Connect with us

World News

Syria: Death of Kurd in protest against Turkish ‘invaders’ is ‘significant moment’

Published

on

Sermisaxa Jor is a tiny, ethnically Kurdish village in the far northeast of Syria.

For the people who live there, today will be remembered as the moment that Syria’s bloody, decade-long and multi-faceted war came to them.

In the context of the war itself, what happened in Sermisaxa Jor is not comparable: one young man died; run over by a Turkish military vehicle.

But in the context of where the war goes next, it’s a significant moment.

Sermisaxa Jor

Kurdish villages threw rocks at a Turkish and Russian military convoy in Sermisaxa Jor

Sarkhbon Bankin Ali, 26, was killed as he and scores of his fellow villagers – men, women and children – threw rocks at a convoy of Turkish and Russian military vehicles passing through.

The convoy was part of the Turkish plan to create a ‘safe zone’ along the border area between Turkey and Syria.

The villagers see them as invaders who want to push them, as Kurds, out of their homes.

The evidence since the Turkish incursion of this area began a month ago would suggest they are right.

In towns across this predominantly Kurdish part of Syria, the people have fled as the Turkish army, with Russian support, has moved in.

Sermisaxa Jor

When the convoy’s path was blocked by boulders in the road, the Russians fired tear gas

Here in Sermisaxa Jor, they are not moving them out yet. But the villagers are sure that will come.

And so, with remarkable force, they pelted the convoy with rocks.

We watched as they clambered on top of the heavily armoured vehicles. They ripped off the wing mirrors.

This, they feel, is the only way they can defend their land.

Sarkhbon Bankin Ali was one of the angry young men. He hung off the right hand side of one vehicle and then jumped off as it moved.

He fell under the back wheel. He would never have survived.

We watched as his friends hauled him into the back of a pickup. He was taken to the nearest hospital but didn’t make it.

The soldiers driving the vehicle didn’t intend to hit him. They probably don’t even know his fate.

Sarkhbon Bankin Ali

Sarkhbon Bankin Ali was taken to hospital but did not survive
Further into the village, with their path momentarily blocked by boulders in the road, the Russians fired tear gas.

At close range, its effect is temporary but still awful.

At least 10 people were taken to the hospital.

“Where’s the international community? Where’s the humanity,” one villager shouted to me.

“There’s no way we will let this to happen. We will not allow Turkey to enter our village. We won’t allow the Turkish military to enter our village.”

Near him, an elderly women sat in a heap, sobbing.

Sermisaxa Jor

People suffered the effects of the tear gas
The month-old Turkish incursion is having the impact many feared.

The people here believe they will be the next to be moved out to join the thousands of their own already in Iraqi refugee camps across the border.

We followed the convoy as it passed though a dozen or so villages.

Locals were following too, on motorbikes and in cars, lobbing rocks when they could.

The Turkish objective of this patrol and others like it across the area is to make their presence felt across a wide strip of Kurdish land along the border.

They call it a safe zone. Their only target, they claim, are the Kurdish militia fighters who control this area.

Tear gas victims

The villagers say they are trying to defend their land
Turkey sees the militia as terrorists; the brothers and sisters of the Turkish-based separatist group, the PKK or Kurdish Workers’ Party.

And while western governments agree about the PKK’s terror links, they do not see the Syrian Kurdish militias as terrorists.

On the contrary, the Syrian Democratic Forces and YPG who make up the Kurdish militia have been the key fighting element of the western coalition fight to defeat the Islamic State in Syria.

But this isn’t just a case of civilians being caught in the middle. The Turkish government is being accused of actively forcing the civilians out too.

Even by the assessment of the top American diplomat in the region, the Turkish incursion is actually part of a quiet systematic ethnic cleaning of the region to remove the Kurds whose home this is.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

In a memo leaked to the New York Times this week, William Roebuck wrote: “Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, spearheaded by armed Islamist groups on its payroll, represents an intentioned-laced effort at ethnic cleansing.”

He continued: “One day when the diplomatic history is written, people will wonder what happened here and why officials didn’t do more to stop it or at least speak out more forcefully to blame Turkey for its behaviour.

“An unprovoked military operation that has killed some 200 civilians, left well over 100,000 people (and counting) newly displaced and homeless because of its military operation.”

Not far from where Sarkhbon Bankin Ali died, we came across an American military convoy.

