Iraqi Kurdish men carry fire torches, as they celebrate Nowruz Day, a festival marking the first day of spring and the new year, in the town of Akra near Duhok, in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq March 20, 2019. REUTERS / Ahmed Jadallah

Nowruz, the new year for Persians, Kurds and many others, marks the arrival of spring, a time of joyous renewal. For Iraqi Kurds, the occasion is bittersweet, because it was springtime 35 years ago, at the tail end of the Iran-Iraq war, when the Iraqi army swept through the Kurdish countryside, razing villages and massacring the inhabitants. Some 100,000 men, women and children were systematically murdered at sites in Iraq’s southern desert during what Saddam Hussein’s regime called the Anfal counter-insurgency operation. Today, twenty years after the U.S. invasion, the Kurds are free of such repression, and rural communities are slowly coming back to life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Smoke rises from an oil depot hit by a Turkish airstrike near Qamishli, Syria, on Wednesday. (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP)

Turkey’s fixation on alleged Kurdish terrorism reached a dangerous flash point this week, as Turkish warplanes bombed targets in northern Syria that are perilously close to U.S. forces there guarding against a resurgence of the Islamic State.

The danger of this latest spasm of Turkish reprisal attacks was described to me on Wednesday by Gen. Mazloum Kobane Abdi, commander of the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF. He said that after three days of Turkish bombing, the SDF could lose its ability to maintain security at prisons and a refugee camp for ISIS fighters and their families.…  Seguir leyendo »

Attack helicopters patrol over the area on the Iraqi border of Derecik district of Turkey's Hakkari on February 14, 2022. Ozkan Bilgin / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP

Early February brought a fresh demonstration of the new air-war tactics that Turkey is increasingly using in its fight with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – its enemy in some four decades of conflict. Turkey, like the U.S. and European Union (EU), designates the PKK a terrorist group. On 2 February, some 60 Turkish fighter jets carried out a coordinated attack on training camps, shelters and ammunition storage facilities used by the PKK and its affiliates in northern Iraq and Syria. Since mid-2019, Turkey has increasingly relied on airpower, including drones, to hit PKK bases in the rugged mountains of northern Iraq, allowing it to kill higher-level PKK cadres.…  Seguir leyendo »

Distribución fuerzas en Siria

La guerra de Siria se inicia en 2011, en medio de las denominadas primaveras árabes, y al igual que sucede con el caso libio, parece no tener fin el conflicto militar y contar con un mayor número de intereses en juego. Al complicado tablero se ha incorporado Turquía, que siempre había tenido una actividad indirecta, y que parece ser que sus líderes no han querido desaprovechar la ocasión para lograr establecer su liderazgo, en este caso, en el área del norte de Siria o en su caso aprovechar la ocasión para generar una especie de “glacis de seguridad”.

Turquía iniciaba una ofensiva contra las milicias kurdas en el norte de Siria, denominada “Operación Manantial de Paz”, oficialmente Ankara considera “terroristas” a las Unidades de Protección Popular (kurdos sirios) por sus posibles vínculos con el proscrito Partido de los Trabajadores de Kurdistán, la guerrilla kurda activa en Turquía, y por tanto la versión oficial es que suponía un alto riesgo de inestabilidad a través de una frontera que se convertía en un coladero para los movimientos y acciones terroristas kurdas en suelo turco.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dilbar Ali Ravu, 10, is kissed by his aunt, Dalal Ravu, as Yazidi children are reunited with their families in Iraq after five years of captivity with the Islamic State group, March 2, 2019. AP Photo/Philip Issa, File

It’s been five years since the Islamic State killed 3,100 Yazidi people in Iraq – mostly men and the elderly – forced 6,800 women and children into sexual slavery, marriage or religious conversion and sent hundreds of thousands fleeing.

The Islamic State saw the Yazidis as infidels with no right to exist under the extremist group’s rule. The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking Mideast minority whose monotheistic religion differs from Islam, Judaism and Christianity. They have a distinct historical lineage and no systematic requirement of fasting or prayer for the faithful. The Yazidis have lived in northern Iraq since at least the 12th century.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why did Turkey intervene in Syria? Most commentators are explaining this decision by referring to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, and Turkey’s goal of removing the Kurdish militias — that control areas in northern Syria — from its border. Observers also are focusing on President Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish allies.

