On 12 October 2019, Hevrîn Khalaf and her driver were killed by Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya mercenaries near the M4 Motorway as part of the Turkish military invasion «Operation Spring Peace»
“Like we resisted terrorism, like we resisted tyranny, like we resisted oppression, we will resist occupation.” Hevrîn Khalaf
“I would recognise it out of 5,000 voices…When I heard her voice, I saw the brutality of the world, and that there is no humanity in this world.” Hevrîn Khalaf’s mother, Souad Mohammed
Outrage that now lingers long after the bloody, inhumane, tormented deed was done.
Outrage that dissolves like a mirage through years of the countless (at least 500,000) other dead bodies in the Syrian conflict – now almost the Syrian Cold War, where the grim reapers of international politics pick the bones of decaying states to feed their hunger for power and resources and fatten the elites that benefit from them – take note – not their people, not humanity in general, no longer, not any more. (Are you listening, Turkey, Russia, Iran, United States? Are you listening Mr. Assad and Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump and all you other, perilously demented, grim reapers, shaping life as we understand it now in this 21st century of the Western Eclipse?)
Outage… also, that surrounds Turkey’s paranoid and scheming incursion (x 3) into a region of Syria that has managed, despite all, and still continues to struggle to provide a peaceful haven for its people away from the politics of the extremists of all sorts… and in doing so is working to shape a democratic revolution that, instead of being both abandoned and attacked, should instead be thanked for providing an example for a world in serious crisis (if not actual catastrophe)… now that the chickens are coming home to roost.
Instead… we have the might of NATO’s second biggest and most well equipped military force waging a ruthless war against a local people while their so-called partners in this North Atlantic Treaty Alliance not only ignore this illegal operation but, like the USA of Mr. Trump, right now tacitly and ‘secretly’ support it; more likely because there is more to be gained from locating a Trump Towers in Istanbul (and the endless other half-crooked deals) than from a few million Kurds or Yazidis or Arabs who actually have values and principles along with a vision for humanity, unlike the Trumps in our outrageously unjust world.
Outrage, and more outrage, on more than one level of this social formation we inhabit, powerless apparently at this moment in history, to change…
On 12 October 2019, Hevrîn Khalaf and her driver were killed by Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya mercenaries near the M4 Motorway as part of the Turkish military invasion “Operation Spring Peace”.
Not alone was a democratic politician like Hevrîn Khalaf forcibly stopped on a highway in her own country, in the course of her own political business (certainly working to restore some integrity and credibility to a world political system more synonymous with corruption) by a gang of well armed thugs (“they are little more than mercenaries for Turkey, bandits, and sadists” – about 70,000 of which in 41 factions comprise Turkey’s latest smokescreen for carnage and plunder under the fatuous title: The Syrian National Army) armed, resourced, paid and sent across the Turkish border to butcher anyone – in their total lack of any so-called political or military vision, other than murder – they happened to come upon. “Increasingly these groups were more extremist and Islamist and Turkey never bothered to turn them into an effective fighting unit, preferring them as menacing cannon fodder to be used for looting and destruction to inflict fear into civilians.” (Seth Frantzman) “Criminal jihadis”, Ahed Al Hendi, the Syrian dissident calls them, confronted with the death of his friend Hevrîn Khalaf.
More outrageous then, to film the event on phones obviously paid for out of the wages their master Turkey pays them for their blood lust, hatred for humanity (or at least Kurds, Christians, Yazidis and other “infidels” occupying the Middle East) and ability to terrorise innocent people; all of which ably supported by the heavy artillery, technology, killer drones and fighter jets that the western allies provide willingly to this rogue nation, Turkey, who, by the way, spends as much time attacking its own people as its many perceived enemies abroad…
Between 5.30am and 7.30am on the 12 October…
Between 5.30am and 7.30am on the 12 October, just after the sun rose, and just days after Mr. Trump’s phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Turkish President and Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan resulted in the withdrawal of US troops from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (Rojava),… Hevrîn Khalaf’s car was violently stopped on the Northern Syrian M4 motorway by Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya fighters during the opening stage of Turkey’s military invasion “Operation Peace Spring” against the Syrian Democratic Forces in Rojava.
