spoke to ANF about the latest wave of Turkish air raids that targeted several locations across North-East Syria last night.

Remarking that the Turkish fascism fighting for its life is spreading terror like ISIS, Muslim said, “These latest attacks have targeted a large territory extending from Shehba to Qandil. Fighter jets are striking everywhere. One cannot know what the Turkish fascism that is fighting for its life could possibly do. It might attack and cause damage. Just out of desperateness. Their Istanbul plot did not work out and they did not achieve their goal. The whole world knows how [Turkish Interior Minister] Süleyman Soylu organized this plot.”

Muslim pointed out that the Turkish state, after its failure with the Istanbul plot, launched these attacks to intimidate the Kurds. “Since their plan did not work out, they are spreading terror like ISIS. The Turkish state seeks to intimidate the Kurdish people with fighter jets just like ISIS caused fear among the people. The Turkish fascism would not stop portraying the Kurds as an enemy.  It wants to depopulate Kurdistan through terrorist attacks.”

The PYD Co-Chair continued, “The Kurds are aware of these policies. They are not going to abandon their towns and villages. They remain home. What is required of the Kurds is that they defend themselves in four parts of Kurdistan. They should do their best on the basis of legitimate defense. We do not know if a ground operation will be launched, but if such an action takes place, the Kurds will have no choice but legitimate defense.”

Appealing to the forces in Kurdistan and the international community, Muslim said, “The whole world should raise a voice against the Turkish state brutally attacking the Kurdish people. The Turkish fascism would constitute a danger to everyone if left so. The forces in Kurdistan should defend themselves wherever they are. They should stand and act in unity and solidarity.”