The year 2023 is a year that passed with enormous wars. We can see that there are many wars that are still ongoing. Especially the war between Russia and Ukraine, China and Taiwan, and last but not least between Israel and Palestine. These wars are victimizing people with the methods of genocide, mass murder, racism or religious fundamentalism. If we look at the whole world, we understand that they are actually about the protection of rulership, power and profits. These wars serve to reinforce pervasive supremacy. The wars in Ukraine, China and Taiwan clearly show this reality because all the forces involved present their own hegemony as essential. On this basis, a policy of annihilation and mass murder is being pursued, which stands in opposition to the policy of the democratic nation, the peaceful coexistence of peoples, religions, etc., and democracy itself. The forces working in the service of the state systems attack poor people in these wars, and the victims are the common people. This policy of annihilation that is being waged in the world today has been called the Third World War. This war is being waged on all levels against the people. Oppressive forces attempt to bring the world under their control and call it their own. If we look at things from this perspective, we can see that in the Middle East too, there are attempts of nationalism, genocide, and fundamentalism in the name of soft and hard Islam. We can then see that this war is organized at the highest level and waged against the people. A clear example of this is the war between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian people have been confined to a tiny area and are being attacked inside this small area, while the whole world has risen up against these attacks. Hamas did its action, and nobody should support such an action because it is wrong. But it has inspired a certain reaction around the world. Israel is now utilizing this reaction against the Palestinian people themselves, practicing all kinds of massacres, violent expulsion and destruction, and killing of people and children in the service of a policy of genocide and annihilation, far removed from any ethical considerations. Linked to this, if we look at Kurdistan and also North and East Syria, it is clear that the influence of policies of massacre and displacement against the region has continued unabated. This year in North and East Syria was full of attacks on the region. Especially the Turkish occupying state, which commits genocides and does not accept other national identities, takes a policy of annihilation that is present all over the world, to extremes, especially attacking civilians in North and East Syria. At this moment, these attacks are continuing. Afrin, Serekaniye and Gire Spi were occupied by Turkey, where the Turkish state is now organizing itself and destroying the language and culture of the Kurds.
In 2023, the struggle of women who rose up against nation states was decisive. Women who demanded an alternative to nation states, who took on a pioneering role for freedom, self-determination and independence. The initial pioneering role was played by Jina Emini, who raised her head in Rojhilat, in East Kurdistan (Iran) against the policy of occupation, of oppression that locks women in their homes, and against the mentality that imposes headscarves by force. In this sense, Jina Emini has chosen the path of uprisings and this has also shaped 2023. This year, women around the world and especially in the Middle East. Kurdistan and North and East Syria (Rojava), have taken up a vanguard role of those striving for freedom, a freedom that truly serves all women, a fight against the mentality of masculinity that has stood in opposition to society for thousands of years. Against this, a great struggle was waged under the pioneering role of women.
At the beginning of the year, there has been an attempt to attack internal security forces placed in Raqqa, which was not an isolated case. Perhaps the opinion of the world since 2019 has been that ISIS has been defeated. But we see that ISIS still exists. Especially in cities like Raqqa where ISIS was defeated up to Deir ez-Zor, there are hidden cells, and a lot of operations have been carried out against them. Many hidden cells have been arrested, and ISIS weapons arsenals have been seized. At the same time, their plans to put North and East Syria in great danger have been exposed. So the operation that was conducted in Raqqa was actually the point from which it became clear that ISIS is still dangerous. If we look at North and East Syria as a whole today, there have been attempts by ISIS to organize itself in many places. The silence of the international community as well as the coalition forces that are present here in the region and do not take a stand, allow ISIS to continue to grow strong and spread everywhere.
We cannot evaluate the YPJ only as a force that defeated ISIS because it is more than that—a force that organizes itself against any form of attack against humanity. This year, the YPJ has made great progress in terms of organization, from self-education to self-defence. It also became stronger in the field of defence. Not only against IS, the YPJ can stand up to all forces attacking the region. Most recently, the attacks in Deir ez-Zor, in which states such as Syria and Turkey intervened to organize an alleged conflict between Arabs and Kurds. However, it is quite clear that there is no such problem or conflict because we have always developed strategic relations and friendships between the peoples of the region, such as Arabs and Kurds. The YPJ has played a pioneering role in the security operation in Deir ez-Zor to avenge the women who were murdered in Deir ez-Zor by figures such as Abu Khawla. To prevent another force like ISIS from organizing in Deir ez-Zor and everywhere else, the YPJ acted in a pioneering role in defence of all women and peoples. To this day, the YPJ continues to play a role in these operations. It defends its land and stands up for it.
