Turkish strike kills international medical volunteer in northern Syria
A Burmese medic volunteering in north-eastern Syria was killed in a Turkish strike on Sunday 3 November while trying to reach wounded people.
Zhao Sang was a volunteer with the Free Burma Rangers. The following video clip shows fellow medic Dave Eubank speaking about how Zhao Sang was killed:
Volunteer medic & camera person Zhao Sang was killed today by Turkish shelling, @DaveEubankFBR of @FreeBurmaRangrs tells @RojavaIC:
"We’ll stay here & keep speaking about this zone of invasion, this zone of death, that Turkey & their proxies, jihadists & others, have launched." pic.twitter.com/MzmtzXdK1C
— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) November 3, 2019
In the video clip, Eubank confirms that the team was attacked 4km outside Tell Tamer (Girê Xurma). Two more of Zhao Sang’s team were injured and are receiving treatment.
The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) are a “multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement working to help free the oppressed in Burma, Syria, Iraq and Kurdistan”. According to Eubank, Sang had come to Syria to help the wounded because of his experiences in Burma (Myanmar). And because people had come to Burma in solidarity:
He said ‘I’ll go to help… because people helped me. And the whole world, we all count the same. So he came in love and he left in love.’
The Canary contacted the Turkish embassy in London for comment about Sang’s death, but had not received a reply at the time of publishing.
Turkish invasion, ethnic cleansing and war crimes
Turkish-led forces invaded Rojava on 9 October. The NATO member has faced accusations of ethnic cleansing and war crimes, and its illegal invasion has so far killed over 300 civilians, created around 300,000 displaced people, and allowed hundreds of Daesh (Isis/Isil) supporters to escape detention.
Medics under attack
Thomas McClure of the Rojava Information Center (RIC) told The Canary:
The Turkish-backed forces’ targeting of the medical team of the Free Burma Rangers with artillery is unfortunately just the latest in a series of incidents where Turkey and Turkish-backed forces have targeted clearly-marked medical staff – both from the ground with artillery and also from the air with air strikes, which clearly indicates that this is the Turkish armed forces taking these decisions to attack medical staff, not just the Turkish-backed jihadi groups that they’re using on the ground.
Tweets from RIC list the following incidents targeting health facilities and health workers since the beginning of the invasion:
– Execution of at least 2 health workers in Suluk by Turkish-backed factions 12 Oct
– Repeat targeting of Sere Kaniye hospital by Turkish-backed forces
– Denial of humanitarian access in Sere Kaniye; repeat targeting of ambulances; hospitals forced to closed by shelling pic.twitter.com/WaXglTPb5Q
— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) November 3, 2019
On 22 October, RIC reported that a Kurdish Red Crescent ambulance team was attacked. RIC interviewed a medic called Kawa in Tell Tamer:
In Til Temir we spoke to Kawa of the Kurdish Red Crescent:
"We had a medical base in the village Safilii. First there were drones overhead, and after the warplane struck. Our ambulance was damaged and we couldn’t go on to the city because planes would strike us there…." pic.twitter.com/1iygZFybzr
— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) October 22, 2019
A war against the civilian population
McClure told The Canary:
Why is Turkey doing this? This war from the beginning has been conducted as a war not just against military but against civilian targets; not only medical staff but also water infrastructure, electricity infrastructure, bakeries and so on. Turkey is trying to conduct a total war to terrify civilians, to prevent humanitarian aid – we saw that most of the international humanitarian actors have already pulled a lot of staff out of Northeast Syria because of this attack.
In this way, Turkey hopes to more easily occupy this land. It knows that its war is not just against military targets, it’s also against the civilian population. This is clearly shown by the attacks on medical staff. That is the logic behind these attacks.
Eubank, meanwhile, tweeted:
(1/2) Update from yesterday here in northeastern #Syria. We continue to help and appeal to the US to stand with those under attack here. There have been too many displaced, too many wounded, and too many killed already. pic.twitter.com/ioabIky5KK
— David Eubank (@DaveEubankFBR) October 30, 2019
He also said:
Right now, it hurts. But, with this pain, with this loss, we will keep shining a light, will keep sharing love, will keep helping as we can. All this, we want to do in honor of Zau and in memory of Zau. (Part 1 of 2 from our update from today, Nov. 4) pic.twitter.com/CpAWWy0j7u
— David Eubank (@DaveEubankFBR) November 4, 2019
Featured image via RIC
Tom Anderson is part of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. Twitter: @shoalcollective
- Join a demonstration against the Turkish invasion.
- Support Heyva Sor a Kurdistane’s frontline medical services in Rojava through Crowdfunder or JustGiving.
- Follow Free Burma Rangers on Facebook or Twitter.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.
Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to leave a comment.Join the conversation
Please read our comment moderation policy here.