Firat News: Muslim: Victory is close in Kobanê
PYD Co-President Salih Muslim has said in an interview to ANF that Turkey’s chicanery is continuing over Kobanê and that YPG forces have inflicted heavy losses on ISIS gangs. Muslim stressed the importance of the Dohuk Accord, adding: “In Kobanê victory and freedom is close”.
Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-President Salih Muslim said the fact the ISIS gangs had used Turkish territory to facilitate reinforcements and military aid had played a role in clashes continuing for so long in Kobanê, adding that Turkey’s chicanery was continuing. He said Turkey wanted to establish a buffer zone on the Rojava-North Kurdistan border, but that this would not happen.
“We held serious talks in South Kurdistan, and took significant steps towards Kurdish unity with the ‘Dohuk Accord”, said Muslim, adding that military aid had been provided to Rojava by South Kurdistan and a decision been taken for peshmerga to go to Kobanê. Müslim continued: “a decision has been taken but no peshmerga force has yet gone. Talks are continuing between the YPG and peshmerga command.” Muslim added that if the international interest in Kobanê was translated into practice it would be meaningful.
What is the latest situation in Kobanê?
“Every day there are more people joining the ISIS gangs through Tel Abyad and Turkey. They also receive military equipment. This is why the attacks are continuing. There are fierce clashes going on now on the eastern and southern fronts in Kobenê. Yesterday in Tel Shair the YPG inflicted heavy blows. This village is 4 or 5 km from Kobanê town. Aerial bombardment is also continuing.
How does the situation compare with previous days?
Intensive clashes are continuing and the YPG has seized the initiative. Sometimes they withdraw, sometimes they attack, it’s difficult to say anything definite.
Last night it was claimed that the Free Syrian Army was going to fight ISIS in Kobanê. Have you heard this?
This is not true, no such statement has been made. Some groups from the FSA are already fighting with us. This news is designed to confuse minds and has no basis in fact.
Who would do this?
The Turkish state. They want to create confusion.
Until recently international public opinion was silent, but now there is intense interest in Kobanê. There is great support. How did this happen?
The resistance in Kobanê has awoken this interest. We are fighting against savage enemies of humanity. People identify with this, which is encouraging, but it is insufficient. We want this to be translated into practice, as we have not yet received any aid by land. Turkey is persisting with its policy of assisting the gangs. Only yesterday 70 people crossed the border at Akçakele to join ISIS and take part in the battle for Kobanê. The international powers should put pressure on Turkey and condemn it.
Turkish officials are now issuing statements that indicate a change in their attitudes. Have you noticed this?
Not yet. The whole world is on one side and Turkey is on the other. Pressure needs to be put on Turkey so that it declares it is opposed to the ISIS gangs, something it has not yet done.
There is news from South Kurdistan that the peshmerga have set out for Kobanê. Have they arrived there?
A decision has been taken to send peshmerga, but talks are continuing between the YPG and the peshmerga command on the numbers and weapons that will go.
You are talking to the government of South Kurdistan. What are your demands?
We have the fighters, what we need is heavy weaponry such as tanks, and the expert personnel to use them. Talks are continuing along these lines.
Will Turkey open a corridor?
Turkey pledged to open a corridor at the request of South Kurdistan and the US. They are bargaining over this at the moment.
What kind of bargaining?
Turkey wants to establish a 10-kilometre wide security zone. Its intentions are not good.
The YPG said it had received 26 bundles of military aid from the coalition forces. Is this enough?
The YPG has received some effective weaponry. We hope this continues, but I stress that there were no heavy weapons in this aid, which is what we want.
You have been in South Kurdistan for a few days. The day before yesterday you reached agreement with ENKS. Could you tell us what is in the accord?
We signed the accord after 8 days of talks. Agreement was reached over three articles: “Joint administration, joint military force and political union will be forged”. After two months the decision will be implemented, followed shortly by elections.
What will the “Dohuk Accord” mean for Rojava?
It will bring in unity of the Kurds and internal peace. It will also bring freedom for the Arab and Assyrian-Syriac communities. This is an important step for the Kurds, as first and foremost it will consolidate the system in Rojava.
There is a lot of debate in the media in South Kurdistan about armed aid for Rojava. What can you say about this? Some circles want to prevent this taking place. All Kurds should be aware of this. Both parties provided arms, some went to Cizire canton, some to Kobanê. We thank both the PUK and the KDP and the government for this assistance.
The Parliament in South Kurdistan recently voted to develop relations with the cantons of Rojava. Could you comment on this?
