This woman is leading efforts to send ISIS to hell, but Turkey has other plans

Support us and go ad-free

The main assault on the Daesh (Isis/Isil) capital of Raqqa is now underway. And women are at the forefront of the battle.

The feminist commander

Using the code-name “Wrath of the Euphrates”, the group leading the offensive is the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces). And Commander Rojda Felat (the woman pictured above) is one of those leading the charge.

Daesh fighters believe that if they die at the hands of a woman, they won’t go to heaven. So with Felat and other women on the frontlines in the battle for Raqqa, they’d better prepare for hell.

In June, Felat made it clear what her intentions as head of the SDF operation were:

Wherever there is an attack against humanity we, as the Syrian Democratic Forces, will be there. Wherever there is a suppressed woman, that is a battleground for us… People are joining the SDF and YPJ [Women’s Defence Units] by the droves. Not only for the [Yazidi] women of Shengal (Sinjar), but wherever a woman is being suppressed, wherever a man is threatening a woman, our forces will struggle against this. Our struggle for the liberation of our people will become a beacon for all resisting peoples.

Turkey and the US at odds over the SDF’s role in fighting Daesh

The SDF is led by the gender-egalitarian, secular and largely-Kurdish YPG [People’s Protection Units] and YPJ, which are the defence militias of the multicultural and directly democratic cantons of Rojava in northern Syria. Kurds currently make up around 70% of the SDF forces in the Raqqa assault, but Arabs could make up to 40% when other anti-Daesh groups join the battle.

Turkey insists that the attack on Raqqa should exclude all Kurdish forces. It wants only the Arab and Turkmen sections of the SDF to take Raqqa. But the US has reportedly made it clear that the Kurds will remain a part of the main ground force in the offensive.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In Turkey, there is an the ongoing purge of the press, academics, the judiciary, and political opponents. After the recent arrests of opposition politicians from the left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), there were a number of criticisms from Europe. In a televised speech on 6 November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he didn’t care whether Europe regarded him as a dictator or not.

Turkey at war with anti-Daesh forces in Syria

The campaign to liberate Raqqa began in May 2016, when the SDF liberated towns and villages north of the city. But in August, Turkey launched an invasion of towns in north-western Syria which the SDF had also liberated. The assault had been many months in the making.

Turkish tanks rolled into Syria on 24 August, diverting the SDF away from fighting Daesh. And it did not take long before there were allegations from locals, in a town near the liberated city of Manbij, that the Turkish army had carried out chemical weapon attacks.

In September, Turkey launched multiple attacks on towns and villages in Syria liberated by the SDF. Its ultimate aim was to stop the SDF from connecting two of its cantons through the city of al-Bab in northern Syria. Then, in October, it continued to widen its offensive against the Kurdish-led forces, targeting the YPG headquarters near Tel Abyad.

Once the SDF and its allies succeed in liberating Raqqa from Daesh, Turkey will no doubt attempt to ensure the Kurdish-led forces are sidelined. And the US will want to appease its NATO allies in Turkey. But the more Americans and others in the West see how effective the SDF is, and how repressive the Turkish state is, there will be increasing pressure on Western governments to reconsider their alliances in the Middle East. Especially if they truly want to defeat Daesh.

Get Involved!

– Read The Canary‘s previous articles on Turkey, Kurdistan (and Rojava).

– See more international reporting from us at The Canary Global.

– Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more independent international coverage.

Featured image via SHINO Twitter feed

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed