In this interview YPJ commander Dilbirîn Kobane evaluates the ongoing wave of Turkish attacks on North and East Syria, the role of the US-led Coalition and the silence of the international community. She also draws attention to Turkey’s support for ISIS and the threat that emerges from this to the world. The interview that was recorded on the 27/11/22.
“My name is Dilbirîn Kobane. I am the YPJ commander of the Cizire Canton. For a long time we’ve been preparing for the phase we’re faced with right now and for the days to come. We knew that a brutal attack would be conducted against us. That’s why we focused our entire military work on war preparation.
Until today, no clear and sufficient position has been taken up against the brutality of the Turkish state – except for some politicians and academics, but that’s not enough. This on-going war is not only harmful for us; it’s harming the whole Middle East. The Middle East needs to understand this reality, when the war will break out. Furthermore, the war will enable the Islamic State to regain strength again. If we are to blame for anything, then it’s that we stood like a shield in front of the people to protect them from massacres. We felt responsible for the whole world, that’s why we fought the Islamic State. So if we are to blame, then it’s only for that. Apart from that we didn’t commit any crime.
We’ve mentioned it a dozen times, but everyone should remember: When we accomplished the “Operation Security and Humanity” in the al-Hol camp, it became obvious to the whole world: Turkish military uniforms were found in the camp. NATO-weapons have been seized from the hands of jihadist mercenaries. We discovered Turkish flags. Everyone knows ISIS women and children are living in this camp. We can claim this with certainty, as we properly documented everything. There are files and documents, and the world could see this evidence.
It’s true that we cooperated with the Coalition forces against ISIS. If we look at military law: how it’s possible that if one is cooperating against such a huge terrorist threat, that’s concerning the whole world, if one is becoming the shield – and we were playing the role of a shield and halted this threat with Coalition support – how it’s possible that nothing is being done, when we are facing these brutal attacks? They are just watching. They don’t intervene.
Erdogan is attacking the Internal Security Forces that are protecting the camp. Where are the US and Coalition forces who said that al-Hol camp is dangerous, that we need to provide more efforts to ensure safety there, because it’s dangerous for the whole world? Where are they now? Today Turkey can easily attack these forces that are responsible for maintaining safety in the camp. Those who were playing the role of the shield on behalf of the international community to inhibit the threat from expanding are being bombed by Turkey, visible for the whole public sphere. What is the goal behind this? It’s a promise for the Islamic State to be able to rebuild itself and to regain strength, to reorganize, to again become a threat for the whole world. Why does nobody recognize this threat? And, as we’ve always pointed out, it’s not just a threat for us. It’s not only endangering us. Is the world really willing to witness new massacres by the Islamic State?
We know that they (US) are a NATO-member. So we can understand that they won’t oppose any war in which NATO-weapons are being used. But how can they give the permission for a war being carried on against a force that’s been fighting ISIS for 11 years? How is this possible? It’s a huge inconsistency. Yes, there have been some statements. But this is insufficient. The statements that are being made have to be strong enough to stop the war.
If there will be war here, it will result in a huge massacre. But we gave our word to our people. And we can say that the position of the people is of great value. They don’t step back and don’t leave their land behind. They stand by their protection forces. That’s very precious.
We are not surprised by the Coalition’s silence. But we call upon them to fulfill their duty. Publicly they underline that they’re fighting ISIS to the present day and support the anti-ISIS campaign. But not a single step has been taken against these brutal attacks happening right now. Many times they said that they wouldn’t allow assaults against the oil fields. But the oil fields here have been attacked. They said they wouldn’t allow assaults against the al-Hol camp. But then the al-Hol camp has been attacked.
We as Women’s Protection Units are prepared for any circumstances. It’s been a long time that we are in preparation, because we were expecting heavy assaults against us. That’s why we are ready to react on upcoming attacks. There’s no question about that. And we don’t have any other objectives. Our objective is to protect our people and our land. We as YPJ are ready for the most difficult circumstances.”