Sheikh Maqsoud…Model for self-protection

Through the human history, the protection and the self-defense considered an essential ethical duty, to realize this goal and this duty, the human followed different methods and manners to protect his values against any attack or violation.  

All the organisms have defense systems to protect their life and their presence against any danger.

During the life of the human history, the self-defense and the autonomous defense considered an ethical duty for the individuals and the societies where they followed all the methods to achieve this duty and this goal. 

Sheikh Maqsoud Neighborhood Resistance which lasted from 2012 to 2016 against the attacks of the mercenaries groups, is a very real example and model of the autonomous protection.

All the attacks which targeted the neighborhoods of Aleppo city, the people of Sheikh Maqsoud followed all the ways and the methods to protect the neighborhood and to protect themselves and all the society members participated in organizing the structure of the self-defense in the neighborhood.

In this dossier we will present all the efforts and the struggle of the people of sheikh Maqsoud Neighborhood against the mercenaries of the Turkish occupation and the regime forces and the affiliated factions.

Summary on the history of Sheikh Maqsoud Neighborhood

The Sheikh Maqsoud Neighborhood built on strategic hill overlook all the neighborhoods city of Aleppo, this neighborhood is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city, it is bordered to the west by the Ashrafiya neighborhood, the area of the inhabited area is about 4,000 square meters.

According to the 2010 census of the city of Aleppo, the population of the neighborhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya is about 800 thousand people, and although there are residents of the Arab and Turkmen components, but the Kurds constitute the majority of the population of the neighborhood.

Organization of the people

With the onset of the Syrian crisis in the spring of 2011, Sheikh Maqsoud was subjected to violent attacks from 2012 by Syrian regime forces and mercenaries of the Turkish state.

The residents of the neighborhood realized the need to work to protect themselves and their neighborhood and that self-defense has become a basic life, and considered that attacks targeting the neighborhood poses a threat to their lives and their presence, and therefore began to establish self-defense forces in the neighborhood.

The Syrian regime considered that the organization of the people of Sheikh Maqsoud poses a danger, and therefore began to incite pro-regime groups to attack the neighborhood.

On orders from the regime, loyal mercenaries attacked Sheikh Maqsoud, but the attacks were met with fierce resistance from the residents.

During this resistance, the residents of the neighborhood were able to protect the workers in the neighborhood's bakery.

During that resistance, member of Kongra Star Union  Guli Selmo participated in the resistance and was martyred by the mercenaries on March 13.

After that incident, self-protection committees were established, but the people had few weapons and grenades.

Despite the few possibilities, the people were able through the protection committees to expel the followers of the regime from the neighborhood, and since that time the people have defended themselves against all attacks on the neighborhood in years, and this resistance has turned into a role model in defense and self-protection.

A model for popular organization and resistance

From the end of 2012 to February 2016, the neighborhood was the target of continued attacks by regime mercenaries.

Residents gained more experience in responding to these attacks, and at that time the neighborhood was under attack in all respects by mercenary groups that used heavy weapons and internationally banned weapons.

To counter these attacks, young people and the elderly were mobilized on a regular basis in self-protection committees, and actively joined organizational, civil, social and protection institutions.

Despite the suffocating siege, the people organized their ranks according to the principles of the popular war, and the people did not surrender to the siege, nor to the ferocious and indiscriminate attacks.

They planted vegetables in houses and made flour to make bread in primitive ways.

They also used wood, and sometimes plastic for heating in winter

After the siege and attacks on the neighborhood began, the mercenary groups began to brutally attack the neighborhood and targeted civilians, and dozens of residents, mostly women and children, were martyred.

On the other hand, fighters of the YPG and Women and Protection Units(YPJ) continued to respond to the attacks and showed heroic epics during these battles.

Accordingly, the Democratic Society Movement(TEV-DEM) and the people announced the general alarm and carried the arm and joined the battles alongside the YPG and the YPJ.

The women and the men joined the resistance all according to his role and their capabilities and confronted the attacks launched against the region, some people were moving the wounded to the hospitals and some of women joined the fronts of the battles and were preparing the foods for the fighters of the YPG and YPJ and were helping the wounded.

The chemical shelling

The neighborhood of sheikh Maqsoud subjected in 2016 to a chemical attack 3 times by the mercenaries groups of the Turkish occupation, the first attack was on March 8, the second was on April 7 and the third was on April 8, of the same year, the shelling left wounded and dead, although these brutal attacks on the region of the neighborhood, but the resistance of the people continued and they escalated the struggle and the resistance in the face of the enemies and the mercenaries, since the first day of the resistance, the resistance of the neighborhood made the history.

Use of ground shelters

Residents living in single-storey houses were the most vulnerable to the bombs and cannons of mercenaries, with shells falling over their homes.

Residents whose homes were destroyed used basements to protect themselves, and despite the poor state of the shelters, they often housed several families, which contributed to some sort of protection from attacks.

During the attacks, the homes of many residents were destroyed, so residents moved from one house to another, opting to survive.

Nisreen Rashid, who joined the forces during the resistance, talked about the resistance saying, " the people suffered from the pressures and arrests carried out by the regime, but after the experiences of the people and the acquisition of expertise they managed to keep the danger away from the neighborhood and now live in safety."

Amid the shelling and the sounds of guns, teaching Kurdish language in shelters

The resistance of Sheikh Maksoud's people was not limited to the military side, but extended to various other aspects of life.However, the most prominent example of this resistance was the insistence on learning the Kurdish language in the shelters, because the attacks were mainly aimed at controlling society and keeping it away from its values and culture.

Residents continue to protect the neighborhood despite ongoing conflicts

Despite the end of the war years, the struggle of the parties to expand areas of influence continues, but the people of Sheikh neighborhood managed to organize its affairs, establish an atmosphere of safety and stability in the neighborhood, and continue to defend the neighborhood and its surroundings.

The protection committees in the communes and the committees of the community protection forces continue to spread throughout the streets and alleys of the neighborhood to protect it from chaos and thefts, and internal security forces maintain the security of the neighborhood.

As a result, self-protection is clearly a priority for societies and individuals, but it is important to recognize that self-protection against all forms of special aggression and war is not limited to military action.

Self-protection includes military action as well as the protection of all moral values, and the creation of various methods to achieve it.

In order for a society to protect itself, it must first and foremost protect its language, culture and historical and social heritage, and in order to do so it must establish and regulate protection institutions.

The resistance of Sheikh Maqsoud made the history as a living example, and as a real model.