Northern Syria (also known by its Kurdish name of “Rojava”) has been the scene of a social revolution with women’s liberation at its centre in recent years. However, it has come under constant attack.
Having largely defeated the ISIS gangs, the latest threat to the revolution is coming from a Turkish invasion of the Afrin Canton in Northern Syria. The invasion, carried out with Russia and US complicity, has been ongoing since January 20, causing widespread civilian casualties.
Marking International Women’s Day on March 8, women’s organisations in Afrin Canton issued an urgent appeal for support to the international community. It is slightly abridged and edited for clarity below. The original can be read here.
Kurdish women march on International Women's Day in Afrin city.
Our lands are being violated, children are being killed, and women are being assaulted, and the world is still silent about the massacres committed.
Afrin is still being attacked by the Turkish army and its supporters from al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, where the Turkish planes and helicopters began shelling the villages, towns and areas.
Not only that, they also began to shell the city centre to intimidate and displace citizens, which led to massacres against children, women, the elderly and defenceless civilians, including immigrants who had fled from their villages to the city to escape the brutality of the Turkish army.
The aim of the Turkish aggression is to displace the indigenous people of Afrin through a scorched-earth policy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying various ways to occupy Afrin by striking its infrastructure and spreading terror in the people’s hearts by shelling houses and buildings.
As a result, children are the first victim of this war, suffering through psychological and neurological trauma, as it is not easy for children to see their parents killed in front of their eyes. They also deprive children and young people of the right to education by targeting schools, which in itself is a humanitarian disaster.
The Turkish state has broken international and humanitarian laws and conventions in its aggression on Afrin. Chlorine gas has been used in border villages. This was confirmed by doctor reports through the symptoms that appeared on patients such as suffocation, redness of the skin and other symptoms. They have also mutilated bodies with the most inhumane methods.
Even the stones have not escaped their evil, as attacks have targeted historical and archaeological sites in Afrin to erase the history of civilisations living on that land, and also erase the traces of humanity from existence.
We are surprised by the international silence from humanitarian organisations, and the children’s and women’s rights organisations towards these massacres and inhumane violations committed in Afrin.
We, the women of Afrin, are determined to defend our history, our heritage and the land that we inherited from our ancestors. We pledge that we will resist and fight until we eliminate injustice and tyranny, and stop the Turkish occupation.
We, the women’s organisations in Afrin region, appeal to all human rights organisations, institutions and the United States to break their silence, and move to protect women’s history and heritage in Afrin, and stop the bloodshed and the loss of innocent lives.