Today we received this statement in solidarity with the people of Kobane from the Indian Workers Association and the Brazilian Centre of Solidarity with the Peoples:

Joint statement by
Indian Workers’ association, Great Britain

CEBRASPO – The Brazilian Centre of Solidarity with the Peoples

Condemn the brutal assault and besieging of Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani by ISIS!
Condemn killing of 19 Turkish Kurdish demonstrators by Turkish government!
Stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people who are defending Kobani from ISIS!

For the last three weeks, the outgunned and outnumbered men and women of Syrian Kurdish resistance forces led by Rojavan People’s Protection Units (YPG) have held off an unrelenting assault from the ISIS on the key city of Kobani in northern Syria, bordering Turkey. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS has laid siege to Kobani, causing almost 180,000 people to flee Kobani Canton in Rojava (West Kurdistan) to the neighbouring Turkey and killed more than 170 Kurdish resistance fighters and at least 20 civilians. Over one hundred villages were evacuated by YPG in the face of an ISIS assault. ISIS, which is currently funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, is reported to have 40 tanks and 30 armoured personnel carriers and sophisticated US-made weapons they seized in neighbouring Mosul (Northwest Iraq). If ISIS overruns Kobani, it is feared that they will commit genocide, mass massacres, rape and arson there.

                               In 2012 the people of Kobani under the leadership of YPG, rose up against the Syrian Ba’athist regime and liberated Rojava region from Syria’s control and formed autonomous region of Rojava. The Turkish government and other regional powers enforced an embargo against Rojava, trying to nip this budding Kurdish autonomous region. They fear that an independent Rojava will be a boost and inspiration to the ongoing Kurdish national liberation struggle in North Kurdistan (EasternTurkey), led by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Over the past few decades, the Turkish government has killed thousands of Kurdish freedom fighters and imprisoned thousands more. PKK has been labelled as ‘Terrorist’ by US, on the behest of Turkey. Denying the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people, the Turkish and Syrian regimes have been systematically unleashing repression on them by means of extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions and torture.

                             Though Turkey is a NATO member and partner of the so-called US-led anti-ISIS coalition, it fully supports the ISIS operations in Syria in covert ways. It has deployed columns of tanks and enforced an embargo against Rojava, making sure that the Kurdish resistance forces in Kobani do not get any supplies such as food and medical aid from Turkish Kurds. But at the same time, Turkey’s border with ISIS-controlled territory remained open. It has provided a transit route for 12,000 ISIS recruits and for supply of weapons. Injured ISIS fighters have been treated in Turkey’s hospitals.

                             Several hundred protesters in Turkey have taken to the streets in Istanbul and the country’s southeastern provinces, protesting against the ISIS offensive on Kobani.. Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu himself has stated in a press conference on 8th October that at least 19 people have been killed, 145 were wounded and in hospital and 368 have been detained during the ongoing pro-Kurdish demonstrations across Turkey, including Ankara and Istanbul. Curfews were imposed in several predominantly Kurdish cities of Mardin, Siirt, Batman and Mus. Tanks were deployed in the city centre of Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish-inhabited city in Turkey, on the morning of 8th October.

                                 Several hundreds of Kurds protested in major European cities, including London, Paris and Berlin, demanding lifting of embargo on Kobani by Turkey. Demonstrations took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. After three weeks of fierce fighting between ISIS and YPG and at the time when Kobani almost fell to ISIS, US has begun airstrikes targeting ISIS positions. However, on 8th October, the US secretary of State John Kerry, alongside the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, stated in a press conference that preventing the fall of the Syrian border town Kobani is not a strategic US objective. In other words he made it categorically clear that the US strategic objectives in the region are far more important to them, than the endangered lives of thousands of Kurdish men and women besieged in Kobani!!!. This shows the true colours of US and UK governments with regard to this besieged city. Here, it is important to remember the fact that it was the US, who have funded ISIS in 2012 to fight against Assad’s Syrian regime. At later stages of the developments in the war within Syria, ISIS became the number one enemy of US, only after ISIS developed into a mighty military force and stopped obeying their original master, the US.

Unfortunately, the pro-western Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of South Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) is keeping silent, when their Kurdish brothers and sisters of Syrian Kurdistan are facing the threat of a massacre. There is a need to understand this criminal silence from the commercial interest point of view. Over the past five months, according to Turkey’s energy minister Taner Yildiz, a total of 11.2m barrels of oil were piped from South Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and delivered to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. More than 2,200 Turkish companies are registered in Erbil (South Kurdistan) and the majority of Turkey’s $12bn trade with Iraq is with the KRG. Israeli payments to the KRG for Kurdish oil go through a Turkish Halkbank account. The pipeline carrying oil from the KRG to Turkey was built in 2013 by the British firm Genel Energy, whose Executive Director & CEO is Tony Hayward, who was also the ex-boss of BP. The former British Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of another British company Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd, which is conducting investigations for oil in KRG ruled South Kurdistan. All this explains why UK is conducting airstrikes on the northwestern Iraq, which is controlled by ISIS (bordering North Kurdistan), rather than around the besieged city of Kobani. Who exactly is dying and how many civilians are dying in these airstrikes on Iraq is yet another question. The inter-imperialist dogfight – with US and EU on one side and Russia on the other side – is making the situation in this region worst.

                                  Under these complex international circumstances, we appeal to the peace loving people, anti-war campaigners, intellectuals, workers and students of Britain and Europe to condemn the brutal assault by ISIS on the northern Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani. We appeal to them to condemn the ongoing embargo enforced by Turkey on Kobani and to stand in solidarity with the resisting Kurdish people of Rojava. We appeal to all to demand opening of Turkish border for humanitarian supplies to the besieged Kurdish people of Kobani. We also appeal to condemn Turkey’s repression of the protesting Kurds in Turkish Kurdistan.

  • Stop the brutal assault on the people of Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani by ISIS!
  • Hail the heroic resistance of the people of Kobani!
  • Defend the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination!
  • Down with the brutal Turkish and Syrian regimes!
  • Down with the hypocrisy of the so-called ‘international coalition against ISIS’!
  • Open the Turkish border for humanitarian supplies to the besieged Kurdish people of Kobani
  • Kobani needs a safe corridor: Not a buffer zone
  • Hands-off Kurdistan!
  • Freedom to all political prisoners languishing in Turkish and Syrian prisons!
  • Stop the airstrikes by US, UK and France on Iraq in the name of fighting ISIS!
  • Down with imperialism!
  • Long live international solidarity!