Guerrillas tell of the battle in Heftanin

Guerrillas report on their experiences in the fierce battle against the Turkish invasion of Heftanin.

The Turkish invasion of the Heftanin region in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) started on 16 June. Tons of explosives were dropped over the region, tens of thousands of soldiers, village guards and militiamen have taken part in the Turkish state's attempt to occupy the region. The guerrillas are mounting fierce resistance with their "Cenga Heftanîn" [Battle of Heftanin] offensive. Speaking to ANF, guerrilla commanders Hejar Zozan and fighter Raperîn Peyanûs tell their experiences in the first month of the attack.

Xantûr and Qesrok have the highest strategic importance

Hejar Zozan: The enemy attacks this region mainly because the hills of Xantûr and Qesrok are of the greatest strategic importance. It's basically about occupying Southern Kurdistan. Xantûr belongs to Southern Kurdistan. When Xantûr was attacked, there were strong protests by the people of Southern Kurdistan. If Turkish soldiers had come down into the valleys on that day, people would have come from the villages and fought against them. The operation has been continuing for more than a month now. We are in the middle of the operation area. There have been very violent attacks, both on the Qesrok area and on Xantûr.

On the second day of the attack we were on Qesrok. On the first day, the enemy had failed to airdrop soldiers in the area. There were positions held by our comrades. The following day the Turkish army airdropped troops on the back of the mountain and the soldiers moved to the top on foot. As soon as they arrived at the hill they were fired upon massively. We had prepared ourselves well and the enemy did not expect such fire. The soldiers moved very relaxed, but after the first strikes by our comrades, they tried to retreat. When they got stuck on the hill, our units started actions again and they had to retreat to the slopes.

They could not take Xantûr on the first day, because we were prepared. On the second day we watched how they airdropped troops from behind and on the side of the Muhabere hill and also in the deep valleys where we had no units, and so they advanced towards Xantûr. The advance was not easy. Already on the first day of the advance they suffered severe setbacks. The soldiers came but they didn't know the terrain as well as we did. So they were faced with actions everywhere. For a month now, the actions have continued. We are very close to the enemy, right beside them. The enemy trusts in its technology, we trust in our guerrilla strategy and walk all over the enemy.

The attitude of the martyrs is legendary

Raperîn Peyanûs: I have seen many things during this time. Actions, under the massive technique of the enemies, the way the friends move... But we also had martyrs. Their attitude was legendary, especially that of the friends who overran the enemy despite his technique.

This attitude gives us strength and morale. The enemy tries with his technique, we resist with our sacrifice. We mount resistance to make the dreams of our fallen companions come true. The guerrilla draws its strength from comradery and from Rêber Apo [Leader Abdullah Öcalan]. Even the greeting of a friend gives you strength. We take the risk and let their technique come to nothing. This fact in itself gives us much strength. 

Hejar Zozan: All this technology is of no use to the enemy. They rely heavily on their reconnaissance planes. When they enter an area, they must be accompanied by at least four drones. You can't say that the individual soldiers have any significance for the Turkish state. They die without being able to do anything.

Resistance till the end

Raperîn Peyanûs: The enemy carried out an operation last year as well. It was a very intense time. Heval Rustem absolutely wanted to go there. He stayed there for two only two days, but his comradery and willingness to make sacrifices was great. He gave us a lot of strength and morale. His death is comparable to that of Zilan or Beritan. He put up a legendary resistance. Heval Goran was there too. He showed great commitment in the fortification of our positions on Xantûr, the building of the infrastructure and the preparations. We can take an example from him in our lives. He will never be forgotten.

We can also talk about Heval Zeryan. She had just joined the struggle. Her bond with the martyrs, her co-operative spirit and her connection to Rêber Apo were very strong. She resisted until the last moment and held her ground. One person can achieve an incredible amount in one day in the PKK. This is the basis of the PKK - the martyrs, the comradery and the strength we draw from Rêber Apo. This friend has shown such an attitude. We will resist until the end. Whatever comes, we will let their technique run wild and avenge the fallen.

Hejar Zozan: 'This is Heftanîn - there is no way through here' said Heval Tolhildan. As successors of Heval Tolhildan we say the same. The enemy should not believe that they can shake us with their operations. We will respond to them and be wherever they are. The guerrilla is like a ghost, it can appear anywhere. We are everywhere and nowhere. That's how we move.