Mothers of martyrs stage sit-in at Semalka asking for the bodies of guerrillas killed by KDP

The action organised at Semalka border crossing to demand the handover of the bodies of the guerrillas killed as a result of an KDP ambush has been going on for 3 weeks.

With a vigil at the Sêmalka border crossing near Dêrik, people have been protesting for days against the way the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which governs Hewlêr (Erbil), deals with the martyrs of the Kurdish liberation movement. The political leadership in southern Kurdistan (kr: Bashur) 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 October 5. The protest tent erected especially for the action is visited daily by quite a few people from various groups and organizations. 

Mothers of martyrs from all the cities of North and East Syria went into action once again today. The families of the martyrs want to submit a letter to the Kurdistan Regional Government, which requests the delivery of the bodies.

The mothers moving from Semalka Border Crossing to Faysh Khabur (the other side of the border crossing) were blocked by KDP forces as before. The Peace Mothers insisted on crossing the border and started a sit-in protest.

The People’s Defence Forces (HPG) released a statement on October 3 and provided details of the KDP ambush, saying the following:

"It has been confirmed that a guerrilla group consisting of seven people was attacked by KDP forces at approximately 2:30 a.m. on the night of August 28-29 while traveling from Qandil to Behdinan. The group was fired upon directly from four sides with heavy weapons as it crossed the Zap River without prior address or warning shots. Five of our companions were definitely killed in this attack. One of our members is believed to have been captured injured. Our comrade Haki, who was part of the guerrilla group, observed what was happening and was able to leave the area unharmed after a while. He was able to save himself alive and reached our forces. Through his account, many aspects of the KDP attack have been clarified.”

The initiative of Peace Mothers

For days there has been a continuous protest in Sêmalka for the handing over of the martyrs. The driving force behind the protests is the initiative of the Peace Mothers. The Peace Mothers, an initiative of mothers of Kurdish guerrilla fighters, but also of Kurdish soldiers in the Turkish army, have set themselves the goal to fight with all their possibilities against the continuation of the war and for a political solution. They do not only stand up for peace, but they are also exemplary for a permanent dialogical engagement and a democratization of Turkey. The initiative of the Peace Mothers demands an end to the warlike and bloody conflicts in Turkey. Despite their experiences of expulsion from their own villages and the deaths of many family members, the women have supported the PKK's repeatedly proclaimed unilateral ceasefires. They have repeatedly played a central role in peace processes and contributed to temporarily breaking the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan by participating in the 200-day mass hunger strike in 2019.