Remembering Martyr Hogir Baran

Kirkuk has long been coveted by those with colonial aspirations.

Kirkuk has long been coveted by those with colonial aspirations.  The elimination of the chauvinist regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave some hope that the people of Kirkuk could live in peace and freedom, though the interference of neighboring states and various groups in the affairs of Kirkuk has caused continued instability in the city since the fall of the Ba’athist regime. 

Throughout the war waged by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, the genocidal terrorist group repeatedly attacked Kirkuk.  However, the resistance of the Kurdish people, including Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas and the local peshmerga forces, kept the city of Kirkuk out of the hands of ISIS and pushed ISIS out of the larger province.  Following the defeat of ISIS, Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Sha’bi fighters invaded the region.

While some local forces retreated in the face of the advance on Kirkuk which began on 16 October 2017, PKK guerrillas and others resisted this invasion, refusing to leave the area.  During this resistance, Bashir Sabri Isa (codename: Hogir Baran), who joined the PKK 27 years earlier, was martyred. 

Born in 1956 in Dêrika Hemko (al-Malikiyah) in Rojava (Syria), Hogir Baran was a personification of the Kurdish struggle against all occupation forces and the Kurdish people’s fight for a free life on their land.  During his youth, his family migrated from Rojava to Êlih‎ (Batman) in North Kurdistan (Turkey).  He joined the PKK in 1990 and learned the ideology of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan.  He endured the brutality of the prisons of the Turkish state, and later carried out work for the Kurdish struggle throughout Rojava and South Kurdistan (Iraq). 

On October 16, 2017, Hogir Baran took a position on the front lines against the well-armed invaders of Kirkuk, and fell martyr in the town of Daquq in the east of the Kirkuk province.  As a son of Rojava who joined the PKK in North Kurdistan and gave his life to protect South Kurdistan against invading Iranian-backed forces, he represented the tireless spirit of the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the will of the Kurdish people to fight all forces of chauvinism and occupation. 

Hogir Baran’s dedication to the liberation of oppressed peoples and his lifetime of struggle throughout Kurdistan now have a distinguished place in the long history of the Kurdish struggle.  Four years after the tragic and unprovoked invasion of Kirkuk and his final battle for the Kurdish people, Hogir Baran should be remembered and celebrated for his dedication to Kirkuk and sacrifice for all of Kurdistan.

Name and Surname: Beşir Sebri İsa

Code Name: Hogir Baran

Father's Name: Sebri

Mother's Name: Sultan

Date of Birth: 1956/Dêrika Hemko.

Date and Place of Martyrdom: 16 October 2017, Dakuk/ Kirkuk