The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is announcing on Tuesday the official start of the operation to liberate Raqqa from Jihadis.
On Monday, the SDF tightened the siege on Jihadis in Raqqa city after liberating three more villages in its northern countryside and killing at least 36 Jihadis.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces continue to close in on ISIS around Raqqa. The SDF has gained about 350 square kilometers from ISIS in the last week. The SDF is poised around Raqqa. They’re within three kilometers of Raqqa City from the north and the east, and are about 10 kilometers from the city to the west,” Army Colonel Ryan Dillon told us.
“The coalition continues to service ISIS targets with precision air and artillery strikes as the enemy attempts to strengthen their defenses in and around Raqqa. The coalition conducted 59 strikes in support of the isolation of Raqqa this past week, hitting fighting positions, construction equipment, artillery systems and command and control nodes,” he added.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces have given instructions for citizens of Raqqa to vacate. Currently, Raqqa IDPs right now are almost 200,000, with 92,000 of them in camps. Other ones are in settlements that are just built-up settlements,” Dillon stated.
Moreover, he said that the SDF and the Raqqa Civilian Council have made the decision to ask civilians to depart as opposed to staying in Raqqa.
“As far as asking them to leave, that is a decision, just as the decision for the initial stages of Mosul, for civilians to stay, was by the government of Iraq and the Iraqi Security Forces. The same applies here in Raqqa,” he said.
The progress comes as part of the US-backed Euphrates Wrath Operation to liberate Raqqa province from Jihadis.
On 13 April, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the fourth phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation against Islamic State’s extremists to clear out the northern countryside of Raqqa.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, 2016, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in Northern Raqqa.
On 10 December, 2016, the SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath, during which it captured over 2500 km² in Western Raqqa.
On 4 February, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, and liberated dozens of villages in Eastern Raqqa from Jihadis.
The campaign is ultimately aimed at liberating the city of Raqqa from Jihadis.
Nazi Erdoğan tries Volksverhuizing on Rojava. The People’s Protection Units, Yekîneyên Parastina Gel YPG, is the main armed service of the Kurdish Federation of Western Kurdistan Rojava. Rojava demands a seat on the table, but Erdoğanistan demands Rojava on the menu! Teflon Sultan Erdoğan said the PYD forces had not retreated to east of the Euphrates River River in Rojava despite claims by the U.S. that the group is withdrawing. But Turkey is not retreating to west of Euphrates in Anatolia either!
As the ongoing clashes between the Turkish government and Kurds intensify and more innocent civilians are dying, there is something distinct and intangible about terrorist Erdogan, his deep-rooted personal hatred of Kurds. Erdogan suffers from Kurdophobia, he is a true Kurd-hater imposing a Kurdish genocide.
Jihadi-in-chief Erdoğan calls the heroic Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and all other Kurdish groups terrorists. Erdogan says he has been fighting Kurdish terrorism for forty years, adding that although different Kurdish groups and parties may have different names, they’re all terrorist organizations!
The corrupt president vowed Turkey would continue its anti-terrorist operation in Northern Kurdistan until everyone who’s fight against Turkey or even supports Kurds will be buried in the trenches they have dug. Erdogan could end up in The Hague for genocide of Kurds.
Jihadi-in-chief Erdoğan declares Turkey would do whatever is necessary to eliminate the Kurdish revolt and Ankara doesn’t want to hear anybody’s opinion about what to do with Kurds and how the ongoing confrontation could be solved using negotiations and other peaceful measures.
The Kurds, Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, are striving to create their own independent state. The PKK was founded in the late 1970s to promote the self-determination for the Kurdish community.
Viva Kurdistan! Kurdistan encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges, which include parts of southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Western Kurdistan or Rojava), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and western Iran (Eastern Kurdistan). Kurds seek to create an independent nation state of Kurdistan.
Corrupt Erdoğan is a master of double-dealing. The corrupt Turkish government made an agreement with USA to partner in the fight against ISIS. But Ankara is using that as a cover-up to escalate its fight against Kurds in Turkey. We are witnessing a Kurdish genocide. Turks are masters of genocides. Kurdistan must now be liberated from the barbaric Turkish occupation.
Corrupt Erdoğan terrorizes Kurds. While the world’s attention has been focused on Syria, the Turkish army has launched an operation within its country. Turkey is moving on the fast track to civil war, and is in a spiral of violence. There are several clashes in many Kurdish cities. In Cizre there were many civilians that were killed by the security forces. Elections are just milestones towards which this violence escalates. Regarding the war on Jihadis in Syria, the Turkish government made an agreement with USA to be a partner in that fight. But they are using that as a cover-up to escalate their fight against Kurds in Turkey.
