This interview from August 2022 documents the testimony of YPJ fighter and mother Dicle Tirbespiye who survived a Turkish drone strike on the 30th of May 2022. Her car was targeted by a Turkish drone resulting in the death of YPJ fighter Mizgîn Botan and civilian Kesra Melek. Three others, among them Dicle Tirbespiye, were wounded in this attack. In this interview she talks about why she joined YPJ, how she participated in the fight against ISIS and why the Turkish state is now targeting women. In the drone attack Dicle Tirbespiye lost both of her legs. She is calling on the international community to act against the war crimes of the Turkish state and to persecute them in an international trial.
Watch the interview on our YouTube channel:
What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from? Can you tell us more about your family about your background?
My name is Dicle and I am from Tirbespiye. I am 37 years old and I grew up in a patriotic family. I am a mother and I have one son. Since the beginning of the Rojava revolution there have been constant attacks on the region. That’s why, as a woman, I felt it was my duty to join the defense forces. My family is also connected to the revolution, so they did not put any obstacles in my way. So, I joined YPJ.
How did you come to know the revolution? How did you join?
From the beginning of the revolution there were many uprisings. There were many demonstrations in which we were participating. So we were already aware that, the enemy was preparing to attack Rojava. In our history, we have seen women in leading positions in wars. So, as a woman, I also wanted to take part in the defense of my country. I have to say, it had great influence on my personality, on my personal development. I felt a real need to defend my country and my people. I wanted to fight for the freedom of all women, because we had lived in a country, where there were no rights for women. Women couldn’t express themselves in our country. So that’s why I also wanted to participate in military activity as a woman. I wanted, with all my strength and power, to take part in military operations.
Can you share with us which military operations you have participated in?
I took part in all military operations in the Cezire region. I took part in both the Til Hamis operation and the Til Barak operation. Also the Hamidiya, the Cezaa and the Hasake operations. Outside of the Cezire region, I also took part in the Minbij and Kobane operations. I also participated in the Til Abiyad, Siluk and Shengal operations. In all these operations, I saw the enemy act with a lot of brutality. They came to assassinate our people. They wanted to put the women within four walls again. But as women, we resisted and fought for our goals and the enemy start to fear us. Because they saw that, in any operation in which women took part, we never took one step back.
Can you tell about the role of YPJ in North and East Syria?
In the Middle East, women are usually not allowed to participate in military structures. So the YPJ has established a completely new model in the Middle East, allowing women to defend themselves and to organize on the basis of friendship and unity.
Can you tell us more about life in the YPJ?
When I joined the YPJ, I was already married, but after I joined I realized that, as women, we don’t know our own history, and those who don’t know their own history are, in fact, lost. After I got to know our history, my goal became clear, my resolve strengthened and I became stronger. In the YPJ, our friendships were strengthened. I also received different educations, political as well as military. About the role of the YPJ in the Rojava Revolution, the YPG forces have the duty to protect our people, but the YPJ role is double. It is a People’s Protection Unit as well as a Women’s Protection Unit. As the YPJ we have the duty with all our strength to protect our people, as well as to struggle for women’s freedom and liberation.
Can you tell us how and when you were wounded?
On the 30th of May we had work in Qamishli. We went with a car, me and four other comrades and we were targeted on our way. There was a civilian woman named Kesra, and another comrade named Mizgîn. Both of them were killed. Then me, comrade Dîlan and another young civilian were all wounded.
Why, do you think, you were targeted?
I was working in the Military Council Şehid Rubar in Qamishli. The Turkish state knows where the women are working and organizing, they know that where the women are, there will be struggle for life and freedom. There will be equality, there will be justice. The Turkish state wants, by the annihilation of women, to destroy the Rojava revolution.
What is happening in the region? What is the Turkish state doing in North and East Syria?
In Rojava, almost every day, there are attacks from the Turkish state. They want to commit genocide on our people. Every day children are being killed! They have done nothing wrong. They are using special and psychological warfare on us. But we, as the Women’s Protection Units, will protect our people till the end.
Do you want to add something, send some message or say anything more?
I want to call on all the people of the world! In the same way as the people who stood behind us when we fought against ISIS, we want them to stand behind us now also, as we are being attacked by the Turkish state. The Turkish state is assassinating our people and committing many war crimes. Because of this, we call for an international human rights trial.