Ανοιχτή καμπάνια για την οικονομική και πολιτική στήριξη του αγώνα των ανταρτών και ανταρτισσών του YPG/YPJ

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From Tuzluçayır to Kobane: Interview With An Anarchist Warrior

The following article is an interview with an environmentalist, vegetarian anarchist from Turkey who is a member of Sosyal isyan (Social Insurrection) fighting as part of Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri (United Freedom Forces) alongside the YPG / YPJ in Kobane, Rojava. The interview was conducted by H. Burak Öz and originally appeared on the website. We would like to thank the comrade Ece for translating the interview into English for us.

Environmentalist, vegetarian, anarchist combatants who fight in Kobane. 

We are sitting at the headquarters of United Freedom Forces (Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri) in Kobane. I ask for a cigarette from a fighter aiming to meet and talk with him. While he offers one, I’m asking how many group form the United Freedom Forces. He says that, this force consist of salvationists (Kurtuluşçular), MLSPB, TDP and anarchists and indicates that he is an anarchist too.

What is the aim of fighting here for the anarchists?

I’m one of the founders of Social Insurrection and also their spokesperson. When the attack of ISIS started in Kobane, in the name of international solidarity, not considering it too much, we idealized to raise the defense as International Brigades much like in the Spanish Civil War.

United Freedom Forces was formed by different socialist factions from Turkey. Being an anarchist, how did you become involved with this structure?

United Freedom Forces was founded when we arrived. We made a call to anarchists and ecologists.

Are there any other anarchist fighters who came from other countries than Turkey? 

Comrades came from Italy and Spain. There is also an Argentinian anarchist who fights not with us but in YPG.

When was Social Insurrection founded?

Social Insurrection was founded in 2013 in the tents of resistance in Tuzluçayır. (District in Istanbul Turkey – translator)

Why did you prefer a black and green flag?

Both because of the memory of Makhno peasants and also because of the fact that we are also ecologists.

What sort of a structure does Social Insurrection have? 

We defend class war and reject neo-liberal anarchism. Mostly we have classical anarchist, Makhno and Proudhonian comrades. Generally, we have a platformist comprehension. We can call Social Insurrection as: we didn’t take Bakunin, Proudhon, Luigi, Galleani, Malatesta etc as they were. We examined every anarchist and added our own thoughts and said that we are the Social Insurrectionists.

When did you enter the armed struggle?

We defended armed struggle from the beginning of our foundation. Specifically, we were influenced by the view of insurrectionist anarchism of Alfredo M. Bonanno. We founded our own insurrectionist theory. We believe that the revolution will start with armed struggle. First, 3-5 armed acts in Turkish slums like Okmeydanı and now, this all led us to Kobane. But first of all, we dreamed about it.. If we hadn’t dreamed about it and tried to practice it, we would just be drinking beers in a bar in Kadıköy or Beyoğlu. Some of our comrades stayed as they were.

How is the approach of Kurdish Movement to you in Kobane?

In some way, our presence in Kobane shows that anarchist armed struggle didn’t end in the Spanish Civil War. At the beginning, socialist and Apoist (defenders of Abdullah Öcalan) friends were surprised to see anarchists using guns in here. A kind of an idea of anarchism created in minds. Actually, people don’t really know anarchism in here. They know anarchists as against everything and to all sorts of organization. There is a nice statement by Kropotkin: “Anarchy is order.” We’re explaining and taking the responsibility of it. Even though its responsibility is hard to take, we’re trying to manage it.

In which point does theory of the ecological anarchism and the practice in Kobane overlap?

We lived such things in here that we couldn’t figure according to which movement we have to act, we couldn’t find the answer in books.

Like what? 

This is a military war. For example, we reject all sort of hierarchy but in here, you have to have a team commandant. You can’t give a walky-talkie to everyone in here or no one can act in his/her own way. Maybe the naturality creates its own priorities. We understood what the guidance of Malatesta and natural leadership of Bakunin was here, which we hadn’t understood while reading. There was information, we practiced it and we obtained information once again.

What were you dreaming about before coming to Kobane and what did you find?

I thought I would have some problems about the chain of command but I didn’t. I didn’t confront with any sort of pressure or difficulty within YPG and United Freedom Forces. Some of our comrades may have screamed while a bullet passed near our heads in stressful times of war but it’s normal.

