HPG pays tribute to guerrillas Laşer and Zîlan

Jiyanda Laşer and Berfîn Zîlan drowned in April while attempting to cross the Zap in southern Kurdistan. The HPG said that the Kurdish Jiyanda from Bakur and the Arab Berfîn from Rojava were valuable guerrillas in the women's liberation struggle.

The guerrillas Jiyanda Laşer and Berfîn Zîlan drowned in April while attempting to cross the Zap in southern Kurdistan. The press center of the People's Defense Forces (HPG) said in a statement that they were victims of an “unfortunate accident” and added that the Kurdish Jiyanda from Bakur and the Arab Berfin from Rojava were valuable militants in the women's liberation struggle. The HPG expressed its condolences to the relatives and the population of Kurdistan.

The statement provided the following information about the identity of the guerrillas from the Free Women’s Units (YJA Star):

 Codename: Jiyanda Laşer

 First and last name: Fatma Kaynak

 Place of birth: Colemêrg

 Names of mother and father: Remziye – Abdulhalik

 Date and place of death: April 7, 2024 / Zap


 Code name: Berfîn Zîlan

 First and last name: Rîma Abdullah

 Place of birth: Afrin

 Names of mother and father: Hamide – Muhammed

 Date and place of death: April 7, 2024 / Zap


Jiyanda Laşer

Jiyanda Laşer was born in the northern Kurdish province of Hallari (Colemêrg) and grew up in an environment close to the PKK. She was still a child when she saw the guerrillas for the first time. The encounter left a lasting impression and Jiyanda resolved to one day become a freedom fighter in the mountains herself. As an adolescent, she remained true to her childhood dreams and became involved in the revolutionary youth movement. When ISIS invaded Kurdistan in 2014, she wanted to take part in the defense of Kobanê and Shengal. Due to her important position in the youth movement, she had to put this wish on hold. Then Laşer (Köksal Çabuk), one of the first guerrillas she met personally, died in Cîlo. Jiyanda then went to the Zagros Mountains in 2015 and joined the guerrillas.

From the Cîlo area, Jiyanda came to the Avaşîn region for basic training. Because she grew up on the foothills of the Zagros, adjusting to life in the mountains did not cause her any difficulties. She already had organizational experience through her work in the youth movement, and during her training she expanded her ideological knowledge and acquired military knowledge. After her basic training, Jiyanda stayed in Avaşîn until 2021. During this time, she got to know herself better and became aware of the strength of women.

She discussed the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan and once said that justice can only be achieved for the fallen through continuous fighting. In the wake of the increasing attacks by the Turkish army, she took part in guerrilla operations against the invading troops at her own persistent request. She fought with great courage and sacrifice and contributed to many successful actions. She was wounded in 2018, but after her recovery she continued her fight resolutely. In her almost seven years in Avaşîn, she got to know the entire region and matured into a strong YJA Star fighter.

In order to further her ideological education, Jiyanda came to a guerrilla academy, where she examined her previous practice and her own personality. She then fought in Metina and the Zap region. When she tried to cross the Zap in unfavorable weather conditions in April, she was swept away by the floods and could no longer be rescued. “Hevala Jiyanda will be remembered and shown the way in our struggle with her sacrifice, her sensitivity for women, her deep companionship and her smile,” the HPG declare.

Berfin Zilan

Berfîn Zîlan was born in Afrin to Arab parents and grew up in a predominantly Kurdish neighborhood. At that time, many different population groups and religious communities lived together peacefully in Afrin. As a teenager, Berfîn became aware that the state was deliberately promoting division among the population. This approach was foreign to her, and she maintained her belief in the brotherhood of peoples.

She learned about the PKK and the fight for freedom in Kurdistan from her Kurdish neighbours. With the Rojava revolution, her interest in the liberation movement and Abdullah Öcalan's ideas of a social order based on grassroots democracy, women's liberation and ecology grew. She saw with her own eyes that this was not just a theory, but that this idea was actually being put into practice.

As a member of a “democratic nation,” she wanted to contribute to the success and defend the revolution against attacks. In 2017 she joined an armed unit and received ideological and military training. Many things became clear to her, especially the ideology of women's liberation, which had a formative influence on her further development. She took part in the resistance against attacks by jihadist groups and fought courageously and decisively against Islamists. During a skirmish she suffered a serious abdominal injury, but this did not stop her from fighting. When the Turkish state realized that it could not beat back the Rojava revolution solely with jihadist mercenary bands and invaded Afrin in early 2018, Berfîn took part in the legendary resistance and was wounded again.

After the occupation of Afrin, Berfîn was active in various areas of Rojava. She went to the “Şehîd Ezîz Ereb” academy for training and, together with other Arab comrades, learned more about the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan. From there she went into the mountains to join the guerrillas, which had always fascinated her. She was fascinated by guerrilla life in nature and took part in it with great enthusiasm. She complemented her military experience from Rojava with a course in which she trained in special guerrilla tactics. After specialized training in heavy weapons, she was placed in a semi-mobile unit and fought against the Turkish invading forces. With every successful action she took revenge for the occupation of Afrin. In 2022 she went to the Zap region and fought in both mobile units and tunnel warfare. The HPG describe Berfîn as a fearless and self-sacrificing fighter from the YJA Star who infected her fellow fighters with her courage and commitment and lives on in the fight.