We stand by the heroic Kurds who fight for their independence. Turkey is attacking its own civilians. There is no doubt that for the Kurds, this is going to be, in a sense, the center of a Kurdish movement in Iraq and also in Northern Syria. Right now in Syria, Kurds are the only viable ground forces that USA and allies can use against ISIS. And that is a major point of contention between the Turkish government and USA. Kurds help in fighting Jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and Jihadis are the protégé of Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the de facto caliph of Jihadis!
The Independence war of Kurdistan gets hot hot hot. The Turkish government claims these are two different organizations or the fight against terrorism includes the fight against PKK. The 2015 June 1st election after which the Kurdish party managed to enter the parliament and captured 19 percent of the votes prevented the AKP government from having a majority and changing the constitution to allow a presidential system for corrupt Erdoğan.
It was a turning point that corrupt Erdoğan decided to end the ceasefire with the Kurds and start an onslaught attack on them. There have been thousands of Kurds killed. Many Kurdish cities are cut from all the communications lines. Under curfew, people are not allowed to even go to hospital, buy food or drink water. Even MPs are not allowed to enter Kurdish cities. It is a complete martial law in the Kurdish cities depending on which one corrupt Erdoğan chooses to attack. Most mayors of Kurdish cities are arrested and tortured.
We also have an onslaught attack on the free press. Major newspapers are attacked including famous journalists. And corrupt Erdogan has been suing journalists left and right for insulting the president. Erdoğan mafiosi are out of control.
Turkey is scared that Kurds will move into nationhood and have independence. And any independence movement in Syria the Turkish government interprets as a track towards its own national security which is ungrounded.
Turkey’s Kurdish problem risks turning into a people’s war between Turks and Kurds, underling that the conflict and polarization policy of corrupt Erdoğan will only end when he self-destructs. The new generation of Kurds has completely lost trust in the government while the government almost encourages the lynching of Kurds, as seen in recent attacks on civilian Kurds.
Erdoğan believes that he is politically strengthened by increasing numbers of killed soldiers. Erdoğan’s policy to denounce his critics as parallel and terrorist become meaningless because it has become absurd. If Öcalan says to drop the guns, Erdoğan would not like it. Erdoğan thinks that he gains more power the more coffins arrive. For instance, the Kurdistan Communities Union KCK has asked for a joint cease-fire with Öcalan as its chief negotiator, but there has been no reaction from corrupt Erdoğan.
The incorporation into Turkey of the Kurdish-inhabited regions of eastern Anatolia was opposed by all Kurds, and has resulted in a long-running separatist conflict. In 1983, the Kurdish provinces were placed under martial law in response to the activities of the heroic Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). A guerrilla war took place through the 1980s and 1990s in which much of the countryside was evacuated, thousands of Kurdish-populated villages were destroyed, and numerous extrajudicial summary executions were carried out.
More than 40,000 people were killed in the violence and hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their homes. Volatility in the region eased following the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999, and, with the encouragement of European Union, the adoption of tolerance policies toward Kurdish cultural activities by the Turkish state. After 2004, political violence increased, and the Turkish-Iraqi border region remains tense.
Every day, the heroic Kurds sing Ey Reqîb (Kurdish: ئەی ڕەقیب), the Kurdish national anthem. It was written by the Kurdish poet and political activist, Dildar in 1938, while in jail. Ey Reqîb means Hey Enemy, in reference to the jail guards in the prison where Dildar was held and tortured and who also symbolized the occupying countries of Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.
Kurdistan has been a paragon of dignity. What soul could remain unstirred by the sight of heroic Kurds fighting for their independence from terrorist Turkey and corrupt Erdoğan? Country roads take me to the mountains of Kurdistan to meet those magnificent heroes of our times.
With the Rojava revolution, the Kurdish women organized themselves in the self-defense area as well as social, diplomatic and economic spheres. Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) was developed in the Rojava revolution, became an effective force in all three cantons and answered the attacks from the outside as the authentic women’s organization. Women organizing in both war and life have rewritten women’s history in Rojava, the fortress of resistance.