This was a significant step towards Kurdish unity. We visited the Parliamentary Speaker and the parties and thanked them.
ISIS gangs again want to carry out a massacre in Sinjar. The area is under siege and there is silence…
ISIS wants to finish what it started on 3 August. In fact, they want to massacre all Kurds, not just those in Sinjar. According to them, the Kurds are Christian or without religion, so they see them as enemies. It is only the Kurds who are fighting them, as no one opposed them in Mosul or Rakka. Armies fled. The Kurds are resisting in Kobanê, in Sinjar and in South Kurdistan. ISIS wants to eradicate the Kurds and then become a problem for the entire world. We therefore call on everyone to join the struggle against ISIS.
People from many different countries are going to Kobanê to join the resistance. Suphi Nejat A??rnasl? ( Paramaz K?z?lba?) died recently. There are also people from different nations at the border vigil. There will be demonstrations all over the world for Kobanê on 1 November. What do you think about this interest?
The resistance of the people of Kobanê has created this international solidarity, which we hope will have practical implications as Kobanê needs support. The town has been destroyed, civilians are dying. The blood of people like Paramaz K?z?lba? has mixed with ours. For us this is sacred. People are coming from Europe and America to fight with us. No one should believe what the enemies of the Kurds are saying. In Kobanê victory and freedom are close.
Ninety-five refugees from the city of Kobani, Syria, who had been unlawfully detained in a sports hall in the Turkish border town of Suruç since 5 October have been released. They must be given access to medical care and an investigation must be carried out into their unlawful detention and allegations of ill-treatment.
At around 4pm on 20 October, 95 refugees from Syria were taken from the sports hall in Suruç, south-eastern Turkey, where they had been unlawfully detained since 5 October, to a tented camp in the Aligör neighborhood in Suruç. After their arrival in the camp, they were released by the Turkish authorities and are believed to have joined their respective families in Turkey. These 95 individuals were the remaining refugees from a group of almost 300 initially detained in the sports hall. Two groups of 82 and 40 refugees were coerced into returning to Syria on 14 and 16 October, respectively, and a third group of around 85 were released to a camp in Turkey.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the refugees told Amnesty International that there has been no response from the authorities to the refugees’ complaints of unlawful detention and ill-treatment, or the return of the two groups of refugees they had made. It is also unclear what medical care has been provided to the refugees following their release from detention. Some of the refugees reported to Amnesty International that they had serious medical conditions and that they had been denied access to medical examinations and medication while in detention.
During the past two weeks there have been multiple reports of refugees arriving from Kobani (also known as Ayn al-Arab) and being denied access to Turkey. There are also reports that injured people have faced excessive and life threatening delays before they were granted access to the country.
The refugees told Amnesty International that two groups that were sent back to Kobani had been coerced into signing the papers and told that they would be detained indefinitely unless they agreed to be returned to Syria. This would amount to constructive refoulement, which is prohibited under international law and Turkey’s domestic law.
The refugees also told that they were not given reasons for their detention and were repeatedly told that they would be released by the Turkish authorities. They said “If we have committed a crime, then take us before a court and let them prove it.” Many of the refugees told Amnesty International that their families did not know that they were in detention. Those whose family members were aware of their detention were not allowed to see them when they arrived at the sports hall.
Refugees told Amnesty International that they were individually interrogated on the third day of their detention, during which time they were ill-treated by gendarmerie officers who put them on the floor and stood on their limbs. Some of them told that when they were questioned as to whether they were members of the Kurdish PYD administration, they were threatened with knives put to their throats and told “We will cut off your heads and throw them into Syria”.
The refugees told Amnesty International that they were civilians, nine were journalists working for the Hawar news agency and had remained in Kobanê to transmit news of the situation there to the outside world. Many men said that they worked as drivers, showing their driver identification cards.
The Amnesty International demanded urgent action for the unlawfully detained refugees, calling on people to send appeals in Turkish or their own language to the Turkish Minister of Interior Efkan Ala, Directorate General of Migration Management Atilla Toros, and to send copies to the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights before 4 December 2014;
- Calling on the authorities to carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the refugees’ unlawful detention and allegations of ill-treatment, and of the return of two groups of refugees to Syria;
- Urging them to ensure that all of the released refugees are given access to medical examinations and receive any necessary medical treatment;
- Urging them to ensure that all refugees coming from Syria are afforded prompt access to Turkey and are not subjected to excessive delay, detention or any other punitive measure for attempting to seek asylum in Turkey.