What has been lost in the focus on U.S. foreign policy are the 3.6 million Syrian refugees that reside in Turkey — the highest number of refugees hosted by any country in the world. The growing public dissatisfaction in Turkey with the presence of Syrian refugees is key to understanding the decision to launch the operation in Syria — an operation that aims at establishing a safe zone where the refugees can be resettled.…  Seguir leyendo »

Female Kurdish soldiers at a funeral, 13 October 2019. Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

In August 2014 Marie Claire published an unusual photo shoot. The women in the stylised images were not in fancy haute couture, but instead wore khaki jumpsuits and held machine guns. These were the female fighters of the YPG – the main Kurdish group of the Syrian Democratic Forces – in Rojava, a de facto autonomous region in northern Syria.

These women were praised for their bravery in fighting against the most unfathomable evil of our times, Isis. The world championed them as an antidote to the death cult originating from the Middle East, which spread its ideas to Europe and the US.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dear Kurdish soldiers,

You don't know me, but I have known of you for most of my adult life. When my military husband and I quickly married, knowing he was deploying to the Middle East to be part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I feared what he and his Special Operations unit would face when they arrived.
How bad would the fighting be? How long would they be gone? Would he survive?

Months later, he returned and recounted to me what he could about his experience. I asked how he had made it through. He replied, "We had help. We had the Kurds."…  Seguir leyendo »

Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images. Mourners attending the funerals of Syrian Democratic Forces fighters killed in battles against Turkish forces, Qamishli, Syria, October 14, 2019

Qamishli, Syria—When my mom called to ask me where I was, I lied to her. Sometimes I do not want to worry her, as I’m often reporting on stories from places that aren’t safe. When she said, “Get ready to move,” I realized something was wrong. Qamishli was under attack. “Can’t you hear the shelling?” she screamed. She lives in Rimelan, a city an hour away, but she was here to visit my brother. The Turks were targeting my neighborhood, she said.

That was Wednesday afternoon, October 9, the first day of Turkey’s attack on Rojava, Western Kurdistan, as we call it in Kurdish.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’invasion par la Turquie du nord de la Syrie, peuplé par les Kurdes qui nous ont aidés à vaincre l’organisation Etat islamique (EI), justifierait qu’on l’expulse de l’OTAN non seulement par des considérations morales, mais aussi par une froide analyse de notre sécurité.

Les termes du cessez-le-feu provisoire, arrangé le 17 octobre entre la Turquie et les Etats-Unis, entérinent les buts militaires d’Erdogan : chasser les Kurdes de chez eux et annexer la moitié de Rojava. Ce que les Etats-Unis proposent maintenant aux Kurdes après les avoir abandonnés, c’est tout simplement de déguerpir, c’est-à-dire de laisser le terrain à l’occupant. Les Turcs le disent clairement : « Nous avons eu ce que nous voulions. …  Seguir leyendo »

Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA. Kurds protest at the United Nations building in Beirut, Lebanon, on 11 October 2019 against Turkey’s attacks on Syria.

Future historians might remember Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, launched last week, as the second time that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan provided Islamic State with a lifeline, intentionally or not. The first was when Turkey opened its borders to foreign jihadists entering Syria, which ultimately enabled Isis to build a caliphate the size of Britain in 2014.

Both the time and manner of the intervention risk unravelling the situation in Syria beyond the buffer zone that Turkey intends to establish in the north-east. It will take the pressure off extremist forces and disturb a delicate equilibrium and the relative quiet that have existed in the country for about two years.…  Seguir leyendo »

A mourner cries during the funeral of ten-month-old Mohammed Omar Saar, killed during incoming shelling from Syria Thursday, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

It’s easy, especially thousands of miles away, to jump onto the bandwagon of Turkey-blamers following its recent military incursion into Syria. However, Ankara has legitimate reasons for its actions. Its own national security as well as creating a sustainable solution for the Syrian refugee problem are at stake.

Turkey is not the only actor to be blamed for the mess in Syria. Major mistakes by Washington and Brussels have significantly contributed to the problem. However, Turkey, having a long border with Syria, suffers more from the instability in Syria and must act in order to secure its territory.

The United States made major mistakes in Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey-backed Syrian fighters cross into Syria as part of an offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas on Friday. (Nazeer Al-Khatib/Afp Via Getty Images)

As airstrikes and artillery rain down on civilians in northeastern Syria, it’s clear that Turkey’s claims that its recent military offensive is about taking the lead in the global fight against the Islamic State are nothing but dangerous propaganda.

For years, Turkey’s government allowed Islamic State fighters to cross its territory into Syria. But, before Monday, there were no Islamic State fighter elements along Turkey’s border with Syria because Kurds, Arabs and Christians expelled them with help from the U.S. military. Today, these U.S. allies are running for their lives.

