‘What I Saw In Kobanê’


Firat Jacob Tas and Nazê, a Kurdish YPJ fighter in Kobanê

Recently, my friend and fellow Kurdish rights activist Firat Jacob Tas came home from a trip to Kobanê in Rojava (northern Syria) that has been the battleground for intense fighting between Kurdish armed forces YPG/YPJ and the Islamic State (IS) for almost 118 days. I found out when I saw a picture on Facebook of him wearing a helmet standing close to a smiling Kurdish female fighter. I asked him to describe what he saw during the time in Kobanê and he told me this:

“I travelled to Kobanê as a producer for a Danish TV-station with a Danish journalist and a photographer. We left Copenhagen on December 12 and arrived later in Suruc.”

“It was a challenge having to cross the border from Turkey into Syria. We were with a group of 15 young Kurds and a guy from the U.S. who wanted to join the Kurdish forces fighting IS. We walked in the dark of the night through mud and trees until we reached the first barbed wire fence. We then ran 30 meters until we made it to the second fence. We fell into a ditch with a depth of around 3 meters. As we tried to get out, I could feel the intense fear of being shot by the Turkish army patrolling in the area. But we made it safely into Kobanê.”

“Arriving in Kobanê, I saw a town in ruins. I saw a civilisation that had come to a halt. Civilians were passing by and I could see terror in their eyes. Yet at the same time I could sense the will and courage to fight IS.”

“I saw a proud people; fighting against the enemies of women; the enemies of religion and democratic values. It left a deep impact on me to witness the Kurdish fighters sacrificing everything to fight a common enemy.”

“I met the YPG women who explained to me their reasons for joining the struggle against IS and defending Kobanê. These impressive women said they had given up everything to fight for their survival as soon as IS grew as a threat.”

“Several civilian families invited us to come into their homes and have a cup of tea despite not having anything. We were also asked to join them for dinner but we declined; they were having enough trouble feeding their family of more than 10 people.”

“An elderly Kurdish woman, a grandmother, wanted to make it very clear to me why she had chosen not to leave Kobanê. It was her town; her land. She stayed to support the movement [the Kurdish resistance] regardless of the consequences.”

"The result of crossing the Turkish-Syrian border illegally"

In Kobanê. By Firat Jacob Tas.

In Kobanê. By Firat Jacob Tas.


In Kobanê. By Firat Jacob Tas.