Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Editorials, Featured, War
“We all live together in Syria as Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs in brotherhood. The invasion of the Turkish state is aimed at our unity. We have to oppose that together. The Syrian state does not fulfill its task and is silent on the Turkish invasion. But we as peoples of Syria will never accept this invasion.” – Xelef Ineha
Things in Afrin look dire, as hundreds of thousands face the possibility of large scale death and destruction as the Turkish State forces surround the Canton and carry out continued bombardments. Turkey has also stated that its desired goal is to take Afrin and ‘re-Turkify’ it, before moving onto the other autonomous Canton’s of Rojava. This plan amounts to nothing other than ethnic cleansing that will leave tens of thousands dead and create massive amounts of refugees, thousands of which are already being pushed out of Arin and into the desert without food and water, and at the mercy of Turkish and Jihadi forces.
“Every village and settlement area we visited have been bombed by Turkish jets. There were large numbers of wounded in hospitals and many of them were in critical conditions, including children. I went to Afrin in a civilian convoy that was joined by 1500 people who were also targeted by a Turkish aerial bombardment which killed a civilian and wounded many others. There were no fighters in the convoy as Erdoğan claims. All were civilians. The Turkish state has killed many civilians. I witnessed many other similar attacks. Civilians are living in the locations that are under constant bombardment. The goal is to drive the civilian population away.”
The Turkish State, which is aided in part by former members of ISIS and other Jihadi fighters, is currently attempting to surround the city. In recent months, the population size of Afrin has grown, both because people have come to join the fighting, but also in order to flee Jihadis and the Turkish army invading various villages. To make matters worse, Turkey has also bombed the key water source for the city, forcing people to rely on a system of old wells and water tankers.
Continued attacks on roads leading into the city and to Aleppo have also cut off supplies of food, as the Turkish government is hoping that they can starve out the inhabitants. In response:
[A] bakery affiliated to the People’s Council and two other bakeries with which an agreement was concluded distribute bread free of charge to the residents of the city.
Despite there being a call for a ceasefire by the UN security council, Turkey continues to launch bombing strikes in residential areas. The bombing campaigns and constant shelling by Turkey, an ally of the United States government and a member of NATO, has led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, many young children, and many who’s bodies have yet to be found in the rubble. According to AFN News:
According to the figures of the Afrin Canton Health Council, during the 52 days since Turkey’s launch of the invasion operation against the canton, 232 civilians have been massacred, among them 35 children and 29 women, while 668 civilians, including 90 children and 100 women, have been wounded.
But many feel that these mass killings are only the start of a larger slaughter that will lead to full on ethnic cleansing of Kurds and the entire Rojavan Cantons. The lack of response from Western “democratic” states, who only months before used Kurdish forces to defeat ISIS, has been deafening, as Kurdish groups across the world and the revolutionary organizations within Rojava have called on people to step up resistance in solidarity with the YPG/J. Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) co-chair Asya Abdullah stated:
“Civilians in Afrin are under massacre threat. There is a possibility of massacres. Therefore, everyone should rise up for action in wherever they are.”
As our comrades on The Guillotine stated: “We should all of us support Afrin. The fascistic Turkish State, allied with ISIS, have approached Afrin to destroy it.” Just in the last several days, the Turkish State has bombed the Avrin hospital in Afrin, which was the only facility with a trauma unit. On Friday along, 47 civilians were killed, including 16 children.
In response to the assault on Afrin, there has been near continuous demonstrations, marches, occupations, fierce direct actions, and also solidarity campaigns to support those on the ground fighting and dying in Rojava. On March 24th, there is also a call for mass actions of solidarity with the struggle in Rojava. As anarchists, autonomists, anti-authoritarians, antifascists, and anti-capitalists – we must show solidarity with Afrin. For if we do not stand with Rojava, there may be no one left to stand for us. Biji Rojava!
There Has Been A Large Scale Direct Action Campaign
There has been a widespread call for a direct action campaign in solidarity with Afrin and Rojava. Meanwhile in Turkey, Kurdish youth groups have also launched their own offensives. Currently, the Fight4Afrin blog has been listing solidarity actions. From its statement, “If Afrin Falls…It Will Be Too Late”:
For more than 6 weeks we have had to watch the Turkish state attack and occupy together with Islamist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida Afrin, the most western canton of Rojava. In this extermination campaign, the invaders are neither deterred by the deliberate bombardment of civilians nor by the use of chemical weapons. The Islamist mercenaries and fascist Turkish soldiers leave a trail of devastation, plunder, rape and murder, they practice an ethnic cleansing of the territory of Kurds. So far, more than 300 civilians and many militants have given their lives, dozens of villages have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their homes.
