HPG Commander Sipan Rojhilat: Turkish army cannot fight the guerrilla
HPG commander Sipan Rojhilat spoke in a television interview about the progress of the war against the invading forces in Avaşîn. He describes the tunnel war against the Turkish army as extremely effective and successful.
For over three months, the Turkish army has been trying with all its might to occupy the regions of Metîna, Zap and Avaşîn in the Medya Defense Zones in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). Guerrilla commander Sipan Rojhilat spoke about current developments in the resistance to the invasion in an interview on Stêrk TV.
The Avaşîn region is among the most heavily attacked areas. How have the war and resistance there developed since the beginning of the invasion?
The Turkish state has launched a major invasion operation. This invasion aims to completely occupy the Medya Defense Zones. Avaşîn is a region that has played an important role in previous occupation raids. It is known both for the difficulty of the terrain and for its determination. The guerrillas there faced great hardships even before the invasion. The Zagros Mountains are a very steep area. In the past, fighters in Avaşîn sometimes had to walk for days to carry out an action. After days of walking, they would reach the target, destroy it, and return. This was the guerrillas' tactic. The Turkish state was hit hard again and again, so it is trying to eliminate the guerrillas in these three areas of Medya Defense Zones.
"Resistance of Mamreşo showed how we can break the operation"
At the same time, the Turkish operation in Heftanîn continued, with Xakurke and Gare attacked last. After its heavy defeat in Gare, the Turkish state planned to make up for this disgrace with its attacks on Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna. But the calculation did not work out. The operation has been going on since April 23, for three months. The Turkish state has not achieved any of the results it had hoped for. Why is that? It had not reckoned with the greatness of the guerrilla resistance. However, especially at the beginning of the invasion, there was a certain inexperience on the part of the guerrillas. The guerrillas had little experience of resisting the Turkish state in tunnels, organized in small teams. There were some shortcomings. But at the same time, the resistance in Mamreşo with our seven friends who fell there has become an example. These friends are pioneers for us, their resistance determined the course of the operation. They showed us how to break the operation.
The resistance in the Mamreşo and Şehîd Serdar tunnels gave us the necessary experience to carry out the tunnel war without any shortcomings. The Werxelê and Girê Sor areas are also at war. The enemy has been trying to capture some of our tunnels for months, but they do not succeed. This is also a reality. The enemy is being hit by the guerrillas, we can explain that with examples. The war in Avaşîn has put a spoke in the Turkish state's wheel. The offensives that the guerrillas had carried out against the enemy in previous years are now being carried out in the center of Avaşîn against the Turkish army. How does this happen? For example, when the enemy wants to approach the tunnels, the friends meet him and do not allow him to approach. The enemy lacks the courage to even get near the friends’ tunnels anyway.
"The guerrillas have not retreated even one step"
Again and again, our friends have confirmed, even in the media, that the enemy is behaving in a very cowardly manner. The Turkish state is afraid of the guerrillas. Let me give you an example: the enemy appeared at a place in the Zagros Mountains. Our friends fired one or two shots at about 15 to 20 soldiers from 1000 to 1500 meters away. The soldiers discharged their weapons and ran away. Five minutes later, another group arrived and secretly took these weapons. We are fighting against such an army. The enemy thought they would be able to come here, clean up the region and destroy the guerrillas within a week. But these ideas did not stand up to reality. In all regions of Avaşîn, especially in the Mamreşo, Mervanos and Şehîd Serdar areas, the guerrillas did not give up a single position.
"The army does not have the strength to fight the guerrillas"
The Turkish state boasts on television that it has been to places that no one would have believed would ever be accessible. The Turkish state has not penetrated these areas. It has only sent its technology ahead. So what kind of army are we dealing with? The army that is being talked about does not exist. The operations in Avaşîn have shown that the Turkish soldiers do not have the strength to fight the guerrillas. There are examples of this as well. They wanted to enter the tunnels in Werxelê, the friends turned on their cameras and attacked them. We could hear them. The Turkish soldiers cried, screamed in panic and fled. How can such an army fight like this? You want to enter the tunnels with 150 soldiers and massive equipment, get struck with light weapons and you yell at the top of your lungs. You attack the guerrillas with jets and a wide range of weapons, but the guerrillas don't take a single step back. It is you who are fleeing from the positions and even leaving your weapons behind. Therefore, since the beginning of the operation, resistance has continued in all Avaşîn positions. It is not an ordinary resistance. In Werxelê, it has been going on for 40 days. The soldiers try to approach the tunnels with explosives, TNT or poison gas every day. So far, the friends have not retreated a single step. On the contrary, they strike the occupiers every day.
You spoke about Turkish war technology. What technology is being used?
The Turkish state does not rely on technology alone. For example, it uses dozens of reconnaissance aircraft and fighter jets to protect its own troops. Still, the demoralization of soldiers cannot be stopped. Each unit has a drone, which are in continuous use. And that's not all: the occupiers use dogs for their protection in the field. They also use contras, village guards and mercenaries. The army claims that its soldiers are heroes and that they penetrate guerrilla areas. But the opposite is true: we are dealing with an army that is doing everything it can to protect itself.
