Girê Sor: A Temple of Resistance - II

The resistance was led by Botan, Serhildan, and Zinarîn. The Girê Sor resistance temple became a fortress due to their resolve, Apoist attitude, and comradeship.

ANF compiled the 80-day Girê Sor resistance from the narratives of Mizgîn Dalaho, Armanc Simko and Têkoşîn Devrim who took part in the resistance. Here is the second part:

The enemy forces suffered a blow on Süleyman Hill. There were both dead and injured among them. The fact that the guerillas were able to get out of there safely was itself a setback for the enemy. That's why they hesitated till they moved to Girê Sor from Girê Spî. It took them about a week to arrive in Girê Sor. On Süleyman Hill, an explosive was detonated aimed at the enemy, causing them to approach Girê Sor in a very controlled and heavy way.


They arrived at the fourth hill after Süleyman Hill. The distance between Girê Spi and there was not particularly great anyway. Mizgîn, Serhildan, and Özgür were staying on the summit level at the time. Têkoşîn, Argêş, and Zinarîn were on the bottom. Botan remained on the middle floor so that he could intervene on both floors. Delal stayed with Botan, not on the frontline, because he was young. On every floor, there were saboteurs and assassins. Baz and Armanc were standing guard at the Çarçella entryway. This positioning was continually shifting in response to changing circumstances. There were ten guerrillas at the time.

From his participation in the struggle till his martyrdom, Area Commander Botan was always in Avaşîn and was familiar with all the terrain. In these places, he learnt both to fight and to command. He was the personified name of humility and self-sacrifice in Avaşîn. Having a commander like Botan was one of the best opportunities in the resistance struggle. Botan had the most to do with the long-term survival of this resistance without a single surrender.

Serhildan, the Unit Commander, had stayed long in the Basya region and was well-versed in the territories of Süleyman, Kartal, and Girê Sor. He made significant contributions to the construction of battle tunnels, particularly in the Kartal and Girê Sor areas, digging tunnels for meters at a time. He was smart, empathetic, and a source of inspiration. With his songs and poems, it was as though Girê Sor's tunnels came to life. He always commanded in the most difficult places, on the slopes where it was difficult to exist, let alone fight. He had very profound feelings, concentrations, and a fine spirit, in addition to the enormous practical tasks he assumed. He penned and read lovely poems.

Zinarîn, the female guerrillas' team leader, was a qualified young commander who respected the attitude and command of all guerrillas, not just women. Zinarîn's organizing method, sensibility, pro-freedom stand, commander personality, and comradeship all played important roles in the formation of the Girê Sor resistance. It wasn't long since she moved to the military field, but she quickly became a guerrilla and commanded in the most difficult Zagros highlands, such as Girê Sor. The resistance was led by Botan, Serhildan, and Zinarîn. It was their tenacity, Apoist spirit, and camaraderie that made this resistance a fortress.

They were commanders but everyone there was also from the selected members of the guerilla. They were all involved in the process as if they were battle commanders. Têkoşîn and Özgür were saboteurs, and Armanc, Argêş, Mizgîn, and Baz were assassins. Everyone on the hill had a particular trait and a branch. Delal, who had just turned a year old in the struggle, was the newest friend. She was a quick learner and ambitious. There were both quality and harmony among the guerrillas. On the top floor, a saboteur, an assassin, and a guerrilla operating mid-automatic weapons were always stationary.


On the first day, the enemy forces were pursued through unexposed doorways. After Girê Spi, the enemy was advancing by land. On the 21st of June, they reached Girê Sor's second hill. Because enemy movement was no longer observable from the guerrilla's perspective, they could no longer be followed properly. It was Özgür to notice their movement first. While on guard on the summit, Özgür heard the enemy's voice and saw them approaching through binoculars. The enemy was attempting to consolidate their positions on the other hills before approaching the main hill. They started to form positions on the second hill and then headed for the top of the hill where the guerrillas were mainly located.

In fact, the enemy did not show up as expected by the guerrillas. They launched their attack from above. They couldn't attack from below, knowing they wouldn't get far. This was true until the tunnels were exited. The enemy's goal was to step on it, gain possession, and block the exit. They were constantly stationed around a hundred meters distant. That's why they began their attacks from the top floor. A battle was taking place for the first time in the Girê Sor tunnels, and it was the guerrilla's first experience. As a result, they were learning a lot of new things while fighting here. For example, the enemy was trying something new, and the guerrillas were developing different and new measures to nullify it. The war was also creating its new tactics.