Rojava Kurds, determined to found their own system against all pressures, started building the democratic autonomy in July 19, 2012. Rojava Kurds waged a war of honor for humanity, all the while continuing their building efforts with determination. In many cities in Rojava, women started institutions like security forces women’s branches, people’s assemblies, women’s foundations, women’s communes, women’s organisations, courts, people’s centers, cultural and arts centers, youth centers and such. Armenians, Arabs and Assyrians also took part in these institutions and they were built, step by step. The people organised in these institutions on the basis of democratic autonomy and held awareness raising efforts.
Against military attacks to Rojava cities following the declaration of the democratic system, Rojava Kurds self-organized in the military area under the name People’s Defense Units (YPG).
YPG was formed for the defense of the people and Kurdish women took active part in the people’s defense. Because the Rojava revolution was developing under the leadership of women and the need for the authentic organization of Kurdish women was seen in every area. And so on December 2, 2012, Women’s Defense Units(YPJ) was formed.
Many international bodies including the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League continue to push for a Palestinian state, while ignoring calls for a Kurdish one. For far too long, the Arab, Turkish and Iranian peoples and leaderships have used the Israeli-Palestinian issue as justification for their own problems.
Without acknowledging the Kurdish question, which spans four major states — Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey — the Middle East will have trouble achieving stability.
The goal of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been used by Arabs, Turks and Iranians in the Middle East as a cover to deflect criticism away from their own indifferent leadership. The 22 existing Arab States, along with Turkey and Iran, can easily establish a homeland for the Palestinians, but they are not interested in doing so. The goal of these states is not to create another Arab state, but to eradicate an only Jewish state.
Giving the Palestinians a state will not solve the Syrian civil war, the Sunni-Shiite divisions in Iraq will remain, the destructive Islamist path of Turkey’s President Erdogan will continue, the world will see continued Iranian aggression against Israel, Sunnis, and Kurds, and the hold hat both Iran and Saudi Arabia have on Islam will only strengthen.
The Kurds are large in number (an estimated 40-50 million) and have a unique language, culture, and identity that differs markedly from their neighbors. The main problems in the region center around Islam versus Islam (Arab-Arab, Arab-Iran, Arab-Turk, Iran-Turk) or Islam versus minorities, including Christians, Yezidis, Chaldeans, Alevis, Jews, etc. Kurds embrace Western values such as gender equality, religious freedom and human rights.
The Kurdish people have continually suffered in the Middle East. The Turks, under the Ottomans killed tens of thousands of Kurds in massacres in Dersim and Zilan. By the 1990s, more than 3,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed. According to Human Rights Watch, 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced in Turkey.
The Kurds have a distinct language and, although Sunni Muslim, they are relatively secular. Within areas with majority Kurdish populations live Kurdish Jews, Shiites, Christians, and Yezidis. This diversity has shaped a tolerant nature within their society. The Kurds push for the separation of religion and state, and allow for churches, mosques, synagogues and temples to be built next to one another — a respect for the “other” rarely seen in the Middle East.
Under the dictatorships in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, the Kurds are still suffering from Arabization, Turkification, and the Iranian tactic of forcible land confiscation.
The Kurds are no strangers to having their historical territories taken over by such regimes; they therefore understand and respect minority rights. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has embraced its Jewish community, and rescued over 3,000 Kurdish Yezedis from ISIS when they were trapped on Mount Shingal in Mosul. Many Christians and minority communities have even requested they be part of the Kurdistan region after the state of Iraq failed them.
Kurds have also taken in 300,000 Syrian refugees and 2.3 million internally displaced peoples (IDP) from Iraq. The KRG does not distinguish between them as Sunni-Shiite or Muslim-Christian, but recognizes them as humans suffering from war. This is far different from what we see in Arab nations. Many Gulf states to date have not taken in any refugees, despite sharing a common religion. Saudi Arabia, home of holy cities of Mecca and Medina, has quietly squelched the thought of allowing refugees to seek protection there, even as the Saudi kingdom has hundreds of thousands of empty air-conditioned tents available while their own Arab brothers are suffering in neighboring states. A similar situation is seen in Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait.
Iran has sent Afghan refugees to fight in Syria by force, under the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which already has violated countless human rights agreements. Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director at HRW states that, Iran has not just offered Afghan refugees and migrants incentives to fight in Syria, but several said they were threatened with deportation back to Afghanistan unless they did. Iran imprisons and publicly executes Kurds to this day. States such as Jordan and Lebanon are forced to take in refugees largely because they share a border with Iraq and Syria; would they if they were not forced?
Turkey has used the refugee crisis from the Syrian civil war as political leverage against the European Union to gain accession into the 28-nation bloc, to receive financial aid ($3 billion a year) and to change the demographics of the Kurdish regions in the southeast. There are even reports of Erdogan’s regime forcing male refugees in Turkey to go back into Syria to fight with the Turkish military in exchange for aid to their families.