Didn’t any ecological problems occur?

There was an orientalist point of view such as there was a need for people to come here to fill the gap of awareness. For example, comrades from Italy wanted to import organic agriculture but there are people who already know organic agriculture and they apply it. They are talking about ecology. A Spanish comrade insisted on “not using diesel oil to light a fire”. You’re in a place where diesel oil costs 7 cents. Wood is more expensive and you can’t find it easily because the place is generally a desert. There are olive trees but they are planted with agriculture. You can’t cut them. So, its absurd to tell these people “don’t use diesel oil, why do you use diesel oil to warm up?”

You told us earlier that comrades from United Freedom Forces asked socialist friends not to eat meat and to apologize to the animals that they’ve killed but when you were cut off from supplies, you ate mostly meat. Can you talk about that? 

So many things happened in the mountains. Supplies didn’t arrive. We were hungry and there wasn’t anything else other than the ducks that were left behind by the villagers. When the comrades began cutting the ducks, I said “what are you doing? It’s murder!” but I said it detached from reality, as a reflex. Things that we do according just to theory had collapsed.

You are fighting with socialists in the same group. Have any theoretical discussions occurred among you?

Even when they do, they are more like banter. We never had a problem. Us and them, we are all conscious that we came here for international solidarity. We are all acting accordingly to revolutionary ethics. We sleep side by side and we eat together. We are trying to understand each other. Maybe we need a new revolutionary theory in the 21st century that this practice may add something into, in terms of understanding each other.

You must have had some times that you approached to death. What do you think of in such moments?

I definitely had but in battlefront, you think of your comrades. Maybe there are some moments of fear and panic but when you hear gun sounds, they all disappear. I mean, you develop a reflex to protect yourself and your comrades.

What is this Coca-Cola can?

Don’t touch! It’s a handmade bomb.

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The International Freedom Battalion of Rojava and participation from greece

Response of the Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity (from greece) and the International Freedom Battalion’s full statement upon the announcement of it’s creation.


Members of the International Freedom Battalion, anarchist and communist comrades from Europe, after the liberation of city Tel Abiyad.



R.U.I.S.’ solidarity response:

The Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity is a formation for struggle with the aim to practice solidarity in the international field of armed conflicts on the the side of the classes of the oppressed who fight towards social liberation from the domination of states and of capital.
Solidarity in practice should bear characteristics of a common struggle at every critical point, a struggle which creates the world of revolution and which through its radical character, breaks the boundaries of tyranny, of oppression and of exploitation.
Specially, in responding to the call-out of MLKP for international solidarity we decided to take part with commitment to the necessities of the social struggle in Kurdistan.
We are there to offer our services to the struggle and to learn from the multi-faceted and resourceful living revolutionary process.
We recognise in this struggle:
-Its fundamental class character
-Its anti-fascist and anti-imperialist character
-Its social liberation character
Along with the multiform reinforcement of the revolutionary forces in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and the wider Middle East, the Revolutionary Union for Internationalist Solidarity aims to open up a path of solidarity from Greece, which will not only attempt to realise the vision of  Internationalist Revolutionary Solidarity, but will also pursue the coordination and collaboration beyond the local boundaries.
Even though we have formulated our own political programme towards libertarian communism, we recognise the fundamental value of a broad collectivisation based on a broad range of conditions while at the same time each participant maintains their autonomy.

R.U.I.S.                                                                                                 April 2015




The International Freedom Battalion’s full statement upon the announcement of it’s creation:


“The Middle East has been a bloodbath because of imperialist vampires and exploiters. These same forces brought together the ISIS so that people in the region would bow down to occupation and oppression. The ISIS gangs massacre Christian, Êzîdî, Assyrian, and Muslim peoples. Gangs sell women and children in slave markets and organise massive executions in ways that resemble the centuries-long strategies of their imperialist masters.

The organised peoples’ resistance against these forces’ desire to destroy their languages, faiths, lives, and identities has been led by the People’s and Women’s Protection Units (YPG-YPJ) and was successful in places such as Kobanê, Şengal, Til-Hemis, and Serekaniyê.

