Report by the International delegation for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Kobane

Sunday, 13th September 2015 – First day of the International delegation for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Kobane at the Turkish-Syrian border, running from today till the 16th of September.

We, as social centres, grassroots movements, feminist movements, trade unions, associations, local representatives and members of Parliament from Italy, Basque country-Castile-Catalonia, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, participate in the delegation to build up a wide and concrete network of solidarity with the Resistance of Kobane. The Kurdish city is still under Daesh’s siege and it is isolated because of the closure of the border by Turkish authorities, a violent action aiming at weakening the Resistance of YPG and YPJ fighters and the experience of the democratic confederalism.

This experience is attacked not only by Daesh (IS) but also by the Turkish government. From one side of the border, Daesh is going on with the aggression against the Rojava’s cantons; while in Turkey, Erdogan’s government has launched a new offence. There are a lot of attacks against the Kurdish resistance by the Turkish government; for instance, today the demonstration in Istanbul in solidarity with people of Cizre has been attacked by the police, while clashes in Dyarbakir are going on. Tonight we got the news that after yesterday and today’s huge demonstrations in Cizre, the curfew has been reimposed for 48 hours. The city has been re-opened only yesterday after 9 days under siege by the Turkish Army, which did not allow access to the delegation of HDP (People’s Democratic Party) deputies. According to Kurdish sources, there are 31 victims of the siege, among them a 35-days baby and a child lost a hand because of a mine.

In Dyarbakir, a 14-years old boy has been taken from the street by a car of the Turkish Army and today his tortured body has been found in the garbage. Notwithstanding the atrocities perpetrated by the Turkish authorities, Erdogan will be hosted in Milan on the 14th for the opening of the Turkish week at Expo2015, the international foire in Milan. Grassroots movements from Milan (network NO EXPO) have organised a demonstration on the 14th at 7pm in San Babila Square, Milan.

Refugee Camps

After the welcoming speech of the municipality of Suruç, the Youth movement and the Association of women KJA (Free Women Congress), the commemoration of the victims of the attack of July has been held in the Amara Cultural Centre, where a bombing attack killed 33 young Turkish socialist activists involved in the reconstruction of Kobane. Around 400.000 Syrians refugees settled down in refugee camps around Sanliurfa and Suruç. We visited three of them, which hosted Kurdish Syrians forced to flee the country. Camps are self-managed by refugees with the support of the municipality of Suruç, providing basic aid, food and infrastructures. In the camp dedicated to the YPJ martyr – ARIN MIRXAN – there are only 90 tents left on a total of 470 tents which were there a few months ago. Among refugees, many of them have decided to go back to Kobane to participate in the reconstruction of the city, many others have left to Europe.

The second camp we visited is devoted to the families of martyrs. A lot of people are waiting the restitution of their relatives’ bodies. Around 600 families have passed through this camp; now there are around 90 families hosted in containers. The third camp we visited, KULUNCE, was hosting around 8.000 people till a few weeks ago. Now there are some hundreds people, while the camp is progressively dismantled. However, ten days ago 200 soldiers of the Turkish Army entered violently in the camp destroying the school – teaching in Kurdish language – and the medical centre. Within the operation, an international volunteer has been arrested with the charge of terrorism and has been repatriated.

The partisans of KOBANE

Out trip moved on to Misanter, a small village a hundred meters far from Kobane, and it represents a strategic place as well as a meeting point for the support to the Rojava resistance. A small museum dedicated to the fighters ARIN MIRXAN e KADER ORTAKAYA has been built in this village. Inside the museum, apart from the area dedicated to the martyrs, there is a library with manifold books donated by activists and fighters. Close to Suruç we visited a cemetery where around sixty people of the Resistance of Kobane are buried and there are also two of the 33 victims of the July attack at the Amara centre.

At last, we went to the Mesher village, where last year the Italian delegations (Rojava Calling) were hosted and which is the heart of the international solidarity with the fight for democratic confederalism. In Mesher we ate together with the municipality of Suruç. The representatives of KJA invited the women of the delegation for a meeting on women’s experiences and changes that resistance entails in their lives and its impact on their roles in the villages and cities of Rojava. “We can be free together but we can’t be free alone” – said a woman closing the meeting.

International delegation for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Kobane