"The guerrillas in the tunnels have prepared themselves in every way"
The occupation forces should behave like guerrillas in a guerrilla area. But that doesn't work. At the tunnel sites, for example, they ask the guerrillas to surrender. Who are they supposed to surrender to? Opposite the guerrillas is a cowardly, collapsed army. How can one surrender to such an army? This is the reality. It is a defeated army. They stand up and say, "Come and surrender, we have water." The guerrillas themselves have plenty of water. The fighters inside the tunnels are neither hungry, nor thirsty, nor alone. Food, ammunition and positions have been prepared long in advance. But they have also psychologically adjusted to the situation and planned all methods and tactics.
Let me give you an example. At Tabura Ereban (Arab Battaillon), the Turkish army was attacked with a special weapon. The footage of the action may have appeared on TV. In the video it can be seen that the friends are firing rockets at the Turkish army. One group of soldiers is hit, another flees and a third unit is under fire. The fleeing soldiers do not come to the aid of the others, but run away, like saying "Save yourself, hell with the others." On one day they used poison gas against the tunnels. Some of our friends were caught by the gas. They were rescued by uninjured friends. When someone goes to rescue his companions, he does not strive to save himself, but to help others. All the friends survived in good health because they can also fight chemical weapons. The difference between the two examples is clear. One side leaves his comrade and runs away without looking back. Their companion is left in the fire. Chemical weapons are used against the other side, but the combatants think more about their friend than about themselves. They are ready to sacrifice themselves for their friends.
"Technology of the Turkish state does not work in the tunnels"
What is new about the guerrillas' resistance to this operation?
We have had great experiences in the tunnel war. We believe that if these experiences are put into practice, we will achieve great results in the tunnel war. Because the Turkish state's technology does not work in the tunnels. Chemical weapons are used most often, and as I said, the friends have found a way to combat them. In addition, we have developed methods to break the encirclement by the Turkish army. We did not sit in the tunnels and wait for the Turkish state to arrive. Whatever they did, we created an alternative. They use advanced technology, we fight with creative techniques and methods. This leads to the Turkish state being stuck. If this situation continues a bit more and the guerrillas slowly move to the attack position, the Turkish military's operation will fail completely. This is because as the operation grows, so does the experience of the guerrillas. This is the stage of the war in Avaşîn. Now the Turkish army does not hesitate to use chemical weapons. It is so cowardly that it cannot fight us. So far, not a single one of our friends in Avaşîn has been killed directly by the army. All those who fell were killed by chemical agents or air strikes.
In the past, the Turkish state could reach our positions in two to three days. But now it is already taking more than three months, and maybe it will take even longer. The will of the guerrillas is ironclad and that is how the guerrillas are fighting.
Is there a danger that the Turkish state will expand this operation and invade another place?
Our movement has repeatedly stated that South Kurdistan is the target of the Turkish state. This means that the Turkish state will extend the operation. Erdoğan is using this war for his own profit. This is known to everyone. He is trying to make political profit from it in order to present himself as successful and make profit for the elections. Even though the Turkish state's operations are being expanded everywhere, the guerrillas' preparations are complete. The guerrillas are ready for the counteroffensive. All our forces are ready not only to resist the operation but also to launch their own operations. All our positions are ready to fight. The resistance so far, especially the Zendûra resistance, has been a good example and we welcome it wholeheartedly. The determination and resistance there have shown us that it is possible to fight hard for months.
"Chemical attacks have increased"
The Turkish state is trying to prove itself on all fronts, but this is how it tires and weakens its own army. Since April 23, troops have been airdropped in the areas and chemical weapons have been used. The jets bomb the war tunnels every day. Avaşîn, Zap, Çemço, Metîna and other areas are bombed by warplanes. The soldiers attack more frequently than the air force. However, they are not effective. What do they want to achieve in places with B7 rocket launchers when heavy artillery has already been unsuccessful? It really doesn't accomplish anything. Chemical weapons attacks have increased. As I said, we had no experience with chemical weapons at the beginning, now we are slowly gaining experience. Even if they come to other areas, based on the experience gained, any further operations by the Turkish state will be crushed.
"Guerrillas are capable of launching counter-operations"
The guerrillas can also launch counter-operations at the same time according to their capabilities. We can hit the enemy from many sides. The Turkish state is using all its energy to fight this war. If we look at the traffic of Sikorsky transport helicopters, we see that they are on the move 24 hours a day. If there are 50 or 60 soldiers on a hill, sometimes the Sikorsky comes seven or eight times a night. I think these Sikorsky helicopters are for food supply. The soldiers in this area are demoralized. They are not able to resist.
"Avaşîn invasion is already a fiasco"
In my opinion, the invasion operation in Avaşîn is already a fiasco. If they want to take further steps in the future, they can only do it with forbidden war techniques. Why? They are not able to bring their soldiers into the war tunnels and let them fight there. Maybe they use chemical weapons, maybe explosives. With something else, the Turkish state is not able to fight against our war tunnels. That is crystal clear.
"Casualties are kept secret"
The war tunnels are an experience for us. If we continue with these methods, we can defeat the Turkish state in many ways. For Erdoğan, Soylu and Akar, the death of soldiers is not important, but their political reputation is. They do not announce when their soldiers die. Dozens of soldiers die, but they keep it a secret. Why? They don't want to lose their political reputation. They don't want to say that they have been defeated. When they come to other regions, it will be much more difficult for them. Our positions there are even stronger and I'm sure they will be hit hard there. The determination of the guerrillas does not exist in any army. A guerrilla does not think of himself, but of his friends.