Lina Barakat: Occupation, mercenaries' practices on women's right bring us back to ancient times



ANHA agency conducted a dialogue with the General Coordinator of the Syrian Women's Council Lina Barakat on the violations against women in particular in Afrin city by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries.

The following is the text of the interview:

How do you assess the escalation of the violations by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries on Afrin city?

Since the Turkish invasion of the Syrian city of Afrin, the events continue day after day and week after week and month after month, we entered the sixth month on the Turkish occupation of Afrin, Turkey had done all the inhuman practices against the Kurdish and all the people in Afrin, as there are displaced from the entire areas of Syria, their number reached to about 500 thousand displaced.

The Turkish occupation has committed many crimes of aggression and demolition of homes and antiquities, and the exhumation of graves, theft, rape, bombardment with internationally prohibited weapons and arbitrary arrests. All these practices were carried out in front of the world and with the weak pretexts of fighting terrorism.

The question is, who is the terrorist in this case, is he the aggressor or the resident in his land who defend on himself?, the people of Afrin did not carry out any military operation provoking the Turkish party, but Turkey is occupied this area without any convincing pretext except Turkish greed and standing against the democratic project which calls for a democratic, decentralized Syria.

What is the significance behind the targeting and abuse of women in Afrin by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries?

Of course, terrorist gangs with their radical ideology, always strike the active person in society, namely women. We have noticed this through the practices of Daesh against her when they wanted to control the society, and this is what Turkey did. It was supporting and training the terrorists within its territories, and convince them of these ideas, therefore, the women in Afrin had been targeted in Afrin to break the will of the people through rape, arrests, kidnappings and the exploitation of women, but could not influence as the way the occupiers had ever wanted, as the resistance is still ongoing, our people in Afrin had resisted until the final breath, and still continuing in resistance.

Women in Afrin are being subjected to murder, displacement, torture and kidnapping. All this is happening in front of the world. Why is the international community silent about these practices? Is the international community protecting Turkey through this silence?

We can not generalize and say that all humanitarian organizations protect the practices of the Turkish occupation of Afrin city. There are organizations that sent a distress call, which is 10 organizations, in order to protect the human in Afrin, whether man or woman. Everyone is being killed and violated, but there is international silence because of Turkey which pretext of terrorism and the protection of its national security, there are regional and international forces complicit with the Turkish occupation. The Turkish occupation was not initiated solely by Erdogan, but also the international forces agreed on this invasion in this way and this unjustified silence considered particularly the stigma of the international community and international forces stationed

The mentality practiced by Daesh in Syria and Iraq is repeated today by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries. How do you see these practices being waged against women?

We have all seen practices of ISIS against the women's right, such as Jihad marriage, to restrict women to one cause, namely, the body, ie physical exploitation, or cover her with veil and cloak, or what we hear about captivity" Sapya"  and the sale of women in the market, these actions take us back to ancient times. What happened to the Yazidi women at the hands of Daesh of rapes and violations of the body of women as well, for example the mutilation of the body of the fighter in Women's protection Units after the martyrdom, which was a message from the militant elements or armed gangs to all women; that we will break your symptoms, your body and we will break this strong morale of women, a response to the revolution carried out by women in the area, and that women will remain open by these terrorist elements, I think this is the message they wanted to direct represent bad male thought in its ugliest form through these practices that they do.

Despite all the practices that took place against women in Afrin, today women organized themselves and re-established their ranks in al-Shahba canton. How do you describe this scene?

Women are the source of hope, the spirit of life and heritage of culture and civilization in this region of Syria throughout history, famous and familiar as mothers of civilization, what we are witnessing today, despite what the Turkish occupation and ISIS had done against women, women managed to organize themselves and resist Daesh, there are armies fled from Daesh, but the women in this area and through Women's Protection Units have been able to confront these terrorist forces, and this also proves that women can not break and that the spirit of life, she is capable to advance the communities and homelands, the cause of the liberation of women is not only competent women issue when we want to liberate a society, we must first liberate the women being the main pillar in the liberation of society.

What would you like to say to women?

We wish all women in Syria, in all parts of the earth and wherever Syrian women " You have to be strong enough to empower yourselves, to be steadfast and to choose the path of resistance and struggle because resistance is life.