Til Temir's mosaic targeted by occupation forces
The northern Syrian district of Til Temir is the target of the invasion troops. It is an outstanding example of the peaceful coexistence of all ethnic and religious identities in the region.
Til Temir has been under the constant attack of the occupation forces for days. The region is also known as Little Syria, as many of Syria's ethnic and religious components can be found in the district and its villages. In Til Temir Assyrians, Syriacs, Armenians, Kurds and Arabs live together.
Founded by genocide survivors
Til Temir - in Kurdish: Girê Xurma - was founded by Assyrians, who survived the Simele massacre between 1933-1935, and by the Kurds inside. The Assyrians built the Maryam-al-Azra church and many villages on the banks of the Xabûr (Khabour).
The city is strategically very important due to its location and belongs to the canton of Hesekê. It is only about 30 kilometers away from the city. The distance to Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) is 40 kilometers. The Til Temir district consists of 180 villages and is crossed by the M4 highway, an important target for invading troops.
"We have strengthened our unity against the attacks"
Şemun Keko from Til Temir tells: "Until 2015 we lived peacefully together as Kurds, Armenians, Arabs and Syriacs. Then the ISIS began to attack us. The ISIS tried to sow discord among the population groups. But despite all the attacks, our unity only grew stronger. The attacks of the ISIS could not separate us from each other. All peoples have fallen as martyrs. With the project of autonomous administration we organized ourselves even more intensively and took important steps."
"A symbol of the peoples’ mosaic"
Mihemed Seyid has spent 58 years of his life in Til Temir. The people of Til Temir shared everything good and bad, explains Seyid, stressing that it created a strong bond between the people: "Before the revolution, the regime oppressed the people here. The children could not speak their own mother tongue. This pressure was mainly directed against the Kurdish children. The Kurdish citizens could not even give their children Kurdish names. Kurds were not even allowed to build houses in their own name. I was persecuted again and again in school because I spoke Kurdish. After the proclamation of autonomous self-government, a council with 33 members was founded here. They come from all peoples. This is also a symbol of the mosaic.
"We will let the plans of the occupying forces fail"
We lived here in peace and quiet. The Turkish state brought us nothing but plunder and massacres. We will defend ourselves against these dirty attacks and we will put a stop to all their plans."
Seyid recalls the resistance against the brutal attacks of the ISIS and al-Nusra and continues: "Now they are attacking again. Their main goal is to destroy our peace and unity. Because of the sacrifice of our martyrs, they have no success."
25,000 people seeking protection in Til Temir
After the invasion of the Turkish state, 25,000 people fled to Til Temir from Serêkaniyê. The refugees live under difficult conditions in the city's school buildings. About four families live together in each classroom. The refugees in the schools report the suffering they have experienced. Again and again a massacre is taking place in front of the eyes of the world.
"We will return to Serêkaniyê"
Ayşe Mihemed from Serêkaniyê says: "We live here in a school. It's very difficult. We want our land back. We will fight to the last drop of blood to return to Serêkaniyê. We do not accept the presence of the Turkish state and its gangs in Serêkaniyê. We do not fear Erdoğan’s threats. We remain at the side of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)."
The entire family in defense
22-year-old Syriac fighter Ninwa Dîlan reports that her mother, father and two brothers are fighting in the Syriac Military Council. The Military Council has also played an important role in the fight against the ISIS. Ninwa of the Syriac Women's Defense Forces says, "Our forces were founded to defend all women in the world. When the Seyfo genocide of the Syriacs took place, we had no women's defense forces. Today we have these forces and we fight all the occupying forces. There have been many attacks on Assyrian, Armenian and Syriac women. The ISIS murdered the Syriac women in its attacks. An example is the martyr Wîdat Dawût. Şehîd Wîdat resisted the ISIS until the end. We took up our fight to take revenge for Şehîd Wîdat. We will not allow a repetition of the Seyfo. The Assyrian, Chaldean, Armenian women fighters will stop the Turkish state."
Ninwa calls on all Syriacs and Armenians to arm themselves and defend land and dignity.