She was to be one of at least 9 civilians stopped and brutally murdered at the Tirwaziya Checkpoint that day for no other reason than being Kurdish, “infidel” or in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All of which, of course, must stand in for military and political policy from Turkey’s latest creation to excuse its illegal activities in places it does not belong – the so-called Syrian National Army. Words, of course, having little meaning any more, living, as so many of us are forced to do, in a state of perpetual war. So Syrian these mercenaries may be, national and army – (the Kurds, it seems, prefer to call them “gangs”) – what a joke. Less of a joke is the Turkish AK Party’s decision to set these and another 70 thousand armed gangsters loose on a peaceful part of Syria as support for its increasingly belligerent attempt to keep itself in power and remind the decent ordinary citizens of Turkey –
…of whom, let us not forget, Nazim Hikmet wrote so beautifully in 1955, in this, his ‘Last Letter to my Son’ after his long 1,648 km journey from Tbilisi to Moscow: “Memet / our Turkey / is one sweet / country. / And its people, / Its real people / are hardworking, serious, and brave / but frightfully poor. / Its people are long suffering. / But it will turn out good…”
– to remind these hardworking serious and brave people of an empire long passed. And what empire has not buried itself in human bones in the mud of history, well watered with the blood of innocent civilians? To see one try and reinvent itself similarly can only be described as the blasphemy it is.
Strong words? No doubt but reflect on the violent video surrounding the death of this Secretary General of the Future Syria Party and you may realize that there is little room left for any other form of discourse – as long as it serves humanity’s goal of becoming more human – by standing up to these pathetic bullies and ‘madmen’ who are unfortunately backed by the most powerful regimes in our world today with their money, their weapons of destruction and worse still, their authoritarian and anti-democratic agendas.
Many activists at the time shared the footage recorded at this mercenary checkpoint on the M4 motorway close to the Syrian border with Turkey, giving the world a picture of the ‘true’ nature of Turkish foreign policy when they visit neighbouring countries uninvited. Not that the world appears particularly interested. Nor capable of adequately responding.
The BBC video, Death of a peacemaker, recently re-released with commentary, shows the mercenaries approach a car whose tires they have shot out at the checkpoint…
Having approached Hevrîn Khalaf’s car we hear one of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya killers saying “Here’s another runaway pig who was eliminated by the Syrian National Army,” while being video-recorded by one his colleagues. The BBC point out that Hevrîn Khalaf was still alive at this point “and was able to identify herself to her attackers”, her voice being faintly heard coming from the car.
Later the BBC played this painful footage to Hevrîn Khalaf’s mother Souad Mohammed, who confirmed that the female voice from the car belonged to her daughter.
“I would recognise it out of 5,000 voices,” she said. “When I heard her voice, I saw the brutality of the world, and that there is no humanity in this world.”
These paid Turkish mercenaries then proceeded to brutalise the still-alive politician, dragging her by her hair from the car before breaking her legs, stabbing her and finally shooting her a number of times both in the body and in her head…
And one still in urgent need of a response…
What we did not see in the videos posted, but what the post-mortem examination showed later was that after being dragged from the car by her hair:
“The woman was beaten with a solid body [object] on the head … and on the bottom of the left leg, which led to the fractures of the two bones of the leg, and also beating by sharp objects on the posterior face of the legs, and dragged from her hair causing the hair to take off … with the skin from the back of the head.
“Then she was hit by gunshot … in the head from the right front of the body at close range … After falling to the ground, she was hit by four shots from the back and exited the abdomen at not close range”.
The eventual cause of death, as outlined in the autopsy report by Dr. Tayceer al-Makdesi was “severe cerebral haemorrhage following gunshot wounds to the head”.
Hevrîn Khalaf worked to unite Syrians and Kurds and other ethnic groups
“I was very concerned that Assad would have her killed, but she always reassured me that a woman with her calm and musical voice could subdue any would-be murderer.” Ahed Al Hendi, the Syrian dissident sadly wrote of his dead friend…
Hevrîn Khalaf worked to unite Syrians and Kurds and the other ethnic groups in a region “highly diverse in both population groups and religions” with a view to a future democratic Syria. She opposed the Turkish invasions and illegal occupation of Syria.
Nothing that deserved such a horrific and inhumane death at the hands of paid mercenaries.
“She would wake up at 5 in the morning and would not stop working until midnight, whether that involved traveling to the Deir Ezzor region, which was recently liberated from the Islamic State, to tutor children and teenagers there in math, or meeting with Arab tribal leaders and helping resolve their many disputes in her role as the secretary-general of the Future Syria Party (FSP). She personified the way the FSP and the Syrian Democratic Council approached the many differences among the people of the region.” Ahed Al Hendi writes.
