Rojava: fires against crops

14.07.2019 - Redazione Italia

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Rojava: fires against crops

A new form of economic terrorism against self-government. [Rojava, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria] Simona Deidda’s testimony when she spent 20 days in Syria with a delegation of supportive women.

Article by Daniele Barbieri.

After the defeat of ISIS in the northern and eastern territories of Syria, an attempt is being made to build a democratic system. In recent years, work has also been done on the diversity of agricultural crops to ensure food independence. The areas of Rojava and the north and east of Syria are the most productive from an agricultural point of view. Here, self-government provided all the equipment and machinery to increase production and facilitate work. The result is a renaissance of agriculture.

But “someone” doesn’t like it.

In May and June 2019 large fires broke out in these areas. The causes are varied (high temperatures accompanied by winds, excessive spread of weeds due to heavy rains in the last winter, etc.) but the main fires in Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, Tabqa, Kobane and Manbij were certainly provoked.

Simona Deidda is part of the Kurdistan-Sardinia network. For 20 days she has been in the North and East Confederation of Syria “with a delegation of Sardinians and Italians who correspond to the Jin Network of Solidarity with Kurdish Women”. Among them, one of them started to tell what is happening with the urgent request to the journalists to go there to see what is happening.

By telephone, Simona Deidda presents herself in the following way:

“I have been dealing with the Kurdish question for 10 years. Initially, my interest was in the Kurdish question in Turkey, but with the advent of the revolution the Red Cross expanded to cover all 4 areas of Kurdistan. I made a thesis on the Kurdish IDPs in Turkey and on the role of international organisations and institutes in the country. I am a medical researcher in international relations with a doctoral thesis on the conflict over water resources in the Kurdish areas of Turkey, with special attention to the population of Dersim and the Keban dam. Since 2010 I have visited dozens of times Turkey and Bakur, the Turkish area with the majority of Kurdish speaking people, to study and research for long periods of time; but I also participated as an international election observer in the elections of November 1, 2015, in the city of Sanliurfa. I was in Turkey precisely in 2015, on the occasion of the attacks in Suruç and Ankara and the assassination of lawyer Tahri Elçi in Diyarbakir”.

After the defeat of ISIS, an attempt is being made to build a democratic system in some areas of Syria. What have you been able to observe?

“I am currently in the North and East Confederation of Syria for about 20 days, with a delegation of Sardinians and Italians who correspond to the Jin Network of Solidarity with Kurdish Women. We visited several areas and cities of the autonomous region, from Jazire to Kobane, Raqqa, Manbij, Ain-issa. All areas that have long been under Daesh’s domain, but are currently experiencing a situation of renaissance and structural, political and social reconstruction.

As a delegation of the Jin Network, we are here to know and understand the strength of what they call the “women’s revolution” and which is at the basis of the paradigm of democratic confederalism. In these days we have met with various women’s institutions, from the Mala Jin (Women’s House) in Qamishili, to the different headquarters of the Kongreya Star, the Sara foundation, the Jineoloji centre and academy of Kobane, the Desteya Jin based in Ain Issa. We have seen the construction of a new system, based entirely on participation and exchange of the idea of self-government that sees women involved in all areas of social, economic and political life, thus at the center of a new way of thinking and living. With appointments to the highest system of self-government and within each mixed institution there is an autonomous female part in which decisions are made and discussed. We have had the opportunity to understand how the dominant male mentality is challenged through the constant empowerment of women and men: the history of humanity is re-examined by putting women first, reappropriating the knowledge of natural society and trying to undermine the capitalist system based on sexism and patriarchy. As the co-chairman of Qamishili’s TEV-DEM told us, it is not easy to share power with women, leaving them the space that until recently was only in the hands of men, but society needs to improve and the foundations of a democratic and ecological system need to be laid.

Did you see the fires? What do you think?

