By The Dawn News / March 23, 2018
Organizations and movements across the world have declared March 24, the International Day of Solidarity with Afrin in response to the dire situation in Afrin after over two months of attacks from the Turkish State and their allies. On Sunday Turkey announced the complete occupation of Afrin by the Turkish backed Free Syrian Army. Kurdish organizations have reported that the brutal attacks have left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced and have vowed to launch guerrilla warfare against the Turkish State and their allies. In response to this humanitarian crisis they have made an urgent call for international solidarity. The last week also saw the death of two revolutionary internationalists who worked with the Kurdish movement in different capacities.
March 24 International Day of Solidarity with Afrin
Organizations in diverse cities and countries have pledged to do different actions and mobilizations on March 24 to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people and their organizations who continue resisting on the ground to diverse fascist forces.
The demands at the center of these actions include an immediate implementation of a ceasefire in Afrin and in all of Syria, as well as an immediate retreat of the Turkish Army from Afrin and Syrian territories since their presence is a flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law. Organizations are also calling for the full and inclusive participation of the Kurds of Syria and their organizations in the peace processes lead by the UN for a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
While the Kurdish movements continue to denounce Turkish actions in Afrin, they also are mourning the loss this week of two internationalist comrades, Anna Campbell, known as Hêlîn Qereçox in Kurdistan, and Alina Sánchez, Lêgerîn Çiya.
Anna Campbell was a human rights and environmental activist of British origin and joined the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in May 2017. She was killed on March 15 in a Turkish airstrike while fighting alongside the YPJ in Northern Syria in their struggle to resist the attacks on Afrin.
Following her death, her father commented that “Anna was very idealistic, very serious, very wholehearted and wanted to create a better world. She wasn’t fighting when she died, she was engaged in a defensive action against the Turkish incursion.”
Alina Sánchez was an Argentinian doctor and fervent internationalist. She studied medicine in the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba and after graduating she went to Northern Syria Kurdistan to join the YPJ and work in the medical sector. Following her death the YPJ stated: “Comrade Lêgerîn had been in the ranks of the revolution for several years, and worked in the medical services. She had saved the lives of countless wounded comrades. With great sacrifice, morale and enthusiasm she tended to the medical needs of her comrades.”
Her death also touched many Argentinian organizations who had worked with Alina to build the strong network of solidarity with Kurdistan in Argentina. Renowned feminist Claudia Korol from the organization Pañuelos en Rebeldía remembers Alina and her spirit:
“Alina was a woman with a clear vision, as the song says. She was a healer not only of the wounds of war, but also the wounds of the spirit. Alina was a full time militant, like the Kurdish comrades. Alina was serious and happy. A person full of light and revolutionary humility,” she describes.
“Having known her, and having shared some moments in her life, is enough to make us feel more committed than ever to her dreams, that are ours. Protect and defend the Women’s revolution in Kurdistan. Raise our voices for Afrin. Demand that the Turkish genocide end, as well as the complicit silence of the Governments of Russia, USA, Europe and Latin America.”
Following their deaths the YPJ released a statement mourning the internationalists:
“We as the comrades of Helin, Avaşin (Ivana Hoffman, German internationalist martyred in 2015) and Lêgerîn promise that we will continue on their path of struggle to the end and create a free life. Until we take the path of freedom of these esteemed martyred friends to victory, we will fulfill all duties that befall us in a manner worthy of them. We will make our bodies into shields against the system of tyranny if necessary to bring to reality the dreams of martyred comrades who fought with the philosophy of women’s emancipation. We will increase and continue our struggle to the end against the system that considers the massacre of women to uphold their power a right. We promise once again that we will march on the path of our comrades. “