While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has remained silent on the murder the pro-government Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, described Khalaf’s killing as a “successful operation”. (Sydney Morning Herald, October 17, 2019)
A Politics of Hatred
Where does this hatred come from, of Jews, of Kurds, of Armenians… and what response can we articulate to confront and address it? A hatred and fear of anyone who happens to be different from you? And in Turkey, alongside the neighbouring countries like the Syria of the al-Assads or the current clerical regime in Iran it is the Kurds who live under these artificial state boundaries that this venom has too often been directed at. The result of which leaving those of us with a commitment to a democratic future almost helpless when we witness the violent death of a person like Hevrîn Khalaf and the loss of the opportunities she wanted to bring to a region such as Syria…
So it is, right now, we can only remember. Remember… lest we forget…
The group named as being responsible, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, a part of the so-called Syrian National Army, initially told the BBC “it is not responsible for the politician’s death.” Apparently, they later accepted responsibility:
“Ahrar al-Sharqiya responded to the BBC’s investigation, stating that “The group that set up the checkpoint on the M4 that day did so without permission… Those who violated orders from leadership have been sent for trial..” (Wikipedia)
The Turkish government, which organizes, resources, funds and lets loose these killers under the name of the ‘Syrian National Army’, has not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.
Another outrage. Though not unexpected. Whether it is the senseless murder of a single person or the other hundreds of thousands of killings that go on endlessly in these blind wars engineered and perpetrated by even blinder politicians.
Suad Mohammed, Hevrîn Khalaf’s mother said:
“If this world believes in basic human rights, they should help me to bring those who killed my daughter… to justice and I will not give up on asking about her rights until the rest of my life”
Having seen the footage, U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville pointed out that summary executions may amount to war crimes:
“Turkey could be deemed responsible as a state for violations by their affiliated groups as long as Turkey exercises effective control of these groups or the operations in the course of which those violations occurred.
“We urge Turkish authorities immediately to launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation and to apprehend those responsible, some of whom should be easily identifiable from the video footage they themselves shared on social media,” he said.
And Hevrîn Khalaf’s mother, Souad Mohammed, in her grief:
“My daughter Hevrîn was not a fighter. Rather, she was engaged in politics which is a right guaranteed by human rights. If you are fair. My daughter was working with The Future Party which guarantees the brotherhood of peoples. It unites the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Christians. They arrested my daughter Hevrîn and killed her with this brutality. I won’t give up her right and I will let this scream reach to every human rights defender. If this world guarantees human rights it will meet my invitation to claim the right of my daughter. They will help me regain her rights by revealing the brutal practice conducted against my daughter. I won’t give up on her right to the end.”
Since then, October 12, 2019? Silence… one more outrage disappearing in among the countless others while business goes on.
Business as usual…
in the severity of the days of retribution
I see nothing but killers
this brotherhood of killers
that bends the bow
the target hurled
into the crime”
Abdellatif Laabi, himself a survivor of violence and torture wrote in “Glory to those who torture us”, from “The Rule of Barbarism”.
In the end… Ahed Al Hendi writes: “The killing of Khalaf is a turning point in Syria’s modern history. It once again demonstrated the old Kurdish proverb “no friends but the mountains.” I will always be a friend of Khalaf and her vision of a better world. But that vision seems unlikely to arrive in Syria anytime soon.”
…Oh, and, until then, until we can do something about it, remember!
Remember: lest we forget.
Hevrîn Khalaf: Death of a peacemaker – BBC News
Video Sheds Light On Syria Executions
Funeral held for Kurdish politician purportedly killed by Turkey-backed fighters in Syria
The funeral was held on Sunday October 13th, in the Syrian city of Dayrik, situated in northeastern Syria in Hasaka Governorate, for the nine people who were killed Saturday on a road in Hasaka city, south of the town of Tel Abyad. Among the dead was Hevrîn Khalaf, secretary-general of the Future Syria Party.
They mutilated my daughter’s body – North Press Agency’s interview with Souad Mohammed, Hevrîn Khalaf’s mother.
Autopsy: the Kurdish activist Hevrîn Khalaf shot at head by a barrage of bullets
Who is the Kurdish political leader Hevrîn Khalaf?
“‘In a short period of time, despite her young experience in the political field, Hevrîn has been able to achieve great developments in Syria. She managed to become a Syrian national icon.’ Hamzawi believes that targeting Khalaf is the same as targeting unity, hope, freedom and democracy.” (Jalaa Hamzawi, head of the public relations office of the Future Syria Party.)