Under the guise of fighting terrorism and “securing” the border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s real plan is to remove Kurds from that border and radically re-engineer local demographics.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le 7 septembre 2015, en pleine crise des réfugiés en Europe, l’éditorial d’Ibrahim Karagül, rédacteur en chef du journal pro-Erdogan Yeni Safak, portait le titre suivant : « Ouvrez les portes, que les millions se déversent sur l’Europe ». Aux yeux de l’éditorialiste, repris à plusieurs reprises par Erdogan lui-même, la première guerre mondiale, qui aurait eu pour seul objectif d’anéantir l’Empire ottoman, continuait, avec ses batailles décisives encore à venir. Et ces batailles allaient être lancées par la Turquie, enfin prête à prendre sa revanche sur l’Occident, cet ennemi « ontologique » ayant perdu depuis sa « virilité ».…  Seguir leyendo »

Les dictatures et les autocraties en déclin précipitent souvent leur chute par des aventures militaires hasardeuses. En prenant le risque de s’enliser en Syrie, le président turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pourrait avoir fait le pas de trop et accélérer la fin de son règne autocratique. Largement condamné par la communauté internationale, combien de temps peut-il espérer continuer cette offensive quand bien même son pays, de par sa position géostratégique, continue d’être pour les Occidentaux un allié essentiel ?

L’armée turque occupe déjà la zone d’Al-Bab depuis août 2016 et celle d’Afrin depuis janvier 2018. Cette troisième opération, baptisée « Source de paix », a été rendue possible par l’annonce inattendue de Donald Trump, le 6 octobre, du retrait immédiat des militaires américains de leurs postes d’observation près des villes syriennes de Tel Abyad et Ras Al-Aïn, le long de la frontière.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an erratic attempt to justify his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria and open the way for a Turkish military incursion, President Trump said recently that Turkey and the Kurds are “a natural enemy” and that “one historian said they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years.”

Both assertions are dangerously wrong.

As Turkish tanks roll into Syria to take territory from U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters, I worry about the long-term effect of Trump’s reductionist understanding of our region of the world. I worry about rising nationalism in Turkey. I worry about the further tightening of free speech under our beleaguered democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Not that long ago, the people of northeastern Syria were greeting U.S. troops as our saviors, as the torchbearers of freedom. Children gathered around the American visitors and expressed joy at the hope they were bringing for the future of our lands. Now those same Syrian children may face death amid the chaos of a new conflict.

This week, as we now know, President Trump spoke with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has long made his plans for northeastern Syria clear. He wants to occupy a 19-mile-wide belt of territory along the border and to radically transform its demographics, replacing the Kurdish population there with 3 million Syrian Arab refugees from cities across Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rien n’y a fait. Ni l’indignation de l’opinion mondiale. Ni l’incompréhension des militaires, des diplomates, des représentants démocrates et républicains américains. Ni, en France, le président Macron qui a reçu, à l’Elysée, mardi soir, quelques heures avant l’attaque, une délégation venue du Kurdistan syrien à qui il a redit la solidarité de la France. L’impensable est arrivé.

Le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a lancé, ce mercredi 9 octobre, en fin d’après-midi, son offensive contre le Kurdistan syrien. Cet homme fut, pendant les années de la guerre contre Daech [l’organisation Etat islamique], le passeur en chef des milliers de djihadistes ralliant le « califat » via la Turquie.…  Seguir leyendo »

During a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, President Trump agreed to transfer the leadership of the counter-Islamic State campaign to Turkey. The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly.

George Washington famously said that America must “steer clear of permanent alliances”. American officials have been saying for years that their partnership with the terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s Syrian affiliate, People’s Protection Units (or YPG), in the fight against the Islamic State was “tactical”. Trump’s latest decision reflects that view.

Like the United States, Turkey does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 31, I was reelected as the mayor of Mardin, Turkey. For me, as for so many of my colleagues in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), this was no ordinary vote — we were running to retake positions from which we had been arbitrarily expelled.

I was first elected as mayor in Mardin in 2014. Yet just two years into my five-year term, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked down on Kurdish politics and civil society, removing nearly 100 HDP mayors from our posts and replacing them with state appointees.

While I and dozens of my colleagues were jailed on terrorism charges — but in reality for the offense of having won a democratic vote — our unelected replacements worked to suffocate the will of the people.…  Seguir leyendo »