Women in Kurdish society were not always free. Kurds are predominantly tribal and many live in rural mountainous regions. Kurdish women were historically victims of honor killings and child marriages. The move away from these practices began when Kurdish resistance groups began to form in the wake of Turkey’s crackdowns during the 1980’s military coups. The founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, strongly believes in women’s liberation and even wrote a book titled Liberating Life: Women’s Revolution. Ocalan believed that, “A country cannot be free unless women are free.” Kurdistan even recently hosted the International Conference on Women and Human Rights, where it pushed for greater support for women’s leadership in the KRG.
The emphasis on gender rights as well as ethnic and national rights is a form of democracy unseen in the Middle East. States such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) appoint women to positions such as “Minister of Happiness,” which not only belittles women but continues to suppress the potential they can provide to society as a whole.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein attacked the Kurds with chemical weapons in 1988. He murdered 5,000 civilians and destroyed 4,000 villages. Hussein aggressively went after minorities such as the Kurds, despite being Sunni Muslims. Between 1988-1991, his regime murdered thousands, effectively committing genocide.
Under Saddam Hussein, thousands of Kurds were forced to leave their homes when the Iraqi military destroyed villages and towns. Arab families were given financial incentives to move north, and the Iraqi government embarked on housing construction projects to bring more Arab families north in order to change the demographic make-up of the north.
The Syrian and Turkish regimes have done the same. In Syria, Hafez Assad, Bashar Assad’s father, cracked down on Sunni majority and denied Kurds their right to speak Kurdish or open Kurdish schools. Kurds were considered stateless peoples as they were denied Syrian citizenship. Ironically, Hafez Assad had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1969, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. His son, Bashar, also agreed to the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 2003. So much for that.
Turkey is virtually at war with its Kurds and continues to deny rights to effectively all minorities. Greeks, Armenians and Alevis are oppressed and removed from their historical lands. From the Armenian Genocide to denying the peoplehood of the Kurds, Turkish nationalism has been the main cause of instability within the state. Founded upon the notion of western-secularism by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been attempting to reestablish the primacy of Islam. Erdogan has labeled the Kurds as separatists and a threat.
Turkey also apparently fears the success of the Kurds in Syria in their fight against ISIS, and their declaration of an autonomous region. Erdogan seems concerned that his Kurdish population will call for autonomy, as it has.
The Kurds, in 1946, temporarily managed to establish their own independent state in northwestern Iran, with the help of the Soviet Union. The Kurdish struggle for freedom continues in Rojhalat (east) for the recognition of their identity and political rights. During the Iran-Iraq war, Kurds were used by both powers against one another as pawns, in order to irritate the other side. Saddam Hussein pushed the Kurds in Iran to rise up, and Iran gave arms to the Kurds in Iraq to fight against the Ba’athist regime, all while killing their own Kurdish populations. To date, Kurds striving to be recognized as a legitimate minority within Iran either disappear, are imprisoned, or are publicly executed.
Many of the Kurds affected by these ruling powers did not want to separate, but simply to be able to live a peaceful and stable life; the push for a state was the creation of the states themselves, through their oppression of the Kurds.
Any new state that is established must be willing to live with its neighbor in peace. Kurds will need to establish close relations with all the states from which they are separating, particularly as Kurdistan will be landlocked.
The creation of a Kurdish state would above all acknowledge that the Kurds exist as a distinct entity, through their language, respect for equal rights, and their secular culture.
With the little stability the Kurds have in northern Iraq since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, and the advancement of the Kurds in Rojava within two years after pushing back ISIS, they have proven capable of running a state and respecting all those within it. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the recently-declared autonomous territory in Rojava (western Syrian-Kurdistan) have been a model for all states in the region to follow.
As liberal as Kurdistan has become in respect to social freedoms, it continues to be surrounded by states that lack similar values. The states surrounding Kurdish territories, including Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey are currently either failed or under oppressive regimes.
Because Kurds are religiously diverse moderates who prioritize their ethno-linguistic identity over religion, Kurdistan offers an opportunity for all its citizens to look towards an inclusive, pluralistic society where religious freedom is not only tolerated, but encouraged.
Kurds respect both the Sunnis and the Shiites within their territories and have strong ties with the only Jewish state in the Middle East. A Kurdish state has the potential to bring amity to an otherwise unstable region.