Karayılan calls for on-site investigation into Turkish chemical attacks

HSM Headquarters Commander Murat Karayılan called on international institutions to investigate into the Turkish chemical attacks. Karayılan said that “there is an urgent need for national unity and a common Kurdish policy”.

People's Defense Centre (HSM) Headquarters Commander Karayılan was interviewed by Medya News on Turkey’s use of chemical weapons in its ongoing attacks against the guerrilla forces in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq).

Karayılan stated that the invading Turkish state is using chemical weapons in its attacks and urged international institutions to investigate the Turkish attacks. He pointed out that the Turkish state could not advance because of the guerrilla resistance and emphasised the urgent need for Kurdish national unity and a common policy. “Only an organization that can protect itself based on its self-power can achieve success,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the occupying forces in Kurdistan pose constant threats to the gains of the Kurdish people,” stressed the HSM commander, who further said the following:

“Currently, the biggest threat is being introduced under the leadership of the Turkish state. Almost 6 months have passed since the Turkish incursion that started on April 23. Fierce clashes have taken place in the meantime. It is difficult to summarize them in a few sentences. The Turkish state has a specific plan for 2021. It has planned to occupy all our positions in South Kurdistan or Iraqi Kurdistan this year, to eliminate and remove the guerrillas, to destroy our headquarters there in an attempt to render our movement uncoordinated. Just as the Turkish state and conspiratorial forces wanted to conduct an attack in Syria and capture Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1998, they have made a similar plan in 2021. Moreover, hegemonic powers such as the US, Germany and England have supported the Turkish plans. Turkey's war minister visited Hewlêr (Erbil) and the Iraqi state at the beginning of the year. They made the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) an ally in such a concept. Turkey was planning to occupy all the guerrilla locations in Iraqi Kurdistan including Qandil and Garê within 2 or 3 months. This was their goal.


To this end, they carried out a surprise attack on Garê at the beginning of the year, on February 10, yet they were crushed. Their idea was that ‘Garê is far from the border, there are many PKK fighters there, but if we attack them at the border, we will win’. Based on this plan, the Turkish forces launched ground and air attacks against the guerrilla positions in an area of ​​almost 100 kilometres, from Xabur river to Şemzinan, from 3 directions. For the past six months, the Turkish troops have still been there where they reached and were stationed on the first days of the offensive. The battle is still continuing in those areas. They could not proceed as they had planned. They cannot establish dominance in the places where they have airdropped their troops. In other words, they advanced 6-7 kilometres in some places, and 3-4 kilometres in some others. That's all. The fighting is restricted to these locations.

The Turkish army uses all the modern warfare technology. They carry out aerial warfare. The Turkish army is just bombing everywhere all the time. In this way, it wants to occupy and advance. However, it has not succeeded so far. Why? The guerrilla forces have also introduced military innovations. The fighters are adopting new methods. First, they developed small, specialized and coordinated guerrilla units. Another innovation is the battle tunnels to defend the ground. The guerrillas are using both methods. A high tactical performance has thus been achieved. It seems that the Turkish state did not expect this much, and they have been puzzled by this situation. In the first week, they were quick to declare victory through the press. Yet, they have started to hide this war from Turkey and the world public opinion as they have been crushed gradually. In other words, they do not want to reveal that such a large-scale battle is taking place.

In order to hide its defeat, the Turkish state has started to use chemical weapons alongside its technologically advanced weapons. It violates international law to get rid of its debacle. In this context, the battle is continuing in the Avaşin, Zap and Metina areas.


Although there are conflicts among the states that have occupied Kurdistan, they come together, make joint plans and decisions and determine policies over the Kurdish issue and Kurdistan. Unfortunately, however, the four parts of Kurdistan cannot come together in the face of these policies. The Kurds cannot agree on a common policy. Undoubtedly, there are many reasons for this. Yet, there is an urgent need for national unity and a common Kurdish policy. But the colonial occupying forces play in Kurdistan politics. They have an influence on it. The PUK's situation can be understood. However, the KDP has been involved in the campaign seeking to eliminate the PKK and the Kurdish people’s achievements in the person of the PKK. Today, KDP forces constitute a party of the aggression carried out by the Turkish state. In other words, the KDP forces are also besieging guerrilla areas, imposing embargoes, and blocking roads. In this way, they are almost completing the Turkish state's occupation.