“During our stay, we unfortunately saw dozens of fires that destroyed thousands of hectares of wheat and barley fields. From Kobane to Raqqa to Qamishili, the entire crop of the Autonomous Region was burned by heat and oil-related problems, of which the Jezira region is the main producer, but above all by man-made fires. Dozens of testimonies accuse the Turkish military of having caused the fires directly, i.e. by infiltrating Syrian territory or firing projectiles from the other side of the border. A few days ago, the news emerged that the Turkish army fired on the territory of the Autonomous Region, causing a huge fire and then opened fire on the population trying to extinguish it. Other times, the fires are the work of inactive Daesh cells that are still present, particularly in northern Syria. Another threat is represented by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Obviously the reasons behind these fires are both economic and political. Economic as the Autonomous Region has always been the granary of Syria; it is estimated that 65 % of all Syrian flour is produced here. Therefore, the aim of the fires is to economically weaken this region; even better if there is a famine of the population in order to demonstrate the inability of the government of the Northern and Eastern Autonomous Confederation of Syria to manage the economy and ensure security. Economic terrorism represents the new face of the war in the area: it has multiplied its forms, causing enormous losses and spreading fear. If the hungry population were forced to evacuate, it would become more controllable and more vulnerable to possible blackmail from any member of the Daesh or from the governments of Turkey and Syria.

What can be done in Italy to support a democratic process in these areas of Syria?

“Visits (official and otherwise) and meetings with hundreds of people allowed us to deepen our knowledge of the system of Democratic Confederalism, based on coexistence, cooperation and confrontation between different ethnic groups, religions and identities (Arabs to Kurds, Yazidis, Turkmens, Circassians and, therefore, both Muslims and Christians). And the need arose to make known the current revolution that is creating a new mentality in a new political, economic and social system. What can be done, in Sardinia and throughout Italy, is to promote meetings and exchange experiences. We must continue and strengthen the networks that have already been created.

FACT SHEET

There are videos confirming Turkey’s participation in the fires.

Here are some links.

Turkish soldier set fire to crops on the border near the town of Darbasiya in Hasaka

Attempts by the people of Darbasiya to extinguish the fire

The video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1a1kHTBJ0w=j1a1kHTBJ0w shows Turkish soldiers burning cultivated fields at 11:22 a.m. on Saturday 8 June 2019 in Dirbesiye, north of Hasakeh, on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Unfortunately, there are many deaths in the attempt to put out the fires. Among them, 6 civilians: Rashid Ayoub Muslim, in the camp near Kobane; Ahmed Rimelan al-Mukhlaf in the village of Al-Atshan; Ali Mufidi al-Abbas; Ragheb Ibrahim al-Hamid; Aziz Saleh al-Mansi; Majrafa ‘Hanoush Al-Ali. There are four dead among the military involved in the fire: Ayman Ibrahim al-Thiab; Mazen Abdullah; Saleh Ali al-Mohammed; Saleh Maani ‘al-Awad.

Until 16 June, the following crops were identified as damaged

Zone Proportion of burnt crops. Wheat. barley Burnt Hectares
Jazira 70% wheat30% barley 37.800 hectares
Eufrates 80% wheat20% barley 2,650 hectares
Raqqa 60% wheat40% barley 3,842 hectares
Deir ez-zor 70% wheat30% barley 386 hectares
Manbij 60% wheat40% barley 110 hectares

More than 2,000 trees were burned in the Euphrates and Raqqa territories, agricultural machinery (two harvesters and a tractor) and many houses in the Jazira area. The self-government estimates losses of 19 billion Syrian pounds.

Kobane, city of women.

Below is a testimony (dated 5 July) from the Italian Delegation of the Jiin Network:

The Jin Network, https://retejin.org , is defined as: “women’s network in solidarity with the Kurdish women’s movement and, therefore, more generally, with the struggle for democratic confederalism: against the state, patriarchy and capitalism; for democracy, women’s revolution and social change”.


Translation from Spanish Pressenza London

Categories: Human Rights, Interviews, Middle East
Tags: , ,

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