Wrath of Euphrates Spokesperson: We are avenging all the women

Wrath of Euphrates Action Room Spokesperson Cîhan Şêx Ehmed said Raqqa, declared the capital of the caliphate by the ISIS gangs, will be liberated in the leadership and command of women.

Wrath of Euphrates Action Room Spokesperson Cîhan Şêx Ehmed said Raqqa, declared the capital of the caliphate by the ISIS gangs, will be liberated in the leadership and command of women and that a historic revenge will be taken from the dark mind the ISIS gangs created.

ANF spoke with Wrath of Euphrates Action Room Spokesperson Cîhan Şêx Ehmed on the operation to liberate Raqqa.

What is the situation in the second stage of the operation to liberate Raqqa?

We launched the operation to liberate Raqqa, declared the capital of the caliphate by ISIS gangs, in several stages after the Wrath of Euphrates Action Room was established, on November 5, 2016.

In the first stage of the operation, our forces moving from Ayn Îsa and Siluk towns cleared a wide area from ISIS gangs and liberated dozens of villages, hamlets and strategic hills in a very short time.

Then we announced the launch of the second stage of the Wrath of Euphrates operation on December 10, 2016 with a press conference held in Siluk town.

There are several towns, villages, hamlets and strategic hills in a wide area to the west of Raqqa. Our forces moved from Qadriye and Qerdoshan and cleared large towns, dozens of villages, hundreds of hamlets and strategic hills from ISIS and liberated them.

Our forces moving from Qadriye and Qerdoshan reached Euphrates after clearing almost all of the target area. Fort Caber, East and West Caber villages, and Siwediye village were strategic points for ISIS that could cause a fracture, these were the centers of ISIS.

Our forces liberated the East and West Caber villages and the historic Fort Caber, to the west of Raqqa on the Euphrates and with high strategic importance for ISIS gangs. ISIS gangs are launching intense attacks on these areas. But our forces give the appropriate response to the ISIS gangs and and push them back.

From the Ayn Îsa line, our forces have launched into action on two arms and started the operation to clear dozens of villages, hamlets and strategic hills between the north and west lines. The operation is in full swing now, and we have reached an important stage. Our forces continue their advances in the target areas.

The Raqqa center is being taken under siege, step by step, as our forces advance. Raqqa city center can be said to be within range for our fighters now. Our fighters continue their advance toward the heart of ISIS gangs, Raqqa, with great sacrifice despite harsh winter conditions.

You are a Raqqan woman. And the operation to liberate the heart of ISIS gangs Raqqa was launched by your declaration. How should this be read?

I think first you need to consider the ISIS gangs, and then the women’s color. ISIS gangs carry out their own barbarism at the top levels under the guise of Islam.

They do this against the whole of humanity. But they specifically aim to destroy the woman. Because women are the foundation of humanity. So, ISIS gangs aim to destroy the woman before humanity. Women are targeted in Raqqa. Women suffer through torture, rapes and massacres in Raqqa. Women are sold into slavery in a way that was unprecedented even in the middle ages.

For instance, the ISIS gangs kidnapped hundreds of Êzidî women after they invaded Shengal. They brought them to Raqqa and sold them in markets. All women, especially Raqqan women, are under threat by the ISIS gangs and their mindset still.

So women fought actively in Shaddadê, Operation Martyr Rubar Qamishlo, Operation Manbij and many other operations against such a mindset that wants to destroy women, or enslave them when they failed.

Such a historic operation against Raqqa, which is considered the heart of ISIS gangs, starting with the words out of a woman’s mouth is an important and meaningful message. Women are marching against darkness in historic steps. This should be read and understood as so.

What role and mission do women have in the women-led liberation operation on the heart of ISIS, Raqqa?

The main purpose of women taking part in this operation comes from the historic and self-given mission. Because before all, we are women. We are the women’s defense force. We have historic duties and responsibilities given to us by women. To protect all oppressed women, wherever they are, to protect the woman identity is our duty.

To destroy with this operation not just the ISIS gangs, but the mindset they created in Raqqa and everywhere else is the most fundamental and historic duty for our women’s defense forces. The Operation Wrath of Euphrates was launched with this fundamental goal in mind. This is a historic operation for women.

The women take on a leading role and mission in this operation as well as with every operation before, with their experience from the Rojava revolution and the revolutionary war practice. A very important and meaningful point to stress is that women are commanding this operation, and not just leading it.

The operation to liberate Raqqa will continue under the leadership of women, Raqqa, declared a capital for the caliphate by the ISIS gangs, will be liberated under the leadership and command of our women’s defense forces and a historic revenge will be exacted upon the ISIS gangs and the dark mindset they have created. We will avenge all women, most of all the Êzidî women.

