Turkmen photographer in Manbij: We do not want Turkey here

Imad Musa from the North Syrian city of Manbij is on the ISIS list of death for his photographs, stating, "ISIS and the Turkish military are one, we do not want the Turkish state to attack our free lives here."

Professional photographer Imad Musa was robbed of his rights during the reign of ISIS in the northern Syrian city of Manbij and was in mortal danger. He tried to flee to Turkey, but was not allowed on the border into the ISIS area. Today he lives again in Manbij and can freely pursue his profession there.

Imad Musa is Turkmen from Manbij. With his photographs he has documented what happened under the rule of the Baathists, the FSA and the ISIS in the region. He told ANF how the Turkmen people felt when the city was still controlled by the Syrian Ba'ath regime: "There was no freedom for us. We lived under Arab culture and had to do everything in Arabic."

The repression has multiplied after the seizure of power, says Musa: "I was a photographer in Manbij and ISIS prohibited taking pictures. I was then unemployed, but secretly continued to work. The ISIS captured my cousin. They locked him up in Tabqa and released them for a ransom. When they released my cousin, they started looking for me."

"I was unemployed and had to hide"

He reports about his escape attempt to Turkey: "We went to the border at Jarablus. Turkish soldiers threatened to us saying that they would call the ISIS commander. There was cooperation between them, and the Turkish commander said it so frankly. That's why we could not pass the border, we had to turn back and hide. In order not to be captured, I never went out and was unemployed. "

"We can rule ourselves"

Regarding the Turkish plans for Manbij, the photographer explains: "Turkey has only brought us terror, nothing else. We will continue to live in the liberated Manbij. We have developed self-confidence in our lives. I finally feel like a human. This democratic development gives everyone their rights. Today the children go to the schools. We were deprived of all these rights before. We are now recognized as Turkmens and can live with our language and our culture. In the current system, there are representatives of any origin. Not only Turkmen, but also Arabs, Circassians, Kurds, everyone is represented in the self-government. There is no difference between the Turkish military and the IS, they are one. I want to appeal to the world, protect us from Turkey. We want to live here free."