Hesen Koçer, deputy co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), reacted angrily to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s closing of the Sêmalka border crossing between Iraqi Kurdistan and northeast Syria. Koçer said the decision to close the border crossing is political and serves the goals of Turkey, and he stressed that the aim of the closure is to break the resistance of families calling for the bodies of their loved ones.
For 83 days families of People’s Defence Forces (HPG) fighters killed in a KDP ambush have been taking action, demanding that the bodies of their family members be handed over to them.
The families marched to the Sêmalka border crossing where they held a permanent vigil . However, the Iraqi side of the Sêmalka border crossing between Syria and Iraq was closed by KDP forces with massive metal blocks at Faysh Khabur (Pêşxabur) on 16 December, and to date the KDP have not handed the bodies of the fighters over to the families.
The AANES official spoke to ANF about the KDP’s position and the closing of the border crossing.
“All over the world, border crossings are a humanitarian issue. This is not a situation where there can be retaliation. Border crossings cannot be used for commercial purposes and to threaten the people. This approach of the KDP is not acceptable,” he said.
According to Koçer, the KDP’s closing of the border crossing is blackmail of the people demanding the bodies of their family members.
Koçer pointed out that the Damascus government also closed border crossings on the day that the KDP closed the Sêmalka crossing: “On the same day, the regime closed the Manbij and Tabqa crossings. The aim here is to break the will of the people of northeast Syria by cutting them off. They think that the more they tighten the embargo, the more they will unsettle the people of northeast Syria.”
“You’re closing doors when you’re supposed to support people who carried out a revolution. You are practising the policies of the Turkish state. The Turkish state likes what the KDP does the most, it works for it. Anyway, the Turkish state is implementing the same policy. In this way, they want to break the will of the people of northeast Syria.”