Furthermore, it seems that they have reached an agreement and the KDP does not show any reaction as the Turkish state invades Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkish attacks are causing material damage in the Kurdish villages. The Turkish state deliberately kills people and destroys their fields and gardens from time to time to intimidate our people in South Kurdistan so that they do not support the PKK. This is a policy of occupation that the Turkish state pursues on purpose. Aware of this reality, the KDP nevertheless blames the PKK. This is not right. It is obvious that it is the Turkish state that does harm to the people and carries out these attacks. What is the Turkish state doing there? Why is it carrying out so many attacks? It deliberately harms peasant people. Instead of taking a stand against the Turkish state, they claim that the PKK caused this mess. This is not true.

In the face of this state of affairs, the Kurdish freedom struggle needs a common policy in this period. Because there are many plans and schemes to invade Kurdistan's lands. We are striving for a Kurdish national, democratic and common policy to frustrate these plans. However, the KDP's alliance with Turkey shows that this will not happen soon.  In other words, it seems that a Kurdish unity hoped for by the Kurds and their friends has been postponed to an unknown date for the time being. So, this won't happen anytime soon. There are family interests and organizational interests above national interests in the Kurdish politics, and therefore national interest is not promoted as the priority. A fragmentary process has developed. This is how one can explain the current situation.


It is certain that the Turkish state is using chemical weapons against the guerrilla forces in South Kurdistan. HPG has made several statements on the subject. There are documents and images taken inside and outside the battle tunnels. There are munitions proving the use of poisonous gases, and the HPG has revealed many of these documents to the public. We have some ammunition remains, and continue to examine them. Maybe more concrete evidence could be found. However, the relevant international institutions remain quite indifferent despite so many appeals by our side. Why is it so? Because the Turkish state is a member of NATO. Previously, these institutions denounced that Syrian regime used chemical weapons against rival armed forces there. The whole world reacted to it, and they issued a memorandum against Syria. They also intervened and attacked the regime. So, what is the reason for this double standard? There must be a reaction against a state that uses chemical weapons against civilian people. Everything is deemed proper for NATO members, while reactions are directed against non-NATO members.

International forces and institutions can visit the areas where chemical weapons have been used. There are KDP forces deployed in some parts of the region where chemical weapons have been used. The whole world has relations with the KDP. If they come to South Kurdistan, they can also visit the guerrilla-controlled areas. The HPG announced that 6 of our comrades were martyred in chemical attacks in Girê Sor which is located on the border line. There is one kilometre between Girê Sor and the border post on the Sivri hill. The border line is found on the Girê Sor hill. A part of Girê Sor is considered Turkish soil. There is a battle tunnel there and we withdrew all our forces who were stationed there. The Turkish state still has not entered that tunnel and the mortal remains of our friends are still there. International institutions can go there and investigate whether chemical weapons have been used or not. Traces of the chemical weapons employed are still present in those tunnels, which is why the Turkish state cannot enter there. Everything is obvious. Those who seek more concrete evidence should intervene. If they do not find us credible, independent committees can come and make examinations there. The Turkish state violates the international law of war and commits crimes in Kurdistan. The relevant institutions should not turn a blind eye to the crimes of the Turkish state and should intervene. If they come and investigate, they can reach more concrete evidence. That's all we can offer. We have made appeals before during the clashes in Garê and we are making another call now. Institutions can come and make examinations on the ground and reach more concrete evidence.


The US and global powers are introducing innovations into world politics. They are redesigning their policies in line with their own interests. However, this does not mean that they will retire from the world politics. They make changes, but they do not want to keep their hands off. The situation in Afghanistan is different. The US and NATO were defeated in Afghanistan. They had to retreat. If a society organizes itself, it can protect itself against modern warfare technologies and all kinds of attacks. This has been proven once again. Global powers would better take their hands off other parts of world. If the US withdraws from Iraq and Syria immediately, that would be better for them. Yet, these things do not happen immediately. Relying on other forces, especially the hegemonic forces, does not bring success.

Basing on self-power is the key to success. If you want to do politics with your own will, you should rely on your own self-power. This is our principle. The forces in Rojava, Syria and Iraq should also rely on their self-power. This is the right thing to do. If a political power relies on this, it will not be affected by the withdrawal or non- withdrawal of other powers. It is certain that a power that can protect itself based on its own will succeed.