August 31st outside the GPO in Dublin and over 100 people gather to protest at the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. The invasion seems to be intended to stop the two sections of Rojava linking up - a linkup would cut off ISIS from the Turkish border.
The demonstration was called by Rojava Calling and Saoirse Jin groups. Saoirse is the Irish word for Freedom and Jin the Kurdish word for women. There were speakers from the Kurdish community, political organisations including the WSM and Sinn Fein and a trade union speaker. You can hear most of these speeches in the video.
The protest happened at rush hour in the city centre so thousands of people passed by. The text below is from a leaflet that was distributed to the people passing.
--- Stop Turkeys war on Kurds ---
Today we are here to protest against the Turkish invasion of Syria, the attack on the YPG and
YPJ* forces by the Turkish army and its affiliated Jihadi partners, and to protest against the hypocritical treatment of the Kurds by her western allies.
After taking Jarablus, Syria, in agreement with the Islamic State without firing a single bullet, the Turkish army has engaged in airstrikes and shelling of civilian areas, killing at least 45 in two villages south of Jarablus. Dozens of local fighters from the Jarablus Military Council, affiliated with the SDF, have been taken prisoner and tortured in front of cameras; most of them Arabs.
With its latest military foray Turkey, which has tried to camouflage its regional war on Kurds by using the Islamic State as a pretext, is trying to prevent the conjoining of Rojava’s three cantons. Furthermore this is also an attempt to strengthen Sunni/Muslim Brotherhood forces, which are ideologically aligned with the Turkish AKP government. Through these proxies Erdogan hopes to revive his neo-Ottoman aspirations to have a say in Syria’s future and a longer-term influence in the Middle East and North Africa.
What is at stake though, as much as Kurds’ gains, is the possibility of a progressive, secular and democratic political line and system in the region. This is what Rojava represents and this is why the Syrian regime, Iran, Russia and the USA have agreed to Turkey’s invasion.
Rojava’s existence in this regard is a threat to the status quo and interests of all the nation-states and governments in the Middle East and by extension those pillaging the region. As an alternative model of governance Rojava has proven that people from different ethnicities and religious groups can organise at the local level, live, produce and struggle together without a centralised state, even during times of sectarian war. The unity between Kurdish, Arab and Turkmens against Turkey’s invasion is proof of this.
The Rojava region is the South-Western part of divided Kurdistan. It falls within the borders of Syria. Rojava means ‘west’ in Kurdish. Syrian Kurds have been heavily oppressed by various Syrian regimes. The current Assad dynasty has denied Kurds basic human rights. Many Kurds were not recognized as citizens and were not issued passports.
When the Arab Spring landed in Syria, the country collapsed in a bloody civil war in the course of few years. In order to fight insurgency elsewhere, Syrian forces vacated key Kurdish towns in the North of the country. Kurds quickly filled in the power vacuum and organized themselves in excellent fighter units and set up local self-governing bodies. The Rojava Revolution had begun!
Various Islamic Jihadi groups financed by Gulf States and Turkey were commandeered by the masters to attack and destroy the territorial, political and military gains of the Kurds. The Turkish government has been the sworn enemy of the Rojava revolution from the very beginning. Turkey initially supported the AL-Qaida linked Al-Nusra front.
YPG and YPJ fought the Jihadis in a bloody battle, defeating and driving them from many towns and villages. A splinter group was formed from the AL-Qaida, who came to be known as ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State. This barbaric, ruthless Jihadi group, was able with foreign financial and military support to take towns, villages and military centres in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS/DAESH attacked the Kurdish town of Kobani in the autumn of 2014, prompting US and other Western allies to support the YPG militarily for the first time to great dismay of Erdogan and the Turkish ruling party. YPG forces were able to defeat and drive ISIS from most of Northern Syria.
Rojava leaders set up three cantons in Norther Syria and soon after united them, declaring a Federal Kurdistan inside Syria. Erdogan was alarmed by this and feared a backlash in Northern or Turkish Kurdistan. He set up a ‘red line’ with Euphrates as the border. Kurdish YPG forces were not to cross west of the Euphrates river. When the YPG did cross the Euphrates and took the key Syrian town of Manbij from ISIS, Erdogan decided it was time to go into action and ordered the Turkish army to cross into Syria, taking the border town of Jarablus.
The Turkish government has never been troubled by the presence of IS at his borders and never took military action to drive them from her borders. Only when YPG was able to drive ISIS and other Jihadi groups from her borders, did Turkey decide to act militarily against the YPG. Erdogan’s problem is not the ISIS or other Jihadis but the Kurdish YPG. The so-called Western Allies of the Rojava Kurds, US, France, Britain, Germany, all turned their back to Turkey’s incursion into Rojava in exchange for political compromises by the Erdogan dictatorship.
*People’s Protection Units/Women’s Protection Units