40 guerrillas killed in Turkish chemical weapons attacks in 2021

40 guerrilla fighters lost their lives in 2021 due to Turkish chemical weapons attacks on the areas of Gare, Zap, Metîna and Avaşîn. After days of resistance, they fell due to the use of banned weapons.

The biggest war in Kurdistan in recent years began on the night of 24 April with the Turkish invasion of Avaşîn, Zap and Metîna in the guerrilla-held Medya Defense Zones in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). The Turkish army did not shy away from using all kinds of banned chemical weapons in full view of the world public. Nevertheless, it met fierce resistance from the guerrillas. The fighters who fell after days of encirclement and massive use of chemical weapons were to leave a beacon of resistance.

According to war records published by the HPG Press Centre, 40 guerrilla fighters of the People's Defense Forces (HPG) and the Free Women's Troops (YJA Star) were killed in 2021 due to chemical weapons use. Six of them fell in the resistance against the failed invasion of Gare in February, the remaining 34 in the six-month war in the Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna regions.

The following are reports on the fate of the 34 guerrilla fighters killed by chemical weapons after 23 April.

Ten days of resistance at Mamreşo

The Şehîd Munzur hill in the Mamreşo region of Avaşîn was the first target of the invading forces as early as the night of 23 April due to its strategic border location. While the Turkish state had planned to complete its operations against Zap, Avaşîn and Metîna within a few weeks, the resistance in Mamreşo held up the Turkish troops for ten days. Commander Serhat Giravî (Kamuran Alpsar) and fighters Ruken Zagros (Seer Bingöl), Sarya Diyar (Bişeng Hezer), Canfeda Hesekê (Şehbaz İzzettin Seydo), Xebat Aso (Ubeyt Mevludi), Zafer Tolhildan (Muhammed Abdulkadir Hüseyin) and Kamuran Amed (Mustafa Şimşek / Amed) fought until their last breath.

Each of them came from a different part or region of Kurdistan. However, their paths crossed in the freedom struggle in Avaşîn. Serhat Giravî and Rûken Zagros came from Hakkari, Sarya Diyar from Şırnak, Xebat Aso from Kermanshah in Eastern Kurdistan, Canfeda Hesekê from Hesekê in Western Kurdistan, Kamuran Amed from Amed (Diyarbakır) and Zafer Tolhildan from Qamişlo.

As soon as the attacks of the Turkish army began, seven guerrillas took up their positions in the battle field and for ten days they succeeded in dealing heavy blows to the occupation forces with the guerrilla tactics of the new era with attacks and sabotage actions, assassinations and destruction actions. Meanwhile, the Turkish army heavily bombarded their positions from the ground and from the air.

The footage taken by guerrillas during the Mamreşo resistance clearly showed the Turkish army's dirty special war policy. The soldiers did not even dare to go near the entrances of the war tunnels and shouted from far away "Surrender and nothing will happen to you". Every time the Turkish soldiers called for surrender, the guerrillas resisting in the war tunnels responded with grenades and bullets. Failing to break the resistance, the Turkish military attacked again and again with poison gas. But the seven guerrillas under the command of Serhat Giravî held off the Turkish army until 3 May 2021, despite the massive use of chemical weapons. After ten days of resistance, they fell due to heavy use of chemical weapons.

Six killed in the Zendûra resistance

The guerrillas on the Metîna front have also been resisting fiercely since the night of 24 April. A group of HPG and YJA Star guerrilla fighters, led by Rêber Zana (Ilhan Tokdemir), one of the commanders of the revolutionary offensive Cenga Xabûrê, fought against the Turkish army for three days from 11 to 13 June at the Zandûra hill. Six guerrillas were killed at this strategically important hill, at least five of them due to the use of chemical weapons.

Five guerrillas killed by chemical weapons in Aris Faris

Between 6 and 8 May 2021, fierce attacks with chemical weapons targeted the Aris Faris area in the Avaşîn region. The Turkish army suffered heavy losses there in the three-day resistance, due to the many different tactics of the guerrillas. Despite the Turkish superiority, guerrillas Diyana Maria (Dîcle Omer Ahmet), Jîn Yılmaz (Bahar Nas), Rûbar Marufî (Şervan Özkan) and Sarya Çiya (Sarya Mahmut) under the command of Amara Cûdî (Cihan Kapar) decided to hold their positions in the tunnels and fortifications. They fought with utmost self-sacrifice until the last moment. Finally, they fell due to a heavy chemical weapon attack on 8 May.

Seven guerrillas killed by poison gas in Girê Sor

On 7 July, the peak of the Girê Sor resistance, guerrilla fighter Baz Gever (Fırat Şahin) fell in the front line due to the use of chemical weapons. As the Turkish army was still unable to break the resistance, the Turkish army used chemical weapons again at Girê Sor on 3 September, killing guerrillas Botan Özgür (Celal Özcan), Zinarîn Welat (Rama Şemdîn) and Delal Qamişlo (Hîva Mamo). The HPG said about the resistance of these fighters: "Comrades Botan, Zinarîn and Delal have opened a new chapter in the history of freedom of our people with their epic resistance in the Girê Sor resistance area. They will be the greatest source of strength and morale for the Kurdish freedom guerrillas on their way to victory and will always be remembered by them."

As even this attack did not break Girê Sor's resistance, on 15 September 2021, the Turkish army again attacked the area even more intensively with chemical weapons. Three guerrillas were killed by the poison gas; Argeş Botan (Hasan Emcür), Özgür Bagok (Fatma Balica) and Serhildan Mordem (Serdar Dinç).

Ten guerrillas killed by chemical weapons in Werxelê

In particular, the resistance areas of Werxelê and Girê Sor in Avaşîn went down in history for their long-lasting resistance against the technological superiority of the Turkish army. The Turkish army acted helplessly against the guerrillas' mobile units, fortified war positions and tunnel systems and attacked these areas non-stop by planes and helicopters for four months. When the air strikes failed to produce results, the Turkish army dropped tons of TNT and various other explosives from helicopters and detonated the charges at the guerrilla positions. Although the Turkish army tried this tactic again and again, it did not succeed in driving the guerrillas out of their positions. Therefore, the army again resorted to the use of new, state-of-the-art chemical weapons. According to HPG sources, massive destruction was caused to all living beings in the region as a result of these chemical weapons attacks. On 5 October, five guerrilla fighters Cumali Çorum (Zeynel Erocağı), Çavrê Kamuran (Süheyla Kırmızıtaş), Dilvîn Dalaho (Rêzan Deraferîn), Amara Cûdî (Rojîn Ramazan) and Mahir Kop (Çetin Çelik) were killed due to the use of this new chemical weapon on the Werxelê front.

On 10 October, the Turkish army again bombed the Werxelê area with chemical weapons. Guerrillas Hêvîdar Tirbespiyê (Ala Xidir Xelef), Yerîvan Kato (Makbule Kiliç), Binevş Çiya (Sema Sümbül), Adil Gabar (Yakup Kizilaslan) and Têkoşer Zagros (Erhan Şahin) were killed in this attack.