Despite the determined resistance of Afrin’s people and their YPG / YPJ / SDF defense units, the Turkish army manages to gain more ground every day. While the Turkish offensive was stuck in the border area of the canton for the first month, in recent days important small towns such as Raco and Shera have been conquered by the invaders. Their destination is Afrin City, the place where civilians have fled the villages and small towns they have conquered so far.
This is made possible by the massive use of modern NATO technology such as fighter jets, artillery, tanks and drones. The fascist-Islamist war of aggression against Afrin is not only Erdogan’s attempt to destroy the Kurdish freedom movement; While Russia opens the door to the Turkish Air Force and the Syrian Assad regime is de facto inactive, NATO actively supports this war with intelligence information, military technology, weapons and ammunition from Western factories. The hypocritical messages from the palaces of power can not hide the fact that this war is nothing but the reckoning of the rulers with the revolution of Rojava. It is a reckoning with the attempt to counter the capitalist system with a self-determined alternative of radical democracy, women’s liberation, real gender equality, and social ecology.
Direct actions can not only be a concrete intervention in the war and propaganda machinery of the Turkish state and its helpers, but have much more potential to draw attention to the extraordinary urgency of the situation. Burning Turkish embassies and consulats, sabotaged armaments companies and mass militant actions against the symbols of capitalist and imperialist rule will break the silence and make the atrocities of Turkish fascism no longer ignorable. The system in Europe thrives on us to engage and stun, to pacify conflicts and contradictions – let this false illusion of social peace go up in flames. Let us show the rulers that we will resist the attacks with the people of Rojava and defend by all means the revolution in Rojava, which is also our revolution.
We call on Monday, 12.3.2018 to start with this militant campaign wherever we can hit the rulers: Radical, creative and courageous, involve you and organize local actions as a prelude to a resistance that will show the powerful of this world that Afrin is not alone. Like the people of Rojava, we also say: “Together we will fight, together we will lose, or together we will win”.
Insurrection News has been chronicling many of these solidarity actions with photos. Some of these include:
- Paris, France: Arson attack of cars against person working at Turkish consulate.
- Berlin, Germany: Arson attack against car dealership in solidarity with Afrin.
- Soltau, Germany: Arson attack against military vehicles in solidarity with Afrin.
- Berlin, Germany: Bank attacked in solidarity with Afrin.
- North Rhine, Germany: Arson attack against car dealership connected to Turkish regime.
- Turin, Italy: Arson attack against military contractor.
- Hamburg, Germany: Attack on store connected to Turkish fascists.
— Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (@RevAbolition) March 12, 2018
- Hamburg, Germany: Attack on bank.
- Hamburg, Germany: Arson attack on Nationalist’s car.
- North-Rhine, Germany: Attack on fascist ‘grey wovles’ club.
- Berlin, Germany: Attack on Turkish propaganda center.
- Melbourne, Australia: Rally at Turkisn consulate.
- Turkey: Kurdish youth groups launch offensive in solidarity with Afrin.
- United States: Coordinated protests and banner drops.
There Has Been a Massive Global Solidarity Effort
Since the invasion by Turkey and the resistance against it began in Afrin, there has also been an ongoing campaign of public solidarity with those on the ground and also a call for Turkey to pull its troops out of the region.
While a complete roundup of these global actions of solidarity would be impossible, we can say that there has been a wide variety of actions taking places from blockades, occupations of offices, and mass demonstrations. Here are some:
— Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (@KurdsCampaign) March 16, 2018
Canadian comrades have "re-decorated" the office of a member of parliament to show everyone the complacency and complicity of western and NATO governments in Turkey's war on Afrin.
We extend our call for direct action against the fascist Turkish state and all who side with them pic.twitter.com/8S6VqQWw3y
— Michael Israel Brigade (@AfrinAFA) March 15, 2018
#DefendAfrin #Iraklio, #Crete: Anarchists invaded the German consulate, hung a banner in solidarity with #Afrin from the balcony & used the consul's email & fax to send messages to the Turkish Embassy in #Athens & Turkish President #Erdogan. pic.twitter.com/USZfJyQ1RY
— Insurrection News (@InsurrectNews) March 16, 2018
#Berlin, Germany: Kurdish youth & their supporters blockade the company Pierburg, a subsidiary of Rheinmetall in protest against German tanks & weapons used in #Afrin & the company's deals with Turkey. More pics & info (German): https://t.co/7h3qwSL2ya #Fight4Afrin #DefendAfrin pic.twitter.com/aZ2oeO1yFm
— Insurrection News (@InsurrectNews) March 12, 2018
Activists in Manchester, England block all trains leaving Piccadilly station in protest at Turkey's war on Afrin which is reaching a critical juncture.