Kurds battling Islamic State militants for control of Kobani fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon, according to officials and one of the few doctors still working in the besieged Syrian town.
Patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties turned up at a clinic after a blast was heard on Tuesday evening, Dr Walat Omar said. He described the symptoms as abnormal and said he could not identify their cause, but suspected a chemical weapon.
“After a loud explosion [on Tuesday night], we received some patients with abnormal symptoms. They reported a bad smell which produced some kind of allergic reaction,” Omar said in a telephone interview that was periodically disrupted by heavy explosions.
“Some had red patches and blisters on their skins, others had difficulties breathing and others were vomiting, with painful throats, and others with burning eyes and noses. There was one patient, all his body was covered in red patches and blisters.”
Islamic State (Isis) is thought to have obtained stocks of ageing but still potent chemical weapons when it seized Iraqi army bases where they were stored, the New York Times reported earlier this month.
In June, the group took control of a sprawling complex that had been the heart of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons programme, Al-Muthanna State Establishment. There may also have been chemical weapons buried or abandoned elsewhere, that were not destroyed by US forces or the Iraqi military.
Stocks manufactured before 1991 are dirty, corroded and not always easy to identify or use, but can still cause serious injury.
Iraqi officials said 11 police officers were poisoned by chlorine gas last month, when Isis fighters used it to attack the Iraqi town of Duluiya. All the officers survived.
That attack was hundreds of miles from Kobani, near the Syrian border, where Omar said he feared eight civilians had been injured by some kind of chemical attack.
Intense fighting has made it impossible to get doctors the equipment they need to do definitive tests for the use of chemical weapons, but Omar said they displayed symptoms distinct from anything else he had treated in weeks of heavy battles.
He said he had ruled out chlorine gas or biological weapons, based on his medical training, but thought the injuries were caused by a chemical. Trained in Ukraine, he is originally from Kobani and returned there to work after seven years at medical school.
“This is the first time we have seen this kind of condition,” Omar said. “I have seen other strange conditions but nothing like this before.”
The opinions of chemical weapons experts consulted by the Guardian were divided after seening a series of pictures provided by Omar of a young man with large skin blisters and a severely swollen lip.
The pictures did not have any metadata to confirm the time and place they were taken, but had not been published on the internet before Omar provided them to a Kurdish journalist.
One expert with personal experience of treating mustard gas victims said that, although the blisters were not typical, the symptoms overall were consistent with a possible sulphur mustard poisoning. That could only be confirmed with a urine or blood test.
Other experts said that while the symptoms could be consistent with exposure to a chemical agent, they were somewhat unusual and other medical conditions, such as a severe allergic reaction, would need to be ruled out.
Senior Kurdish politicians said they feared a chemical attack, and had asked for testing kits to seek confirmation.
“Many people were injured … and showed symptoms of chemical weapons use: choking, breathing difficulties, bleeding eyes, burning skin etc,” said Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister of the Kobani administration. “Some of the doctors say that it might be phosphorus or poison gas of some kind, but the investigation is ongoing, we don’t know for sure.”
It is possible that Isis fighters could mistake some chemical munitions for ordinary weapons and use them without being aware of what they are handling. It could also be harder to evaluate the impact of attacks using partially degraded weapons, one expert said.
“Various factors might contribute to far milder symptoms than those normally associated with mustard agent exposure under combat conditions. These could include impure or degraded agent, short-term exposure, or exposure to a limited volume of agent,” said Jean-Pascal Zanders, a former analyst with the chemical and biological warfare project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The bomb believed to have caused the injuries treated by Omar exploded at about 10pm in west Kobani, near a hospital. Omar said he thought Isis may have targeted the medical centre to try to undermine morale, although it was not being used and none of the forces defending the city were in the area.
“Some fighters were further away, they complained about their eyes watering and burning, and pain in their nose,” he said, estimating that around 20 of them were affected but needed only basic first aid.
Regarding civilians who were closer to the blast, Omar said he was treating affected patients with oxygen, the steroid cortisone and other drugs until about 2.30am, as well as fielding calls from people who did not want to leave their homes.
The three most seriously injured patients, who ranged in age from 17 to over 40, stayed in the clinic overnight for observation and Omar was trying to arrange for their evacuation to Turkey for further treatment.
One Kurdish activist said Kobani may have been hit by teargas for the first time, perhaps drifting across from a Turkish border village where police had been using it for weeks to break up crowds of demonstrators. It has not been deployed in the intense battles for Kobani and so would not be recognised by residents, although demonstrations nearest to the border have almost all been in daylight hours, while Omar reported victims arriving well after nightfall.
