As concerned Australians, we condemn Turkey’s invasion of the mainly Kurdish canton of Afrin in northern Syria, and demand that the Australian Government do all in its power to protest and stop Turkey’s brazen criminal aggression.
After receiving approval from Russia, the Turkish state has launched an air strike with 69 jets, bombing the Afrin centre and Cindirêsê, Reco, Shera, Shêrawa and Mabeta districts in northern Syria, ANF News reported on January 20.
Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin, ANF News reported.
Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink has just spent a year with Kurdish forces in northern Syria observing the democratic and feminist revolution unfolding in the region. During her recent visit to Australia, she spoke to Green Left Radio about her experience. Below is an edited and abridged transcript of the interview.
The Turkish government has proposed a new law which will ban the use of the words and terms “Kurdistan”, “Kurdish city/cities” and “Armenian Genocide” in parliament.
Parliamentarians who use these words or terms will be fined 12,000 Turkish liras (about $4500) and be banned from participating in three sessions in the Grand Assembly.
Carrying placards, which opposition parties often do to criticise the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, will also be banned.
Turkish war planes launched air strikes against Syria and Iraq on April 24.
For months local and foreign forces have been closing in on the main ISIS strongholds: the cities of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. Turkey is a NATO member and recognised as an ally against ISIS by the US-led coalition of Western powers in Iraq and Syria, that includes Australia.
But the Turkish air strikes did not target ISIS. Instead, they were aimed at the terror group’s most consistent opponents — left-wing Kurdish-led revolutionary forces.
Thousands of opposition supporters chanted, “We know we won, we know they lost, we are not afraid”, in the streets of major cities after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the April 16 referendum to strengthen presidential power.
Late in the evening police attacked opposition demonstrators outside the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
United States warships in the Mediterranean Sea launched a large cruise missile strike against government-held airfields in Syria on April 7. They fired about 60 Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat air base near Homs in central Syria as the US government called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power.
The attacks were a response to a chemical weapons attack three days earlier in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province that killed more than 70 civilians, including at least 27 children.
Among other things, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has recently published a wide-ranging interview with Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik on the role of women in the Kurdish struggle, the Rojava revolution unfolding in northern Syria and the rise of the Kurdish-led People’s Democratic Party in Turkey; and a number of new translations in the “1917: The View from the Streets – Leaflets of the Russian Revolution” series being co-ordinated by US historian Barbara Allen and Canadian socialist and Links collaborator John Riddell.
“We were taken from Mosul to Syria. There were thousands of young girls and ISIS members in the ISIS centre we were taken to. Young girls were being raped here. Young girls were forcibly brought and savagely raped, then were made to marry [ISIS members]. Those who didn’t agree were tortured and beaten up.
“We were forced to pray and read the Quran. They wanted us to wear black clothing and cover up our hands with gloves. They would sell the women who didn’t agree to this.”