The Rojava revolution came to the fore of global politics and the YPG-YPJ resistance is admired and supported by impoverished masses. With international fighters, Rojava became today’s Bekaa and Palestine. The Rojava Revolution is the Paris Commune under German siege, Madrid during the Spanish civil war, and Stalingrad during the 2nd Imperitalist War (WW2).

The Rojava revolution has upset the balance of power in neighboring countries, especially Turkey, and has become the heart of world revolution and the beacon of resistance for oppressed peoples.

As a women’s revolution, Rojava has strengthened women’s will and become the symbol of struggle against patriarchy and global bigotry.

Revolutionaries across the world have turned their attention to Rojava and never hesitated to fight and die for victory here in order to expand the revolution.

Revolutionary forces in Turkey and different parts of the globe have come to Rojava in order to strengthen the revolution and expand the war to the lands they came from.

We fight in Rojava, die as martyrs and carry the banner of resistance…

We fight at the frontline against imperialism and bigots in the region…

We confront the ISIS gangs’ brutal attacks on the revolution…

We live the revolution and feel it in our veins and cells…

We are the people in Kurdistan who made the Rojava revolution, the workers, oppressed people, women and internationalist revolutionaries who fight under the banner of the YPG-YPJ…

We are Spanish, German, Greek, Turkish, Arab, Armenian, Laz, Circassian, and Albanian…

We are the revolutionary forces and organisations that have come together from different parts of the world to form the INTERNATIONALIST FREEDOM BRIGADE.

All oppressed people, workers, laborers, women, youth, religious groups, ecologists, anti-imperialists, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, democrats and revolutionaries of the world; we call on you to fight under the banner of the INTERNATIONALIST FREEDOM BRIGADE in order to defend the Rojava revolution and expand it to establish people’s fraternity in the Middle East and rest of the world…”



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The YPG Campaign for Tel Abyad and Northern ar-Raqqa Province

