Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center: from ISIS training school to cultural venue

Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center, which was turned into a center where mercenaries received ideological education during the occupation of ISIS, was turned into a culture, art and music school after the liberation of the district.

Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center was opened in Sirin, 35 km south of Kobanê, in the 90s. Restored by the Baathist regime in the 2000s, the center was officially opened in 2008.

After the center was occupied by the brutal organizations that emerged with the start of the Syrian crisis, all the materials in it were stolen. The center was later turned into a place where ISIS mercenaries received ideological education under the name of Islam.

Before the occupation by ISIS mercenaries, there were more than a thousand books in the Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center. The mercenaries burned many of them.

There was also an unopened internet room with 10 laptops. All the laptops were stolen. The small movie theatre for children was demolished. The Baath regime had put up just a sewing room for women, a way to get people near to it.

After the SDF liberated Sirin from ISIS mercenaries, the city was handed over to the people of the region and stability was achieved.

Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center was then transformed into a center where citizens are taught arts such as music, folkloric dances and theatre.

The Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen peoples of the region manage the center and there are more than 40 Kurdish and Arab employees.

The Euphrates Region Culture and Art Committee continues its efforts to improve the activities of the Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center. The most recent event was the 40-day theater training session opened by the committee for the members of the center at the Baqî Xido Culture and Art Center in Kobanê. The trained members then gave theater lessons to the group of 20 people.

Martyr Xabur Culture and Art Center management member and teacher Şêx Nebi Hebeş told ANHA: “We are trying to develop the center with all our means. After the town was liberated from terrorism, we tried to regain the spirit of the centre.”

Like theatre, music also plays an important role and the emphasis is on children.

Music Teacher Şikri Henifê said: “In my childhood, I saw a lot of difficulties in the field of music. I urge the people of the region to send their children to the center. Because this is a golden opportunity for them. Music is a bridge in transferring cultures from one another.”

Student Aye Ferc said: “I come here from the village of Boxaz to learn music. I want to learn to play an instrument. I want all children to come to the center like me. The teachers at the center take very good care of us.”

Xabur Çiya (Nidal Behadin) fell as a martyr in the attack carried out by ISIS mercenaries on Girê Sêfê, 27 km south of Kobanê, on 4 May 2014.