WDR: Turkish attacks on North-East Syria must stop!

Women Defend Rojava and several girls' institutions in Germany demand an end to the Turkish attacks on northern Syria and the closure of the airspace over the region.

The feminist campaign Women Defend Rojava in Germany has written an open letter calling for an end to Turkey's attacks on the autonomous region of northern and eastern Syria, which violate international law. The airspace over the region should be closed and Turkey held accountable for its continued human rights violations, the campaign demands.

"We are angry and grieve together with the families who lost their daughters to the Turkish drone attack on the girls' education centre near Hesekê. On 1 September, the World Day of Peace, we received the news that Silava Remedan also succumbed to her injuries from the targeted attack. Along with Raniya Eta, Zozan Zêdan, Dîlan Izedîn and Diyane Elo, she is one of five girls who were taken from life far too early by this dirty war of occupation by the Turkish state," Women Defend Rojava said.

Systematic attack on women's achievements

The open letter is primarily addressed to girls' institutions in Germany and is intended to draw attention to the situation in Rojava. "This attack is one of many other Turkish drone attacks on children in northern and eastern Syria. In August of this year alone, eight children have already died in Turkish drone attacks. We see these attacks as targeted against the youth and women's movement and thus against the heart of society. We clearly see in this another feminicide that is part of the systematic attack against women's achievements in the region," the feminist campaign wrote, pointing out that the public and the German media remain silent about the daily attacks and events in northern and eastern Syria.

Letter to girls' clubs, girls' houses and girls' counselling centres

The letter from Women Defend Rojava to girls' institutions in Germany said: "We are a feminist campaign that opposes the Turkish war of aggression in northern and eastern Syria. In northern and eastern Syria, a social construction of self-administration has been taking place for ten years, in which women are given equal rights in all areas of life. At the same time, however, this construction is also subject to daily attacks by the Turkish army. (...)

On 18 August 2022, the Turkish army bombed a United Nations (UN)-sponsored training centre for girls in northern Syria. The attack was carried out by an unmanned drone, which means that this attack was targeted.

The five girls Zozan Zêdan, Ranya Eta, Diyana Elo, Dîlan Izedîn and Silava Remedan were killed by this bombing while playing volleyball. Ten other girls were injured. We are shocked and angry about this attack, which joins a multitude of other Turkish drone attacks on children in northern and eastern Syria.

This is why we have written the attached letter. We would like to invite you as girls' centres, girls' houses and girls' counselling centres, which are places of encounter for girls as well as the training centre in Northern Syria, to sign this letter and spread it together."

“We condemn the attack on a girls' education centre”

The open letter from Women Defend Rojava Germany has already been signed by several girls' institutions and is being circulated further:

On 18 August 2022, four girls playing volleyball were murdered and eleven others injured in a Turkish airstrike on a United Nations (UN)-sponsored training centre for girls in Şemoka/Shamuqah in northern Syria. We mourn Zozan Zêdan, Ranya Eta, Diyana Elo and Dîlan Izedîn and condemn this inhuman crime!

Women and children are particularly affected by war. Scarcity of resources, sexual violence, flight and displacement are consequences of Turkey's warlike attacks, as they have been taking place in northern and eastern Syria for years. The targeted murder of Zozan Zêdan, Ranya Eta, Diyana Elo and Dîlan Izedîn represents a new level of violence. It joins numerous other attacks by Turkish drones in which children have been increasingly murdered in recent weeks. On 16 August, a 12-year-old was murdered in Kobanê. On 6 August, two children died in a drone attack on a car in Qamishlo. On 4 August, six children were injured in a drone attack on Tel Rifat city centre. On 1 August, a teenager who was critically injured by a grenade while working in the fields died.

We demand: These attacks by the Turkish army must stop! It is an achievement of the construction of the self-governing Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria that girls have access to education. The targeted promotion and equal rights of women and girls is a ray of hope in an area marked by war, which was fought for by women themselves. These achievements must be protected.

We demand: The airspace over northern and eastern Syria must be closed! Turkish drones must be deprived of the right to carry out these attacks! Turkey must be held accountable for its human rights violations! All people, and especially children, have a right to live in peace."

The first signatories are Auguste Mädchen- und Frauentreff Berlin - ALBATROS gGmbH, Verein FeM Mädchen*haus Frankfurt - Feministische Mädchenarbeit e.V., Schilleria Mädchen*treff Berlin, Mädchenhaus Hannover e.V. and staff of Frauenhaus Celle e.V.