From Turkey’s occupation offensive against Afrin until today, Turkey’s role in the attacks against the region has always been a one of genocide, as well as its role in general in World War III to commit genocide against the Kurds. Kurds who stand up for their self-defence and defend their land should be destroyed according to the plans of the hegemonic state forces, so that no one stands up for their rights and their land. Just as Afrin was occupied in 2018, so were Serekaniye and Gire Spi one year later. These are not short-term plans but are based on trades and treaties such as Lausanne, which have been agreed upon and followed for over a hundred years. Just as attacks started again from October 4 onwards. Turkey justified the attack under the pretext that people like Erdal and Rojhat, who took the action in Ankara, were coming from Rojava. Turkey is waging war against all parts of Kurdistan, but the people also have a right to self-defence. Everyone has the right to legitimate self-defence. The attacks on North and East Syria are targeting civilian infrastructure and trying to frighten and displace the population. They are trying to make people turn their backs on their homeland. So this is actually one of the most influential methods of special warfare at the moment. But if the people today defend their homeland with a clear stance, they will be victorious. If the population organizes itself under the perspective of the Revolutionary People’s War, it can defend itself. In this women played a pioneering role in 2023. Society and women are organizing very strongly. The attacks of the Turkish state against the infrastructure are attacks on the dignity of the people living on this earth. They want to prevent different groups and languages from living together and from forming brotherhood and unity. The system of autonomous self-government, which is truly an example for humanity, is under direct attack. These attacks are the essential pillars of special warfare.
In 2023, people from many countries met and welcomed the YPJ, especially those interested in topics such as our fight against ISIS and our experience of self-organization. In 2023, the YPJ organized itself in all areas. Places such as Catalonia, France and Switzerland were visited. In the meetings that were held, there was a great interest in the army formation of women, the YPJ and its ten years of organizational experience. In how the YPJ can continue to organize itself and what experiences it can share. Our commanders who met with these countries did not meet them for the first time in 2023, there was a great interest worldwide and in the Middle East, especially in terms of seeing the organization of the YPJ as an experience to learn from.
Apart from the war and attacks that happened in that year, we realized that there was a need to strengthen ideological and military education. In 2023, there were attacks from all sides, and we saw that there was a need for professionalism in war. Tactically, there was a need to train our forces even more in autonomous women’s and mixed academies, and there was truly a full program of education. In this sense, the experience of the last few years in the fields of self-defence, politics and diplomacy gave us a year of important experience in the field of education. In order to respond to all attacks and upcoming attacks, we must prepare ourselves in the tactics of the Revolutionary People’s War. Therefore, our forces see professional education and share experiences.
In 2023, as we said, there was an uprising in East Kurdistan under the pioneering role of Jina Emini and the whole world woke up to the call of the situation and all women suffering from the oppression of the mentality of masculinity. Under the oppression of laws and male domination, we have seen the slogan “women life freedom” spreading all over the world as a safe haven for women. This slogan originates from the thinking and paradigm of Abdullah Öcalan. The Third World War is being waged all over the world and there is a chaos for which everyone is looking for solutions. There is a great struggle for solutions and self-liberation. Abdullah Öcalan has been living under total isolation for years, but his thinking has reached from Eastern Kurdistan, women worldwide, to the mountains of Kurdistan, where the guerrilla forces are putting up a courageous resistance. Women have formed a force with a common mindset and the paradigm of Abdullah Öcalan, just like in Rojava. In this sense, it can be recognized once again that Abdullah Öcalan’s thinking is a great force that strengthens women and is a great solution force that can be discussed everywhere and in which all women can see a force for solution. One target of the attacks is the paradigm of Abdullah Öcalan. The hegemonic state systems see Abdullah Öcalan’s thinking as the greatest danger for Kurdistan and the Middle East as well as the world, because it is a solution. Therefore, they intensify the wars and attacks.
2023 and all previous years were very important. We have seen, especially in the last few months, that in response to the war between Israel and Hamas, when Hamas attacked Israel, everyone was calling for Israel to defend itself. Not just for a year, but for decades, people from as young as 7 years old up to grandfathers, have been massacres by the Turkish state in North and East Syria and Kurdistan. But not a single sound has come from the public or international forces. Everyone closed their eyes and ears, pretending not to know anything. This silence serves the Turkish state. Therefore, we call on all mothers and fathers of martyrs to raise their voices and write to international human rights organizations and states, especially the European Union, to condemn the Turkish state. Especially Erdogan and Hakan Fidan, who openly announced that they would destroy all the infrastructure of the country, should be brought to justice. Turkey as represented in the persons Erdogan and Hakan Fidan should be sued. 2023 was a year of many attacks. But our will and the achievements of the revolution allow us to still stand on our feet. 2023 is a year of struggle against the occupation of the Turkish state and all the forces that want to attack the region. Even if no stone is left standing on top of each other, we have seen that the people can defend their land. Because if the land is abandoned and occupied, there will be no return to freedom nor peace. Everyone, especially young women, should organize themselves and join the YPJ to defend their homeland. 2023 was successful despite all the attacks, and from now on we will take a clear stance of defence and not allow our homeland to be occupied. On this basis, I wish everyone a happy new year.
of YPJ General Command