Kurds living in Switzerland held a demonstration on Wednesday against a Turkish drone strike killing and wounding several politicians and civilians in Qamishli (Qamişlo), a Syrian Kurdish city on the Turkish border.
The 20 June attack killed Qamishli’s top official Yusra Derwêş, co-chair of the canton, her deputy Lîman Şiwêş, and her driver Firat Tûma. Derwêş’s co-chair Gabî Şemûn was wounded in the same attack.
Democratic Kurdish Council of Switzerland (CDK-S) and the Swiss Kurdish Women’s Union (YJK-S) held several demonstrations in Lausanne, Basel, Geneva, Solothurn and Winterthur in protest.
At Wednesday’s demonstrations, CDK-Geneva Co-chair Mehmet Latif Çelebi condemned the attack, which he believes was aimed to help “revive” the jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).
The United Nations and the US-led international coalition against ISIS bear responsibility for any potential massacres that Turkey’s actions may cause, Çelebi said, and called for a UN intervention.
CDK-Winterthur Co-chair İsmail Kaya said it was important to support the “women’s revolution in Rojava”, referring to the female Kurdish fighters who were crucial in the victory against ISIS in northern Syria, which Kurds call Rojava or West Kurdistan.
The repeated drone strikes aim to eliminate the paradigm of co-existence in the region under Kurdish control, Winterthur Democratic Kurdish Community Centre Co-chair Yelda Mayer said. Turkish armed forces have engaged in “assimilation and genocide” in the northern Syrian cities they control, including Afrin (Efrîn), Tell Abyad (Girê Spi) and Ras al Ayn (Serêkaniyê), and aim to eradicate Kurdish culture and values, she added.
In Syria, representatives from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and various Kurdish organisations including Kongra Star and Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) attended the funeral ceremony held in Amuda (Amûdê) on Wednesday.
“Enough is enough, this silence makes you an accomplice to these massacres,” co-chair of the autonomous administration in Jazira (Cizre), Telet Yûnis, said at the ceremony, addressing the international community. “The people of the region have paid a heavy price for world peace and security. You should be morally responsible for the Autonomous Administration project and do your part to fulfil the expectations of the Syrian people.”
Assyrian Unity Party Co-chair Senherib Bersûm said the Yazidi and Alawite communities in the region “live in unity, our blood has become one”.
The minority religious communities have built themselves up and are loyal to their “martyrs”, Bersûm said. “We have the right, and the will.”
At the same time, Tuma’s funeral was held in Qamishli, at the Chaldean church of Mar Yaqub.
Qamishli autonomous administration council co-chair Vivian Beho Osê, at a wake at Tuma’s grave site, said attacks on the region “have been on the rise, particularly since the Autonomous Administration announced they would put ISIS members on trial”.
“This case will reveal the hidden hands that aid this organisation. There are local and international parties that do not want the conflict to end. But we will resolve this,” she added.
Osê called for a ceasefire in north and east Syria, and said the autonomous administration was prepared to fulfil their responsibility.
The AANES has also called for a ceasefire and called on the United States and Russia, the two guarantors of the 2019 ceasefire agreement, to take immediate action against Turkey’s aggression. The Kurdish-led administration believes ISIS trials are of the utmost importance, and the hidden support for the extremist group must be uncovered.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Turkey’s second largest opposition bloc, believes the continued drone strikes have been deliberately targeting Kurdish politicians and “the will of the people of Rojava”.
The US State Department has also called for de-escalation in the region following the strike.