Notes from Sirrîn

YPG/YPJ and Burkan El Fırat had launched an operation to liberate Sirrîn as part of the “Kobanê Martyrs Revenge Operation” nearly a month ago. The joint forces entered the town after five days long siege.

We are able to enter the town of Sirrîn, liberated at the end of the YPG/YPJ and Burkan El Fırat operation, on the second day. We can move freely in one part of the town where YPG fighters finished removing mines and traps.

We are not admitted to the town on the first day of the liberation due to the mines and traps ISIS gangs had left behind as they were escaping. We enter the town on the second day, but we can only move freely in one part of the town where YPG fighters finished removing mines and traps. Town’s civilian residents have been transferred to a safe location and will be held there until the town is cleared completely.

YPG/YPJ and Burkan El Fırat had launched an operation to liberate Sirrîn as part of the “Kobanê Martyrs Revenge Operation” nearly a month ago. The joint forces advanced on the town as they liberated 25 villages to the south and west of Sirrîn, and entered the town after five days long siege. Because of the mines and traps ISIS gangs had left behind almost all over the town as they were escaping, YPG/YPJ transferred Sirrîn’s residents to a safe location and began to clear mines and traps. Journalists could enter the town on the second day of the liberation.


Access to the town happens through one road YPG/YPJ fighters keep open, and all other roads have been closed off in order to prevent probable ISIS attacks with explosive vehicles. YPG fighters wait at the town’s entrance where large amounts of guns and ammunitions seized from the gangs are being kept. There are mortars, kalashnikovs, BKC rifles, assault rifles, explosives and thousands of bullets that YPG/YPJ seized from ISIS gangs here.


Upon our arrival, we go to the town square where ISIS gangs displayed their brutality to civilians. ISIS gangs tortured prisoners here and beheaded those whom they branded as serious offenders, in order to ‘set an example.’ YPG fighter Amed Çınar, who is an expert on Sirrîn, states that the square was the gangs’ torture center where people thought to be serious offenders were publicly beheaded in the square after execution decisions arrived from Raqqa. Çınar says that such sights would never repeat in Sirrîn and they would construct a free life here.


We stop by the building ISIS used as a police station and torture house, located next to the square. Dilgeş Kobanê, a fighter from Kobanê who is knowledgeable about Sirrîn, says that ISIS gangs carried out gruesome tortures in the station here and innocent people would be executed after they accepted responsibility for crimes that they had not committed. We learn that the gangs kept people in a small room that does not have any windows for months until they died there.


We reach some of the houses that ISIS used as military buildings, which have now been cleared off mines and traps. We encounter YPG clothes here, as Sirrîn was an important attack center ISIS used against Kobanê. As you can recall, some of the gangs in the ISIS brutal massacre in Kobanê city center and Berxbotan village on June 25 had come from Sirrîn. These gangs wore YPG clothes and the clothes we find here are another indication of ISIS’s use of Sirrîn as an attack base in Kobanê massacre.


We move to another house that was used for military purposes. We encounter notes in Turkish in a notebook we find here. Notes have been written by a Turkish gang and include military information. It is common knowledge that hundreds of Turks join ISIS with the encouragement of the Turkish state. We also encounter tens of food and clothing items with the brands of Turkish companies from Bursa, İzmir and Konya. We learn that many of the vehicles in the town had come from Turkey, and all of these findings confirm Turkish logistic and jihadist support to ISIS.


ISIS gangs, who treat civilians brutally and execute people who they claim to be offenders, propagate against the use of alcohol, which they consider as a crime. However, the remains of a checkpoint gangs used in Sirrîn tells otherwise. We find empty and half-full alcoholic beverage bottles here, which indicate that the gangs are not sincere with their imposition of religious law. Gangs’ use of religion in order to oppress and deceive people illustrates that ISIS is nothing more than a paramilitary group of gangs.


YPG/YPJ forces’ encounters and dialogues with the children of Sirrîn are worth seeing. YPG fighters and two children greet each other in an area where YPG fighters are clearing mines. Children cannot speak Kurdish and the fighters cannot speak Arabic, but the two groups communicate with hand signs and get along well in a short period of time. Hesitant at first, the children are encouraged by the fighters’ warm attitude and begin to make jokes. One of the woman fighters caresses and kisses the hair of a child, and the child’s hesitant face immediately turns happy. An old man with a walking stick approaches YPG/YPJ fighters, begins to speak of ISIS brutality and expresses his happiness at the arrival of YPG/YPJ forces in Arabic. YPJ warrior gives her food to the old man, shakes his hand, and tells him that everything would be good from now on.

YPG/YPJ fighters bring a smile to the faces of everyone, young or old, in Sirrîn on their first day here.


If we include children’s reactions as a sociological indicator of a society, we can say that the people of Sirrîn greeted YPG/YPJ forces with great joy. Women and children whose houses and neighborhoods had been mined are transported to a safe location near the town’s entrance. Women are children go through a health screening here and all of their needs are met. Children of Sirrîn greet us with victory signs when we arrive at the area where women and children are accommodated. Women and children of Sirrîn who managed to get along well with YPG/YPJ fighters in a couple of days illustrate how the fighters are received here: "We have waited for the hevals’ (friends’) arrival for a long time. We are happy that they finally arrived and freedom came to Sirrîn."


A colorful YPG flag representing freedom now waves in Sirrîn Square where people were beheaded and even banned from smoking. After a challenging initiative, YPG/YPJ accompanied by Burkan El Fırat forces representing Arab people liberated Sirrîn and brought the philosophy of equality and sisterhood from Rojava to the town. YPG, who had handed over the administration of Girê Spî after the liberation of this town, is preparing to do the same here in Sirrîn. The democratic model set up in Girê Spî will be established here and lead the way for Syria.