Guerrilla doctor: “NATO is using chemical weapons against Kurds through Turkey”

"NATO is using chemical weapons against the Kurdish movement through Turkey," says guerrilla doctor Serbilind Dersim, calling for on-the-ground investigation of war crimes in Kurdistan.

The Turkish army's invasion of the guerrilla areas in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq), launched two weeks ago, continues with unabated intensity. The army is attacking from the air and on the ground with the most modern weapons technology and is using chemical warfare agents against the guerrillas. Serbilind Dersim has been a guerrilla doctor for many years and spoke to ANF about the invasion and the war crimes committed by the Turkish army.

Dersim remarked that the AKP/MHP government makes its existence dependent on the genocide of the Kurdish people. The guerrilla doctor recalled the occupation operation that was launched on April 23 last year. When the operation stalled due to guerrilla resistance, he noted, the army resorted to methods that are considered war crimes worldwide, using banned chemical weapons.

The fighters in the "war tunnels" - as the guerrillas call their underground defenses - also caused the chemical weapons attacks to fail over time: "At this point, it must be said that the enemy initially achieved certain results with them. In the later period, our friends strengthened their protective measures and thus prevented further results. For this reason, the Turkish state had to withdraw."

This spring, Turkey again attacked the Medya Defense Zones, Dersim continued: "The Turkish state is using every conceivable weapons technology. With dozens of fighter jets, helicopters and howitzers, continuous bombardment is taking place. Drones are deployed 24 hours a day. However, the restructured guerrillas were prepared and have welcomed the enemy with new tactics that have left them in a state of shock. The army has suffered 200 casualties in a short period of time. As a result, the Turkish state realized that it was not going to get anywhere this way and used chemical agents again."

Dersim said that the guerrillas have gained experience in the past year and know how to protect themselves. He pointed to the Geneva Conventions and the ban on chemical weapons, saying, "There is an organization that is supposed to ensure the implementation of this ban. Nevertheless, the hegemonic powers have continued to use chemical weapons all the time. Today, the Turkish state is also using chemical weapons against us again, but it won't win the war through that. Last year was not the first time that the Kurds were attacked with chemical weapons. The British used chemical weapons against Şêx Mahmut Berzenci in 1920, the Turks in Dersim in 1937/1938, Saddam in Halabja in 1988. Chemical weapons have been used against our movement repeatedly since the 1990s."

According to the guerrilla doctor, chemical weapons are all weapons that, unlike conventional weapons, have a chemical effect on humans and animals. He added that the effects are not only lethal, but also temporary, such as paralysis, fainting, deafness and impaired vision. "Pepper gas is also a chemical weapon and banned in the military sector. The Turkish army has CS grenades, which violate international agreements. Pepper gas is used very massively in the war tunnels, in closed areas. This leads to health problems in the long term and can even have fatal effects. Therefore, we cannot overlook it. For example, there are always deaths in cities in winter from gas ovens, that is, from carbon monoxide intoxication. This is not a chemical weapon, but if you encapsulate carbon monoxide and turn it into a weapon to kill people, then it is a chemical weapon. The same is true of pepper gas used with large mortar shells against guerrillas.

Last year, the globally outlawed agent Green Cross was also used. We have recordings and evidence of all of this. We call on the international community to act against Turkey. Today, NATO blames Russia for the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, but the use against Kurds and especially against our movement is ignored. This is hypocritical. NATO is using chemical weapons against the Kurdish movement through Turkey."

Last year, various delegations came to Southern Kurdistan to investigate the chemical weapons allegations. This was prevented by the KDP, said Dersim and continued: "Today we repeat our call upon international organizations to investigate the use of chemical weapons by Turkey in Kurdistan. This also applies to civil society institutions, doctors, in other words, to all those who deal with such cases. They should investigate the use of chemical weapons on the ground and ensure at the international level that the Turkish state is stopped.

The fascist AKP/MHP government is stagnating and wants to achieve military success before the 2023 election. However, the Kurdistan Freedom Guerrilla is not giving the Turkish military a moment's peace. The army is being dealt one blow after another. It should be clear to everyone that the PKK is an invincible movement."