If we were to call the Operation Wrath of Euphrates by any other name, it would be “Operation Avenge the Women of the World”.

Since the launch of the operation, many women have reportedly joined the SDF and YPJ. What makes the SDF and the YPJ a center of attraction for women?

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have showcased very clearly what they are capable of in all operations they carried out.

The peoples of Syria see that ISIS and their dark mindset is destroyed in places where the SDF are. People see that the SDF expanding and deepening can bring democracy and freedom and believe this wholeheartedly.

As Raqqans too see this fact, they called for the SDF from Raqqa to destroy the ISIS gangs. In this framework, we created the Wrath of Euphrates Action Room and started to answer the call of our people in Raqqa. Raqqans in villages and towns liberated by our forces also join us.

Because everybody has a different story under ISIS occupation. Everybody has a reason for revenge. Especially the women of Raqqa. This is why there are many new comers to our forces, especially the women’s defense forces. The women who join our forces think a free and new life can only be built by women.

The young women from Raqqa who join our forces say, “We lived through so many things under ISIS tyranny. We want to take revenge from the ISIS gangs. There are women who are still under ISIS tyranny. Women have set us free. We as women want to set other women free.”

The women are truly angry. But also that much more hopeful. Because they have the women’s defense forces. There is the reality of the fighter woman. The woman, ignored in every stage in history, now has reached the level of leadership and command. Of course this situation makes the women’s defense forces a center of attraction.

You are advancing step by step towards liberating your city under ISIS occupation. How do you feel?

I have been in many operations before. But I experienced a great excitement when we first started with the operation to liberate Raqqa, and I still have that.

I start feeling such different feelings when i see the joy people experience in villages we liberate, when a woman reaches her freedom. I am happy when I liberate my lands, my city, step by step. I can do something for my lands through personal sacrifice. This feeling can’t be described, it can only be experienced.

Also, I want to say this because it’s more a personal question: Liberating the city you were born in, you grew up in, went through hardships with your family, and had great times - it’s a very different feeling. I am quite good when it comes to morale and motivation. I am furious, and I am hopeful. I want to avenge what we were put through. Because one person in my family was brutally murdered by ISIS gangs.

When I talk with my mother I say, “We will gather once more in the house I grew up in Raqqa. We will dance halay for freedom there.”

Lastly, do you have a message?

Our peoples should know that the operation to liberate Raqqa which we launched by the name of 'Wrath of Euphrates' continues successfully. We are fulfilling our part in the mission of protecting our people.

During the liberation operations, we always give utmost priority to the safety of our people because any slightest injury they will suffer will hurt us greatly. Our people in Raqqa should stay clear from ISIS headquarters and centers, they should move towards freed areas.

We as all the peoples in Syria should join hands in order for the ending of the current war in Syria and building of Democratic Federal Syria. We need to enhance our unity and solidarity. We call on all the revolutionaries, democrats and patriots that love their country and lands to undertake an active role in this historic process we are being through. We believe our people will do their part in this process and change the course of history in favour of our peoples.

Who is Cîhan Şêx Ehmed?

A founding member of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Cîhan Şêx Ehmed is partaking in the Operation Wrath of Euphrates in order to liberate the land where she was born.

Official Spokesperson of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates, Cîhan Şêx Ehmed was born in Raqqa in 1981. A member of the Shedadan tribe, Ehmed’s family lived in Raqqa for over 40 years.

After her study at Hewarî Bomdî primary school, Ebî Elaa El-Mairî secondary school and Finûn Cemîlê high school, Ehmed continued her education at the Child Development Department of the Finûn Cemîlê Institute. She later provided education for the children of Raqqa.

Cîhan Şêx Ehmed decided to join the ranks of YPG following the eruption of the civil war and beginning of the Rojava Revolution in Syria. She fought ISIS and Al-Nusra gangs on various battle fronts across Rojava.

She was one of the commanders during the Serekaniyê resistance in 2011. Ehmed got wounded here and received treatment at Serekaniyê Hospital for a month. Her injury was a critical one, which made her leave for her hometown Raqqa to receive a further treatment. During that time, Raqqa was under the control of regime forces and the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) was preparing to occupy the city. Before the occupation of SNC gangs, Cîhan Şêx Ehmed attempted to leave Raqqa and go to the Cizir Canton. She was captured by SNC-affiliated gang groups on her arrival in Serêkaniyê, and she was kept captive for two weeks. She was later rescued by means of an action by YPJ fighters.

Cîhan Şêx Ehmed was involved in the establishment process of Syrian Democratic Forces and she currently serves as the Official Spokesperson of the Operation Wrath of Euphrates Action Room declared on November 5, 2016.