YPG driver Zaxo: The revolution is a long journey

We continue to talk about the architects of the Rojava revolution, whose names are often unknown.

Alan Zaxo joined the YPG at the time of Kobanê battle and has since been working as a driver on the front line. "The revolution is a long journey," he says.

The decisive factor in Alan Zaxo’s participation in the battle was Abdullah Öcalan's mobilization call during the fight for Kobanê in 2014, says the YPG fighter, who joined the YPG from the southern Kurdistan city of Zakho. Since then, he has been active on many fronts, now he participates in the offensive against the last ISIS enclave in Deir ez-Zor.

For most operations Alan Zaxo worked as a driver. To talk to him, we drive to a battalion for heavy weapons. We had just exchanged the first words when a fighting unit called for ammunition reinforcement by radio. Of course we would like to be part of this trip and ask if we can accompany him. Alan Zaxo initially refuses and says it is a risky area. Then he agrees and says to his commander with a smile on his face, "If something happens to the friends, I won’t write a report." Then we start.

Be prepared for everything

As we drive, we try not to disturb Alan's attention, but we still ask him a few questions. He tells us that a battle front driver and his vehicle must be in constant readiness. Then he tells of the combat areas in which he was before. In Manbij, he was shot by a sniper fire and got injured. Finally we reach our destination.

Alan initially establishes a radio connection to the local unit. Then we approach a demolished building. Our driver tells us a detail of his work: "We have now arrived at the point where we are waiting. Before we get off, we turn the car in the direction of the road, so we are prepared for any conceivable situation.”

Alan delivers the ammunition and we start our way back. "The battle front vehicles are a constant target," he says and continues; "That's why we drive zig-zags in the dangerous areas. If the road conditions permit, we drive very fast and keep as close as possible to buildings. At night we drive without light, which is especially important in the vicinity of our comrades’ positions, so as not to expose them. The vehicles must also be camouflaged, the camouflage must be aligned with the respective landscape. Here in the desert, for example, we use mud.”

The hardest task: recovering the injured

The hardest thing for the drivers is when wounded people have to be evacuated. "If it's about an injured friend, you're just thinking of saving him. You are also the one who has to provide first aid. We are trained for that. But it's still the most difficult situation for the battle front drivers," tells Alan.

This is an emotional theme that Alan quickly deals with by telling a funny story: "While we fought against the regime in Hesekê, a friend was injured. We broke the rules and participated in the fight. Then we pulled the injured friend near a wall and tied his injured arm in the dark. Only in the hospital we found out that we had not tied the injured arm, but the healthy. The friend survived anyway.”

Fight for yourself

His only dream is the victory of the revolution, Alan concludes, addressing the people of Kurdistan who are experiencing the dichotomy of joining the revolution: "This revolution is as great as it is varied. It is not a matter of one or two years but a long journey. It is the young people who have to carry this revolution into the future. That's why I call on the young people in all four parts of Kurdistan to finally come here and fight for themselves. They should stop fighting for others. Many young people are on their way to Europe. What do you want there? Come and work for yourselves in building the revolution.”