The enemy could not be allowed to advance so easily. Their voices could be heard from the second hill, but it was not clear where they were and the guerrillas were actually unaware that the enemy had gone so far. Soldiers were stationed on all three slopes. They arrived by land, but their numbers were enormous. Sikorsky helicopters dropped troops on the fourth hill that night. The guerrillas repeatedly struck the enemy through the general entrance with DShK fire. As a result, they did not dare to move through there. They were extending and changing their courses because of the DShK fire.


Mizgîn suggested an assassination while the enemy was on the second hill. The distance was roughly 500 meters. On June 22 and 23, Mizgîn carried out two targeted actions there. The enemy opened direct fire with grenade launchers and individual firearms. Mizgîn carried out a targeted action the other day while 6-7 soldiers attempted to build a shelter. The soldiers got a little closer this time, and the distance was around 450 meters. Mizgîn donned a camouflage costume, took her weapon, went outside, and fired two shots, killing one soldier and injuring another.


Following these actions, the enemy flew a bee-sized device in the air towards the tunnels and called for surrender through that thing. They were operating that thing in the middle of the field and were calling for surrender.


On June 23, the enemy force arrived at the first peak and attacked that morning. On the second day, it was noticed from the upper floor that the soldiers' voices were getting quite close. The enemy was now directly on top of the cave. Mizgîn was on guard at the summit when she heard a soldier giving commands to the others and noticed three soldiers 5 meters away. When Mizgîn raised her head, the soldiers noticed the movement and the first confrontation with the invading Turkish forces started...


Turkish soldiers opened fire straight on the entryway. Mizgîn also dropped a bomb, opened fire on the soldiers, and came back to report. On that day, Özgür, Argeş, Serhildan, and Mizgîn were present on the summit floor. The first clash that day lasted over 40 minutes. The soldiers were staying away from the gates and firing from a safe distance. That day, the guerillas fired incessantly from all three gates. When the enemy density gave it to that gate, a guerrilla would fire from another gate. The enemy was stunned, and had no idea where the bullets were coming from. When they discovered at first encounter that Girê Sor was not an easy bite, they retreated to the second hill that night. After dusk, both the enemy and the guerrillas came to a halt. There were sporadic clashes during the next few days, especially in the evening. Evenings were increasingly filled with confrontations.


The majority of the guerrilla's weapons were bombs. The war was incredibly fierce in the early days, and the sound of fighting never stopped. As a result, the atmosphere was different. Some guerrillas shot the enemy, while others pulled ammunition and discovered the enemy, and while all of this was going on, the lessons learned were passed on and new measures were implemented. There was exciting mobility inside. Everyone was encouraging one another. Every guerilla made an effort to implement their branch. The ammunition was not to be wasted, yet the fingers could not be taken off the trigger. On the first day, the enemy began hurling bombs from the top gate, and the explosives were falling down as the gates were pulled upright. For example, the air flow was very strong and went from top to bottom. Following the explosions, dust, smoke, or utilized gases immediately went down to the ground. The first day was spent in combat because the enemy had not yet weighed in on explosions and chemical gases.


The guerrillas' assertion was amazing: "We will absolutely smash the enemy in Girê Sor." They carried out their tasks without hesitation, no matter what it was. Friendship relationships dominated over structure and managerial relationships. Every guerrilla took the initiative to share their views and participate. Whatever was necessary was done.

Because of Girê Sor's location, there were various drawbacks. For example, during the attack on Mamresho, there were guerrillas in the field who were coordinated from neighboring hills. There were also external actions. This was a huge benefit to the Mamresho resistance. Those at Girê Sor had braced themselves for anything. They understood there would be no outside reinforcements and that a ground war would not be fought. Girê Sor was now under siege after the enemy seized Mamreşo. There was only one way in from the outside, but it was tough to get there. They were already aware that no one could coordinate from the outside, and that no outside intervention or action would be taken. They were alone now. They were discussing the conditions among themselves. Sometimes, they said, "We will resist until the autumn, and if there is no outside intervention in the rains, we will come out of the tunnels and take effective actions against the enemy." Therefore, no matter what the work was, no one objected, and they successfully fulfilled every task given.


The huge device was reading the message for Girê Sor. The date was June 24th. During the reading of the message, the enemy tossed something from above, which was responded to by a gunshot. Then they detonated what they tossed. They conducted another explosion 20 seconds later. When the enemy employed chemicals, they caused a second explosion, increasing the pressure and allowing all of the gas to enter as a result of the pressure. It was known at the time that the enemy was listening in on the huge device. The enemy was using gas, and the guerilla wanted the enemy to know that their efforts were futile. They acted quickly and proceeded to converse through the device. The passageways were filled with gas, but Botan was shouting via the device, "The enemy is now employing gas, conducting explosions, but our condition is good, we are not affected at all." At the time, the enemy was using chemicals for the first time.