19 June 2015
by Christopher Kozak & Genevieve Casagrande
Key Takeaway: YPG forces supported by FSA-affiliated rebel forces and U.S.-led coalition airstrikes seized the ISIS-held border crossing of Tel Abyad in northern ar-Raqqa Province on June 15, 2015, in a major victory for Syrian Kurds and the international anti-ISIS coalition. These gains successfully connect the Kurdish cantons of Kobani and Hasakah into one contiguous zone of YPG control along the Turkish border and optimally positioned joint YPG-FSA forces for an eventual advance south towards the ISIS stronghold of ar-Raqqa City. Kurdish forces cooperated with a coalition of Arab tribes, Assyrian paramilitary forces, and FSA-affiliated rebel factions to enable its rapid advance, although sustained accusations of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the YPG of Arab civilians may disrupt wider coordination with the Syrian opposition. Recent YPG gains will also likely exacerbate tensions between Syrian Kurds, the Turkish government, and the Assad regime in a way which limits the options available to both the YPG and the U.S. in the fight against ISIS in northern and eastern Syria.
Syrian Kurdish YPG forces supported by FSA-affiliated rebel forces and U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes seized the ISIS-held border town of Tel Abyad in northern ar-Raqqa Province on June 15, 2015. This victory marks the culmination of a new YPG-led campaign to reverse ISIS’s gains against the three Kurdish cantons of northern Syria, including Hasakah, Kobani, and Afrin; to limit the flow of direct ISIS reinforcement through the Tel Abyad border crossing to ar-Raqqa City and eastern Syria; and to establish a contiguous Kurdish region stretching from Kobani to Hasakah Province. Tel Abyad is a border town on the Syrian-Turkish border between two Kurdish areas, Hasakah and Kobani that lies immediately north of ISIS-held Raqqa city. Tel Abyad and its surrounding villages represented a pocket of ISIS-held terrain which blocked transit between the Hasakah and Kobani cantons and simultaneously provided ISIS with direct supply lines for reinforcement and resupply between the Turkish border and the self-declared ISIS capital city of ar-Raqqa. Although ISIS steadily lost ground to joint Kurdish and rebel forces in eastern Aleppo Province in the immediate aftermath of the failure of its Kobani offensive in March 2015, ISIS forces managed to establish relatively stable defensive lines to protect Tel Abyad from the west. ISIS even achieved limited gains in Hasakah Province to the east, where Kurdish and regime forces maintain an informal alliance to cooperate in securing the province against ISIS advances.
The new YPG operation, announced on May 6 under the name Operation Martyr Rubar Qamishlo after a fallen YPG commander who died fighting ISIS, sought to reverse this dynamic and roll back the remaining ISIS presence in northern Syria. The operation began in Hasakah Province with a YPG push south from the Turkish border crossing at Ras al-Ayn east of Tel Abyad, directed tosecure numerous villages recently threatened by ISIS, including the crossroads town of Tel Tamir, the Assyrian villages of the Khabour River Valley, and the entirety of the Abdul Aziz mountain range west of Hasakah City. The YPG conducted this phase of the operation with the assistance of local Assyrian militia formations. Once the YPG had secured the western flank of Hasakah Province, YPG forces began the advance west towards Tel Abyad and seized the town of Mabrouka southwest of Ras al-Ayn on May 26 after receiving a “green light” from the U.S.-led air coalition to seize the entirely of the Kobani – Hasakah road along the Turkish border. This decision signaled U.S. support for some form of contiguous Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria despite continuing Turkish reservations regarding the expansion of YPG influence on its southern border.
In response, ISIS launched an offensive against regime positions south of Hasakah City on May 30 in an apparent attempt to divert Kurdish resources and disrupt the ongoing YPG offensive. However, ISIS’s effort failed to draw significant numbers of Kurdish fighters towards Hasakah City, and YPG forces supported by FSA-affiliated rebels subsequently seized dozens of villages west andeast of Tel Abyad in a consolidated effort to envelope the border city. These advances culminated in the seizure of the town of Suluk 20 kilometers southeast of Tel Abyad on June 14.  The next day, YPG and FSA forces penetrated Tel Abyad from the southeast and quickly overwhelmed the small, unreinforced ISIS force that remained in the town, prompting them to surrender to Turkish forces at the border or flee south towards Ayn Issa and ar-Raqqa City. YPG and rebel commanders have since messaged that the next phase of anti-ISIS operations will involve a joint YPG-FSA offensive south from Tel Abyad to seize Ayn Issa, sever interior ISIS lines of communication, and threaten ar-Raqqa City. This operation could potentially enable anti-ISIS forces to penetrate into ISIS’s core stronghold in Syria in a development which may produce positive ramifications for other anti-ISIS operations across Iraq and Syria.
Who is Involved?
The YPG leveraged a coalition of allied forces in order to buttress its offensives in northern Syria and promote its inclusiveness to non-Kurdish populations in the region. In Hasakah Province to the east, YPG forces resisting ISIS’s advances in Tel Tamir and themajority-Assyrian villages along the Khabour River Valley received assistance from a number of Assyrian paramilitary formations, including local residents enrolled in the ‘Khabour Guards’ as well as fighters from the greater Syriac Military Council (MFS). YPG units in Hasakah Province also cooperated closely with Jaysh al-Sanadid, an Arab tribal militia commanded by Sheikh Hamidi Daham al-Hadi of the historically pro-Kurdish Shammar tribe of northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq. Although these groups remain driven largely by local concerns and have not played noticeable roles in the YPG offensive on Tel Abyad, their presence enables the YPG to deploy manpower towards offensive action without compromising security in its rear areas.
