The Internationalist fighters within the People's Protection Units (YPG) issued a statement marking the third anniversary of the start of the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries' attacks on Afrin, confirming their continued struggle for the liberation of the occupied territories, stressing that they are certain that they will prevail.
The text of the statement read:
In January 2018, the fascist Turkish state under Erdogan's government began its so-called "Operation Olive Branch" with the support of thousands of jihadist mercenaries. The ideological alliance of the MHP-AKP government and their mercenaries was opposed by the People's Protection Units and the Women's protection Units -YPG and YPJ- in a heroic resistance for more than two months.
Efrin was one of the most peaceful areas in all of Syria, largely spared from active warfare until the invasion began. Grassroots democracy, communal life, ecological projects and the liberation of women were intensively brought to life there.
Efrin also became a place of refuge for hundreds of Yezidis who escaped the genocidal terror of the so-called "Islamic State" and found a new and, above all, safe home there.
Today, Efrin looks like a pile of rubble. The jihadist gangs loot the property of the displaced population and those who have not fled, destroy the environment of Afrin, destroy and desecrate cultural and historical sites, kidnap and rape women, and forcibly marry young women and minors. With NATO's acceptance, Turkey is committing war crimes targetting the local population with its proxy army, the jihadist coalition known as the "Syrian National Army." From the very beginning of "Operation Olive Branch," Turkey not only pursued the plan of a short-term military operation, but also pushed for the annexation of the area to Turkey. Today, in Efrin, children are taught according to the Turkish curriculum and ideology, signs etc. are written in Turkish, the Turkish lira has been introduced as the currency and the Turkish post office is responsible for various logistical tasks. Together with the beginning of the construction of a wall around the occupied territories, we can definitely speak of an annexation attempt.
But Efrin is not only the story of terrible atrocities and oppression, but also the story of hope, struggle and resistance.
Various internationalists also took their place in the resistance of Efrin. From all parts of the world, from the most diverse struggles and ideological currents, our comrades participated in the military and civil defense works. In the process, our friends Kendal Breizh (Olivier François Jean Le Clainche), Şahin Hüseyni (Haukur Hilmarrson), Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell) and dozens more of our friends fell.
In Kurdistan we say "Şehid Namirin" - our martyrs do not die. Our martyrs do not die because we will remember them and continue their struggles and desires. Because remembering means fighting and fighting means remembering. For us, January 20th is a day to remember our fallen friends and the reasons that moved them and move us all to join this revolution, to participate in it, to shape it and to defend it. It is a day to remember and to remind ourselves that it is necessary to draw a clear line between us and the enemy, not to forget what has happened and to gain strength from it for the coming months, years and offensives. To remember that we can all take our place in this revolution and contribute to Rojava and the free Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria. It does not matter whether we participate in the military or the social works, because here we can also learn and understand: Society can only succeed with defense, and defense can only succeed with society.
We would like to emphasize once again that Rojava is the revolution of all people who participate in it and contribute here with strength and effort. Rojava is the land of all of us and we can experience and realize here a part of what we have always dreamed of: Building a free life. As our comrades before us have done and are still doing day by day in Ain Isa or Til Temir, it is also our task as internationalists to oppose the enemies of the revolution. It is also up to us to expel the occupiers from Efrin, from Rojava, from all of Kurdistan and the Middle East together with the people. It depends on each and every one of us.
Today, we also want to remember the many moments of laughter, the difficulties experienced and their communal overcoming with our comrades and shout in the certainty of our victory:
Long live the resistance of Afrin and Kurdistan!
Until the liberation of all occupied territories!
Down with fascism, in Turkey and worldwide!
Long live international solidarity!