On 19th November a few members of OKA attended and contributed to the panel discussion titled "Turkish invasion of Rojava and its implications”, organised by Kurd-Akad ( Kurdish Academics and Profesionals Network). The event took placeat SOAS, University of London.
The panel speakers were Mosfata Hamo (Journalist), Dr Azad Dewani (Independent Researcher) and Jiyar Gol (correspondent at BBC World Service).
Gol talked about how Turkey turned a blind eyes on jihadists arriving to Turkey and traveling to Syria when he visited Rojava in 2013 and witnessed how ISIS militants crossed into Ras Al Ain. He shared his experiences on being on the ground in Syria, Turkey and Iraq when in 2019 US convey left Syria by Iraqi border. He also shared some of what has been said to him when he visited Qamishlo in late October 2019 by stating what happened in Afrin is repeated in Northern Syria. He interviewed soldiers near Iraqi border who were clear about abandoning the Kurds. American soldieries were ashamed for leaving Kurds were close allies in defeating ISIS in the region.
He also talked about Turkish state war crimes by providing evidences and he made it clear that Erdogan will not stop until he achieves his dream. Until now, EU is scared of the possibility of Turkey opening the gates for refugees to flee into Europe.
Mostafa Hamo talked about the Turkish-backed groups' intimidation of Kurds in Afrin. He highlighted the issue of the Kurds who fled Afrin and became refugees in Shahba area and are not allowed to go back to their homes. He also showed evidence about the way Afrin has been reshaped and can be barely recognised, and pre-planned demographic change aiming to erase Kurdish identity. He presented a few photos about the significant human rights abuses in Afrin, murders, harassment, rapes and thefts. “Turkey imposed a total media blackout on Afrin and nobody knows exactly what is going on, and I am afraid that we may lose Afrin forever“.
Dr Azad drew attention to the similarities between ISIS discourses and the discourses used by Turkey-backed Islamist proxies including Turkish armed Special forces Squad of Grey Wolves. He also talked about the implications of Turkish invasion and its motivations. “Turkish state has not provided any proof until now that showed YPG carried out any attack in Turkey”.