Women living in Syria continue to react to the assassination of two female AANES officials.
Hind Latif al-Khadir and Sa’da Faysal al-Hermas, two young female politicians and elected representatives of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), were abducted by force on Friday night, and then murdered and beheaded. Their bodies were found on Saturday morning. ISIS claimed responsibility for the assassination one day later.
Women living in Manbij (Minbic) shared their reactions to the murders with the Hawar News Agency.
What is the importance of Manbij?
Manbij is the second largest town in the northern province of Aleppo, situated close to the Turkish border, and sits on the main road linking the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa to Turkey.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Manbij from ISIS in 2016, extending the boundaries of the then de facto autonomous democratic administration of Northern Syria, also known as Rojava, across the west bank of the Euphrates River.
When the SDF forces retook Manbij from ISIS, the local population greeted the fighters as liberators from ISIS oppression. Colourful photos of women in Manbij were shared by the international press as many women celebrated the liberation of the city, removing their black hijabs and smoking cigarettes in a sign of defiance.
In 2019, Turkish forces entered Manbij following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pledge to push on with a plan to drive the SDF away from Turkey’s Syrian border area.
‘Turkey supports ISIS to take their revenge on women’
Rabia Bekro from Manbij said that ISIS continues to organise and to activate its cells in order to target activist women in the region. “There is a special war conducted in North and East Syria, where women are targeted with the dirtiest tactics. The invaders used the local jihadist gangs in order to realise their plan to divide Syria, and Turkey ranks at the top of the list of countries to have applied this policy. Turkey supports ISIS in order to take their revenge on the women, who destroyed ISIS”, she said.
Another Manbij resident is Zehida Ishaq, who condemns the murder of two female politicians. “This attack has been recorded as a crime against humanity, but women will not give up the fight despite all these attacks”, she said. “Actually, the perseverance of women increases after each attack”.
Xada El Hemîd appealed for the international community to put pressure on Turkey. “The international public should not remain silent in the face of Turkey’s crimes”, she said. “There is a moral obligation to stop crimes against women”.