Rise up for World Kobane Day

October 29, 2020
'Kobane resist' street art in Italy.

Supporters of the Rojava Revoluton in north and east Syria will commemorate the seventh anniversary of World Kobane Day on November 1.

World Kobane Day was initiated by the Kurdish Freedom Movement and its supporters at the time of the Islamic State’s (IS) siege of the city of Kobane in late 2014. The call was made to rally international solidarity for the fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were pushing back against the brutal invasion by the fascistic forces.

The significance of World Kobane Day cannot be understated. The heroic people’s resistance in Kobane turned the tide against IS and made the freedom fighters of the YPG, YPJ and SDF international symbols of liberation. It also drew world attention to the Rojava Revolution.

The people of Kobane have been rebuilding, as well as gradually furthering the institutions that replaced the chaos of those dark days. They have brought forward a new model of participatory democracy light years ahead of what reality was like for them prior to the declaration of autonomy by Kurdish revolutionary forces in 2012.

About 70% of Kobane had been destroyed by the time the siege was broken in early 2015. The streets were littered with mines and booby traps. Yet, within months, tens of thousands of people who had fled the city had returned and the water supply, which had been totally destroyed, was restored. The next year, the Kurdish Red Crescent opened a hospital. Kobane's first university opened in December 2017.

However, Kobane — much like the rest of Rojava (formally known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria, AANES) — is far from safe. Turkish troops occupying parts of Syria and Islamic fundamentalist terrorist gangs supported by the Turkish state have escalated their attacks on the populated Ain Issa region to the south-east of Kobane. One of their objectives is to cut off the M4 highway linking Kobane with the rest of the Rojava.

ANF News reported on October 24 that several attempts by the occupiers to circumvent the positions of the local military council and infiltrate the town were thwarted by the SDF.

Civilian settlements and villages along the M4 and the Ain Issa refugee camp were attacked by the terrorist gangs, supported by Turkish reconnaissance and fighter jets, which further raises the danger to the civilian population.

Aziz Xerbîsan, an SDF commander who coordinated the defense operation against the occupation forces in the village of Seyda told ANF News, "The attack was well organised. The Turkish army and allied mercenaries tried to enter the town from three sides; via Seyda in the northeast, the M4 and Ain Issa camp in the northwest. There were about fifty attackers."

“This was not their first attempt to occupy Ain Issa,” said Xerbîsan. “The town is regularly attacked, our forces respond to all attacks."

Kobane and the area around Ain Issa and along the M4 are supposed to be patrolled by Russian and United States military forces, under the terms of a ceasefire agreement made in 2019, but, according to the SDF, they did not intervene, even though the attack took place right in front of Russian and Syrian troops.

“The attacks have caused extensive material damage to the homes and farmland of the civilian population. Even motorists are being shot at. The main focus of the attacks is the expulsion of the traditional inhabitants. Such attacks are defined as war crimes. The US and Russia, under whose aegis the ceasefire agreement was signed last fall, are merely watching.”

In its call for international solidarity on World Kobane Day 2020, the group Women Defend Rojava said: “On June 23 this year, three activists of the women’s movement Kongra Star were murdered by Turkish drones in a village in Kobane.

"This attack on women’s rights activists is an attack on society, the women’s movement and the democratic system in Rojava ...

“But this won’t stop us. With the spirit of our murdered comrades we will strengthen our fighting spirit and offer resistance as we did in Kobane. Because resistance means life.”

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