Manchester was hit by an ISIS attack last May and the people of Manchester know well the links between Turkey and ISIS. pic.twitter.com/dSiJxVyALT
— Michael Israel Brigade (@AfrinAFA) March 11, 2018
— Insurrection News (@InsurrectNews) March 16, 2018
— The Base (@TheBaseBK) March 9, 2018
In solidarity w/ the #UCU strike, students at Cambridge occupied administrative offices 4 days ago.
In their first teach-in yesterday, Democratic Confederalism, Rojava and the resistance of #Afrin were discussed.
They say, solidarity with Afrin from their occupation. #DefendAfrin pic.twitter.com/Y6zTGUUk4F
— Kurdistan Students Union UK (@KurdishStudents) March 15, 2018
— Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (@KurdsCampaign) March 13, 2018
Solidarity action for internationalist fighters and afrin from the revolutionary youth group in #bern #anarchism #defendafrin #womenriseup4afrin #afrin #rojava #afrinresists #ifb #mlkp #sehidnamirin #efrin #ypj #ypg #graffiti #antifa #feminism pic.twitter.com/tNvbOfBVOv
— Anarchistische Gruppe Bern (@ag_bern) March 10, 2018
Kurds shut down all trains out of Piccadilly station in Manchester to highlight massacre in Afrin. pic.twitter.com/OloKDFxbRp
— RAVEEN (@raveenaujmaya) March 12, 2018
#BREAKING Afrin protesters block the road in front of the Houses of Parliament in London before #PMQs
"Theresa May – shame on you!"
"Stop genocide in Afrin!"#DefendAfrin #StopAfrinGenocide pic.twitter.com/fZc5aVJyYR
— Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (@KurdsCampaign) March 14, 2018
— Insurrection News (@InsurrectNews) March 16, 2018
— francesco strazzari (@franxstrax) March 14, 2018
— Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (@RevAbolition) March 1, 2018
Antifascist and Anti-Capitalist Forces Are Fighting on the Ground in Solidarity
Over the last several years, people from all over the world have come to Rojava to fight in solidarity with the YPG and YPJ, the people’s defense units of Rojava, which fought a long and bloody battle against ISIS. Many of these fighters came to Rojava because they were inspired by the revolutionary ideology being put into places in the Rojavan Cantons known as Democratic Confederalism, a stateless form of communal democracy influenced by anarchism, feminism, and social ecology.
[EN – FR]Interview in English and French of internationalist fighters members of the AFFA – Antifascist Forces in Afrin.Interview en anglais et en français de combattants internationalistes membres des Forces Antifascistes à Afrin.Via ANF Englishhttps://anfenglishmobile.com/women/internationalist-fighters-we-will-defend-afrin-against-turkey-24918
由 AFFA – Antifascist Forces in Afrin 发布于 2018年2月14日周三
Currently, the Michael Israel Brigade is fighting in Afrin, and is named after Michael Israel of Sacramento, California, a DSA and IWW member who was killed in a Turkish air strike. They have maintained a Twitter feed over the course of the invasion and also issued several statements.
Our response to last night's action by comrades in Turin against the Leonardo-Finmeccanica factory which produces electronic parts for the Turkish military.
— Michael Israel Brigade (@AfrinAFA) March 13, 2018
There is a Call For Global Solidarity on March 24th
On March 24th, there is a call for global solidarity with Afrin and Rojava, and to demand that Turkey halt its invasion and push for ethnic cleansing. The call itself comes from a coalition of Kurdish, anarchist, and anti-authoritarian groups across the US and needs to be supported and signal boosted across all of our networks.
The revolution in Rojava is not perfect, but no revolution is. It is however, a growing bastion of hope for a Middle East not torn apart by ethnic and religious division, ecocide, war, and authoritarian regimes of all stripes. Instead, it is a beacon of possibility, based on communalism, autonomy, and freedom. On March 24th and beyond – we must show our solidarity.
Solidarity Events on March 24th and Beyond
In #Asheville North Carolina on March 24, rally to support #DefendAfrin against the attacks of #Erdogan and his mercenaries. Speak out in support of the #SocialRevolution in #Rojava , for feminism and ecology, against capitalism and nationalism! pic.twitter.com/kePa62RPU5
— WNC Anarchist (@Final_Straw) March 18, 2018