The earliest chemical explosives they utilized had a burnt sugar odor, tasted sweet like sugar, and were green in hue. It was discovered to be a chemical weapon. It was also known to emit pleasant smells in order to avoid being bothered by the odor of chemical weapons. Têkoşîn exclaimed, "Comrade, how wonderful is the smell of this?" when he first smelled gas, because he didn't realize it was a chemical. Botan was warning the guerrillas, saying, "Get your head down, you'll suffocate, it's not a joke, you'll be harmed if you don't take it seriously." They were indeed affected later on. One became numbed and exhausted as a result of whatever gas the enemy used. There was resistance in the Werxelê area at the same time, and a link was formed between them. The guerrillas in the area were also warned to be cautious. They were exchanging information regarding the measures. The upper deck was small, and the ventilation was inadequate. As a result, the gases used on that floor had an effect. The guerrillas were going downwards, but Botan was not. They essentially dragged him down from the summit.


The summit's tunnels were perpendicular, which was a disadvantage. Even during the day, the enemy stayed at least 50 meters away from the gate. They were also launching gas bombs from a distance. When the guerrillas arrived at the gate to place explosives on the summit gate, they noticed that the front was littered with stones. However, there had been no stones there previously. The enemy was putting their distance to the test by hurling stones at the gate from afar. When they threw a bomb, they did so from a distance. Soldiers' voices could be heard in the distance at times. They spoke Turkish, but there were also village guards who spoke Kurdish and had been brought from various areas of Kurdistan. The camera outside had been destroyed, and the enemy was being tracked with binoculars through unexposed doorways, but not all of the hills were visible. The enemy also began to employ pepper spray. It was the first time fighting in the tunnels, thus there were some inexperiences. At the same time, experience was being gained based on the enemy's orientation. For example, the enemy was primarily assaulting during the day. According to them, the guerrillas were devising new methods.


The enemy launched a barrage of attacks in the first week. In Mamreşo, Martyr Serdar, Werxelê, and Süleyman, they used pepper gas extensively. In Girê Sor, they also used powerful gas, explosives, and chemicals. There were major consequences after the first week. There were no guerrillas remaining at the end of the first week who were strong enough to get all the way to the top. They were all weak and frail. Botan had no intention of leaving the summit; he was steadfast. The enemy was also struggling; they were hesitant to approach the gate and they were shooting from a safe distance. The guerrillas agreed that they couldn't stay at the summit much longer. The enemy had a stronghold there, and the tunnels were vertical. Because the guerrillas had become quite weak as a result of the gases, it was decided to close the summit floor with a majority consent. The headquarters was also informed of the decision.

Every day, the enemy used more chemical gas and pepper spray. To close that site, guerrillas hauled stoned soil down from the Çarçella gate. This duty was quite exhausting. The enemy was closing in on them, and they were out of energy due to a lack of supplies. There was not a single thing left on the summit.


Mizgîn and Baz were affected and fell one day when the enemy used extremely strong gas. Fortunately, people from the Cizre area of Şırnak who had previous experience with tear gas were among them. They were suggesting that lemon, cologne and sugar were effective against pepper spray. When they couldn't breathe, they poured water on their faces first. When things worsened, Mizgîn remembered what the inhabitants of Şırnak had said and brought cologne. They came to their senses a little more as a result of the cologne. Then everyone became accustomed to the pepper spray, and it became usual. After the guerrillas left the mountaintop, the enemy was concentrating not on the summit but on the Çarçella gate.

The enemy forces were not approaching all of the gates at once, but were advancing steadily. They were also getting struck from the Çarçella gate, which, however, was one of the weak points of the cave. The enemy could dominate and strike there. The guerrillas closed it, but every time they did, the enemy opened it again by means of explosions. ‘If that's the case, let the gate remain open and we strike them from here,’ said the guerrillas. This time, the enemy arrived and closed the gate themselves. In other words, it became a game constantly played.

During the day, the enemy attacked heavily and then retreated at night. Baz remained near the Çarçella gate, which was closed up to three meters. Every time it was closed, it was checked to make sure. The enemy was bombing there using B7 and BKC, and the smell of TNT was very strong; the guerrillas were also affected. The enemy carried out a few detonations there after closing the Çarçella gate, and because the earth was not hard, it would close on its own every time there was an explosion. The enemy remained silent for a long time after closing these two gates. Until the 6th of July...

To be continued....