The US troops are still here, despite all President Donald Trump’s talk of them leaving.

But their orders now are to protect the oil, not the Kurds.

Facebook Comments
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World News

China condemns ‘attack’ on Hong Kong official in London | UK News

Published

on

The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have condemned an “attack” on a Hong Kong government official in London.

Protesters were involved in an altercation with Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng during her visit to London on Thursday.

A statement from the Hong Kong government said Ms Cheng suffered “serious bodily harm”, but gave no further details.

Video footage of the incident shows the minister falling to the ground.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam strongly condemned the “attack”, saying the incident was brutal and transcended the bottom line of a civilised society.

“The secretary denounces all forms of violence and radicalism depriving others’ legitimate rights in the pretext of pursuing their political ideals, which would never be in the interest of Hong Kong and any civilised society,” the Hong Kong government said in a separate statement.

The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have condemned an

Image:
The Hong Kong government said Ms Cheng suffered ‘serious bodily harm’

The Chinese embassy in the UK has urged UK police to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident and to step up security for its personnel and organisations in Britain.

In Hong Kong, a 70-year-old man has died after being struck on the head during clashes between government supporters and protesters.

Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department expressed “profound sadness” at the death of its cleaning worker and said it was providing assistance to his family.

Meanwhile, anti-government protesters have again paralysed parts of Hong Kong, forcing schools to close and blocking some roads as students built barricades in university campuses.

The protests escalated in June over an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The bill was later scrapped but the protests have since evolved into calls for greater democracy, among other demands.

The months-long protests have plunged the former British colony into its biggest political crisis in decades and pose the biggest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

World News

Israel and Islamic Jihad reach ceasefire after dozens killed | World News

Published

on

Israel and the militant group Islamic Jihad have begun a ceasefire after at least 34 Palestinians were killed in the heaviest fighting in months.

Almost half of the dead were civilians, including eight children and three women, medical officials in Gaza said.

Eight members of one Gaza family were killed by an Israeli missile strike shortly before the truce came into effect, officials and residents said.

They claimed none of the victims were militants.

Palestinians gather at the scene of an Israeli air strike in the central Gaza Strip

Image:
Palestinians gather at the scene of an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip

However, Israeli military spokesman Major Avichay Adraee said the head of the family, Rasmi Abu Malhous, who was among the dead, was the commander of Islamic Jihad rocket crews in the central Gaza Strip, although the group has not claimed him as a member.

Some of the family’s bodies were completely buried in sandy earth, neighbours helping rescue workers to pull them out.

In two days of fighting, southern Israel was paralysed as militants fired hundreds of rockets across the border, injuring dozens of people.

Hamas, the dominant faction in Gaza, appeared to stay out of this round of fighting.

The clashes began early on Tuesday after Israel killed one of Islamic Jihad’s senior commanders, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, who it had deemed to be an imminent threat.

He was claimed to be behind a string of rocket attacks, and was believed to be planning cross-border infiltration, Israel said.

Rockets are fired from Gaza towards Israel

Image:
Rockets are fired from Gaza towards Israel

The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire began at 5.30am (03.30 GMT), about 48 hours after the fighting began, Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Berim said.

“The ceasefire began under Egyptian sponsorship after the Occupation (Israel) submitted to the conditions set by Islamic Jihad on behalf of Palestinian resistance factions,” he said.

An Israeli military spokesman announced that its Gaza operation was over on Twitter.

“Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, told its Army Radio.

Islamic Jihad, like Hamas, refuses to accept permanent coexistence with Israel.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

World News

Evo Morales: Bolivia’s president quits over electoral fraud claims

Published

on

Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned amid deepening unrest over allegations of electoral fraud.

The announcement came after the country’s military chief went on TV on Sunday to call for him to step down.

Mr Morales has endured weeks of anti-government protests since his election victory last month was called into question, with the Organization of American States later discovering “clear manipulation” at the polls.

Concerns were initially raised about a day-long gap in reporting results from the poll, just before a spike in votes for Mr Morales.

Mr Morales, who came to power in 2006, had promised a fresh election.

In his TV appeal, General Williams Kaliman said: “After analysing the situation of internal conflict, we ask the president to resign, allowing peace to be restored and stability to be maintained for the good of our Bolivia.”

He also urged Bolivians not to resort to violence.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

Trending

© Copyright 2019 - AREWANG Media Limited