In Kobani canton to the west of Tel Abyad, the YPG operates alongside a number of FSA-aligned Syrian rebel factions organized under the umbrella of the Burkan al-Firat (Euphrates Volcano) Operations Room. The Euphrates Volcano Operations Room wasfounded on September 10, 2014, with the expressed intent of expelling ISIS from eastern Aleppo and ar-Raqqa Provinces. The majority of the groups participating in the operations room consist of local brigades seeking to reclaim their home regions following losses to ISIS which forced them to seek shelter in Kurdish-held areas. The presence of these rebel fighters thus provides YPG forces with added legitimacy in their efforts to seize and administer Tel Abyad and the surrounding villages of northern ar-Raqqa Province, which are populated primarily by Arab and Turkmen civilians sympathetic to ISIS.
Ethnic Cleansing?
Despite its inclusion of FSA-affiliated rebel factions and other local paramilitary forces, prominent opposition actors have accused YPG forces of perpetrating a number of abuses against Arab civilians during the advance into northern ar-Raqqa Province. These allegations largely center upon claimed YPG involvement in the forced displacement of Arab civilians and the burning of Arab homes in an “ethnic cleansing” campaign designed to lay the foundation for the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria. On May 30, as YPG forces began the advance towards Tel Abyad, the exiled Syrian National Coalition (SNC) released a statement accusing the YPG of committing “violations” against the local civilian population in Hasakah Province which served to “encourage sectarian and ethnic extremism.” In early June, Syrian opposition figures reaffirmed their concern over reports of YPG civilian abuses against Arab and Turkmen populations in light of the imminent fall of Tel Abyad. Former Syrian Military Council (SMC) chief of staff Salim Idriss stated his concern regarding Kurdish abuses against civilians, while Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, and thirteen other prominent rebel brigades released a joint statement demanding that the YPG be listed as a “terrorist organization” due to its “ethnic cleansing” of Arab areas. Independent media organizations have also reported these allegations, although no clear evidence has yet been presented. These accusations may threaten to disrupt the current cooperation between Kurdish forces and the Syrian opposition amidst preparations for a FSA-led offensive towards ar-Raqqa City.
The YPG capture of Tel Abyad marks a major strategic victory for Kurdish forces and their efforts to form the governance structures of a self-declared Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria termed ‘Rojava.’ Kurdish control over Tel Abyad and its countrysideprovided a physical link between the Cizire (Hasakah) and Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) cantons for the first time, bolstering the YPG’s value to the international anti-ISIS coalition as well as Kurdish claims to self-governance. However, these gains also escalate tensions with two prominent actors: Turkey and the Assad regime. The Turkish government has repeatedly condemned the YPG as a “terrorist” group due to its connections with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and Turkish President Recep Erdoganwarned on June 14 that the YPG seizure of Tel Abyad “could lead to the creation of a structure [i.e. Rojava] that threatens our borders”. These concerns could ultimately drive the Turkish government to curtail or otherwise limit its participation in the international anti-ISIS coalition.
Meanwhile, the Assad regime maintains an uneasy balance with YPG forces in Hasakah Province, particularly in the cities of Hasakah and Qamishli, and remains unwilling to allow a Kurdish separation from Syria. Similarly, Syrian Kurds harbor no sympathy for the Assad regime following years of systemic repression and the removal of the remaining regime presence in Hasakah Province forms a necessary precondition for the formation of a truly autonomous Rojava, Although regime and YPG forces continue to informally cooperate in Hasakah Province, this engrained antipathy has resulted in numerous minor clashes between regime and YPG forces in northeastern Syria. In one recent incident, YPG forces refused to provide support to regime forces during an early June 2015 ISIS offensive against regime positions south of Hasakah City, prompting the state-owned Al-Watan newspaper to publish a critique of the “American project” to establish an independent Kurdish entity. One day after the fall of Tel Abyad, YPG and regime forcesengaged in clashes throughout Qamishli which the YPG blamed on regime “provocations”. These tensions will likely intensify as the YPG continues to gain ground in northern Syria and the regime suffers additional losses in western Syria.
The YPG and its local allies retain an optimal position to threaten ISIS control over ar-Raqqa City and its surrounding countryside in the aftermath of the battle for Tel Abyad. Rebel fighters in the Euphrates Volcano Operations Room have identified ar-Raqqa City as their next objective and the YPG defense chief for Kobani canton confirmed that “Tel Abyad is only the end of a phase…we will pursue what remains of ISIS, no matter where.” ISIS appears to view a joint YPG-rebel advance on ar-Raqqa as a viable threat and reportedly directed residents of the city to stockpile food supplies in preparation for a potential siege. Any such offensive would require an attack by YPG and Euphrates Volcano fighters against the ISIS-held town of Ayn Issa and its associated Brigade 93 base, located south of Tel Abyad along the highway to ar-Raqqa City. However, the extent to which the YPG remains willing to advance outside of the Kurdish-majority regions of its envisioned Rojava remains unclear and Syrian Kurds may alternatively prioritize efforts against remaining direct threats to their own borders, such as the enduring ISIS presence in Sarrin southwest of Kobani or the regime remnants in Hasakah Province. Nevertheless, the ascendance of the YPG and the position it maintains between Syrian rebels and the regime will continue to form a key factor in dictating the options available to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition in Syria.