YPJ General Commander Newroz Ehmed said, "We are entering 2021 with more political and military strength, with a strong determination and will."
YPJ (Women’s Defense Units) General Commander Newroz Ehmed made evaluations to ANF regarding the military, political and social developments in Northern and Eastern Syria in 2020, as well as the struggle of the YPJ and the plans for 2021.
"The desire of our people is to live on their land with free will as soon as possible. Of course, the next year is an important year in terms of struggle. Our hope is to achieve success," Ehmed said.
As the YPJ, you have made a great impact on the women's struggle around the world, especially in the resistance against ISIS. There has been intense follow-up and interest from women's organizations around the world. Has this interest and contact related to the struggle continued in 2020? If so, at what level did it develop?
When we look at every part of the world, the ruling system increases day by day the destruction, massacre and deprivation of women even though it is not felt that much in the regions we live in, since the 21st century was organized as the century of women. Today, we can see more women express themselves in many areas. For this reason the attacks increase, of course. Therefore, we can see this awareness and development in many parts of the world. We had some plans to reach women who are struggling and resisting, organized or wanted to organize in the world. This situation has developed further during our war against ISIS. Again, our activities in this direction continued. Participation of women from many parts of the world and other nations still continues. They take their place in the YPJ ranks. There is a great interest in this matter. We can say this as a created cause and effect.
This year we had a plan to reach these circles. However, the developing invasion attacks, threats to the region and diseases in the world also prevented us from developing these works. In other words, there were obstacles to reaching everywhere. Those who wanted to come to our region could not come due to the reasons we mentioned. Of course, this posed a big obstacle. But we were able to reach all continents of the world through message and technique. Of course, this is not at the desired level and we need to carry out a stronger work on this issue. Because it is one of the important pillars of our revolution and it concerns our Rojava revolution.
The development of a democratic and emancipatory revolution is necessary for the whole world. It is one of the main areas of duty and responsibility and a work that we need to focus on more. There are also expectations in this direction and too many demands are developing. Many organizations around the world also express this. In many places, when women organized themselves and joined the struggle for their freedom and equality, to defend their nation, they revealed a great power. For this reason, we can achieve better results by maintaining more organization and unity. We also believe in this and have expectations in this direction. We will continue our work on these issues.
A report about the participation of young girls has appeared in different media outlets recently. As a YPJ commander, what are your comments on this news?
We can comment on these on several aspects. First of all, the migrations experienced after the invasion attacks on our region caused great damage to the society with the consequences of the war that has been going on for years. Women in particular suffer a great deal of damage due to economic difficulties and poverty, disruptions in education due to the limited opportunities, and the emergence of the threat of denial and destruction. Young women are the ones who suffer the most. Of course, we have a struggle to protect young women who are subjected to many practices and cannot defend themselves because of their young age. Not only the YPJ, other women's movements and organizations are also fighting against this.
Through the struggle against such practices and abuse, young women are also participating in the YPJ ranks in order to protect and express themselves more. We can explain one aspect like that. Of course there are demands. But as YPJ, we have determination. Young women can be exposed to many abuses at an early age. But this is not a reason for us to bring them to the YPJ ranks because they are still young and need to know themselves and develop their level of consciousness. They have different needs. Therefore, we are also in contact with women's organizations. We have also established special centers for consultation. We carried out a special work in order to refer such requests to the concerned sections. As it is known, special schools and academies were opened for young women to raise awareness in many areas. In other words, we direct those who apply to join the YPJ ranks at an early age to women's organizations and education ministries in order to meet their current needs.
What is the purpose of disseminating such news?
We can consider it as a part of the attacks against women. It is also seen with the attacks developed, especially with the attacks of the occupying Turkish state, that the consequences of the YPJ and women's organizational activities here are not tolerated. They try to attack us in order to portray the YPJ as a terrorist organization in the world. A special war is waged on the society on this issue. Many families have been informed about such misinformation, which was led by the Turkish state and was a part of the special war. They put pressure on our people by molding a public opinion on this issue. But our people are conscious and aware of this issue. And more sensitive approaches are required in these matters.
We have revealed to many international institutions and organizations our will and decision that we do not allow underage recruitment in the YPJ ranks. Nobody put pressure on us to make such a decision. We made this decision by our own will because we consider it a necessity and a need. They do not have to come at a young age and fight an armed struggle, on the contrary, they can struggle for this in different fields. We support this and we will continue our struggle to this end. Still, we also ask our people to be sensitive about this issue.
What are your plans and goals for 2021?
Of course, we are going through an important process. The year 2020 has produced very sad results for our people. Our people were subjected to forced migration. They left their houses and lands. They had to live as nomads on their own lands. This is a very painful reality. This is also happening in Afrin, Tal Abyad, Serêkaniyê and again in the areas where attacks are taking place. Attacks and threats are still increasing in all areas.
We left 2020 behind, but our struggle continues. 2021 is an important year for our struggle. We revealed the results in our evaluation of the year 2020. On this basis, we are ready for 2021 with more strength, strong determination and will, both in political and military terms. We also see the consciousness, organization and demands of our society. In this respect, our duty is to liberate the occupied areas and ensure that our people return to their own lands and live freely. In addition, it is our most basic and primary duty as the YPJ to defend these lands and our people against the ongoing attacks. In this respect, the goal is to be prepared in every sense for the next year and to respond to developments. We have completed our preparations to an important level. We will focus on completing the missing parts.
With regard to the autonomous administration, it is our aim to protect the experiences and gains that have emerged in the political, social sphere and especially in terms of women in these lands. The solution model that emerged with the Rojava revolution is a solution model for the Middle East, primarily for Syria because these are the areas where the conflicts and wars are experienced the most. In this respect, let's make this an exemplary model all over the world by further strengthening and defending it. Of course, we state that it must develop under the leadership of women and youth. For this reason, we must make our existing system known to the whole world and strengthen it. We see that our hope is great both in terms of the achievements of 2020 and in terms of 2021. The more intense the attacks, the more consciousness and social organization increases. Increasing attacks have made us stronger.
Under the leadership of women and young people, we can say that women of the whole world should achieve success by raising this struggle more. This year, we must make this revolution known all over the world by securing freedom for Leader Apo, the Kurdish people and the whole region. We will fight for this. We will fulfill all our responsibilities in order to be worthy of our martyrs who gave their lives for all our values. We remember them with gratitude.