Yazidi activist from Germany joins vigil at Sêmalka

For days, relatives of martyrs have been protesting against South Kurdistan’s ruling party KDP at the Sêmalka border crossing in Rojava and demanding the return of the bodies of those killed in the Xelîfan attack.

With a vigil at the Sêmalka border crossing near Dêrik, people have been protesting for days against the way the KDP, which governs Hewlêr (Erbil), deals with the martyrs of the Kurdish liberation movement. The political leadership in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) still refuses to hand over the bodies of Tolhildan Raman and Serdem Cûdî. The guerrilla commander and the fighter were from Rojava and belonged to a seven-member HPG/YJA-Star unit that was ambushed by the KDP in Xelîfan near Hewlêr on the night of August 28-29. Five of the group were killed, and one HPG member was taken prisoner with injuries. Only HPG guerrilla Hakî Zîlan survived.

The vigil at the border crossing between western and southern Kurdistan, which was initiated by the Council of Martyrs’ Families from the Cizîrê region, has been running since Tuesday. The protest tent erected especially for the action is visited daily by quite a few people from various groups and organizations. One of them is Beşîr Êzîdî. The Yazidi activist actually lives in East Frisia in Lower Saxony and is involved in the Shengal Council in Exile in Europe (Meclîsa Şengalê a Derveyî Welat, or MŞD for short). Currently, however, he is on home leave in Rojava. His hometown of Tirbespî is just under 65 kilometers west of Dêrik.

"I am here to protest against the KDP’s betrayal, just like all the other people at this vigil," said Beşîr Êzîdî. He called the massacre in Xelîfan a "great shame" and murder of his own people, saying, "Kurds in all four parts of our homeland and in exile must stand up and denounce the killing of the guerrilla group, which is a result of the KDP's collaboration with the Turkish occupation. The Kurdish people are longing for freedom and democracy. All we need is national unity. There must be no conflicts between brothers and sisters."

The bodies of the Xelîfan martyrs must be handed over to their families immediately, the activist said and stressed that no Kurdish party or force should stand alongside the Turkish state as the enemy of all Kurds. His appeal was directed in particular at the Barzanî family; “Instead of working for the interests of the regime in Ankara and thus opening the door to the occupation of southern Kurdistan, the KDP should work together with other Kurdish forces to protect the existence of their people. I call on the people of Southern Kurdistan to send a signal against the politics of ambush. The cooperation between the KDP and the Turkish state must end."