Additional reporting by Constanze Letsch
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Aleppo Province: 9 civilians, including 3 children and a woman, died while others were seriously injured due to dropping 2 barrel bombs onto areas in the village of Tal Qrah near the city of Mare’ in the northern countryaside. The helicopters also dropped 2 other barrel bombs on areas in the east of Masaken Hanano neighborhood.
A shell launched by a rebel battalion landed near a pharmacy in the regime- held neighborhood of Tishreen causing to kill 3 people while others were injured. Other shells launched by the rebel battalions landed on areas in the New Shahabaa and near Aleppo City Hall, information reported injuring of people near the Hall. Read more
Firat News: YPG: Attacks by ISIS gangs repulsed
Attacks by ISIS gangs aiming to occupy the Kobanê town of West Kurdistan, Rojava, are continuing on the 37th day.
Releasing a statement about the ongoing attacks and clashes, YPG Press Centre reported that gangs have launched new attacks from all fronts all day and night long yesterday after bringing in reinforcements to Kobanê from surrounding areas. Gangs are also continuing to launch mortar and howitzer attacks on the town centre.
The statement said YPG/YPJ (People’s/Women’s Protection Units) repulsed all the attacks thanks to the determined resistance they are putting up against gangs.
YPG Press Centre stated that gangs launched uninterrupted attacks at the eastern front yesterday, carrying out their offensives from 6 various points in Kaniya Kurda region. The statement said YPG/YPJ forces harshly responded to the attacks and repulsed them, killing at least 26 gang members and damaging a vehicle of theirs.
Gangs were also forced to retreat from the Municipality Street area, which is also located at the same front, following violent clashes during which 7 gang members were killed, and the corpse and arms of one among them seized by YPG fighters.
ISIS gangs also launched large-scale assaults at the southern front where all their attacks were repelled, 3 members of theirs were killed and many others wounded in clashes with YPG forces. Read more
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has said in a written statement released today that the Kobanê resistance will continue until the town is entirely cleansed of fascist ISIS gangs and a free Rojava and democratic Syria is established.
KCK stressed that; “The people resisting in Kobanê against the ISIS, which is an enemy of the common values of humanity, are giving a fight for not only themselves but also all the peoples in the Middle East and all the values of democracy and freedom.” Read more
PYD Co-President Salih Muslim has evaluated the meetings that have been going on for days in the Federal Kurdistan Region regarding Rojava (West Kurdistan), saying he is optimistic as regards the outcome.
Officials from West Kurdistan have been meeting the Kurdish National Council of Syria (ENKS) in the Federal Kurdistan Region for several days. Prior to these meetings, the Parliament of the Federal Kurdistan Region took the decision to formally develop relations with the administrations of the Autonomous Cantons of West Kurdistan. Read more
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Dar’a province: a child from al-Herak town killed by regime’s bombardment on the town. a massive explosion has been heard in Busra al-Sham, no information about its nature. shells fell on Nasib in Dara countryside, no reports of losses.
WASHINGTON (AP) — US airdrops arms to Kurds in Syrian town of Kobani
Robert Burns: The U.S. military said Sunday it had airdropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani against Islamic State militants. Read more
Firat News:No ambulances left in Kobanê
It has been reported that the only two ambulances in the Kobanê Canton have been rendered unusable by arbitrary ISIS mortar attacks.
ISIS launched these attacks after having suffered heavy blows inflicted by the YPG/YPJ fighters in the last 4 days. Read more
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Friday 17/10/2014, approximately 226 people killed in Syria. The dead : 36 civilians, 20 rebels, 18 Non-Syrian Islamic fighters, 33 NDF, 37 Regular forces, 14 unknown rebels, 54 ISIS, 3 YPG, 6 non-Syrian fighters allied to regime forces. Read more
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Reliable resources reported to SOHR that YPG fighters took control over the street that extends along the western area of the Security Box in the city of Kobani, while violent clashes have erupted between IS and YPG fighters in the southwest of al Hal Market and in the west of the Security Box coincided with bombardment by IS militants on the area located between the Border Gate and the neighborhood of al Jamarek in north of Kobani. Read more
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Reliable resources reported to SOHR that YPG fighters could advance in the neighborhood of Kani Arban in the city of Kobani and take control over 2 positions after violent clashes with IS. The violent clashes between the two parties have still erupted in the west of the Security Box and near the Big Mosque, information reported an advancement for YPG fighters. The city of Kobani has witnessed intensive flying of the U.S. led coalition warplanes since this morning. Read more