The Women’s Platform in Defence of the Women of Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria have today released the following statement.
We are deeply concerned that a massacre is about to take place in the Kobane canton of Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region of Syria. Here, the Kurdish forces, the YPJ and YPG (the women’s and men’s units of the Peoples Defence Force) have been resisting attacks from brutal ISIS gangs and al-Qaeda affiliated groups, despite being deliberately ignored by the West for their links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It is time to recognise them and Rojava, a democratic, multi-ethnic and gender-just administration of two million people whose refugee camps are hosting millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees of all ethnicities.
The region is now being threatened by the ISIS and also by Western airstrikes which will of course result in further civilian casualties. If Kobane falls, it will threaten the entire region.
Thousands of women have been raped, abducted and sold into sexual slavery by ISIS. None of this has been mentioned in the British Parliament, nor has the vital role of women in the YPJ in evacuating thousands of people from the Sinjar region been recognised.
ISIS owes its origins to US interventions and is funded and armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Its fighters are openly entering Syria across the Turkish border. It is imperative that this is halted and the double game of these countries exposed.
The possible establishment of a buffer zone at the Turkish border would further legitimise the presence the Turkish military who have a history of massacring Kurds.
Instead of belligerent action, we urge the British Government to listen to the demands of those successfully fighting ISIS on the ground. If arms are to be given at all, they should be provided to those who are exercising their right to self-determination and self-defence in Rojava.
Roj Women’s Association
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Socialist Womens Union
Freedom Without Fear Platform
Prof Mary Davis
Margaret Owen OBE, Director, Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD)
Shatha Besarani, women’s right activist
Sarah Parker, Haringey Left Unity