human rights watch

söndag 27 juli 2014

Kurds in Canada call on world to ‘End Silence’ and help Syrian Kurdistan

Kurds in Canada call on world to ‘End Silence’ and help Syrian Kurdistan 
ORONTO,— Kurds in Canada’s largest city protested on Saturday against attacks by Islamic militants on Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), and called on the international community to end their “silence and indifference to the plight of Kurds there.”

“The world media is only talking about what is happening in Gaza and Israel while the Kurds have been suffering and been under attack for one year now,” said Donald Dogan, a member of Toronto’s Kurdish Community.

“If they care about what is happening in Gaza they should also stand by the Kurds,” Dogan told Rudaw.

Using advanced weapons it seized from the Iraqi army in Mosul last month, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has laid siege to the Kurdish city of Kobane and its surrounding villages for several weeks.

“Rojava is facing a big danger from fundamentalists who aim to kill them,” said Mustafa Kakin, one of the protesters. “I am here to say that the world should be aware of this, but unfortunately the West is ignoring them.”

Kakin said that the Islamic militants are targeting not only the Kurds, but also Christians and other minorities who have taken refugee in Rojava. 

The Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) is holding back the ISIS attacks, but the group’s leaders say that their weapons are no match for ISIS’s heavy artillery brought over from Iraq.
YPG commanders have called on the world, particularly the United States to help the Kurds in their fight against radical groups in Syria.

In a recent interview with Rudaw, Sipan Hemo, the YPG commander said that if the US is serious about helping the Syrian opposition, “Then the Kurds and YPG deserve this support the most.”

The Kurdish community in Toronto have organized two similar rallies in the past year in support of Rojava and delivered medical supplies to victims of the fighting.

“Civilians and children are being killed by these murderers everyday,” said Dogan, a protest organizer. “How could the world remain silent?”

“Christians are protected only by the Kurds in Syria,” he added. “Canadian people, America and the West have a moral responsibility to help the Kurds.”

The threat to Kobane is such that young Kurdish volunteers rushed across the border from Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey earlier this month to join the YPG in its fight against the ISIS.

Now however, Kurds worry that the war in Gaza has stolen the attention from Kobane and its civilian population.

“My heart goes to Gaza too, but we don’t see the same attention to the Kurds,” said Dilan Bagti, a Kurdish woman holding a poster at Toronto’s iconic Dundas Square. “What is happening in Gaza is the exact same thing that is going on in Rojava, in Kobane.”

Atakan Esen, 23, an engineering student at the University of Toronto said that Islamic extremists in Syria pose a threat to the entire region and not just the Kurds.

“If the ISIS takes over it will be bad for the whole region and the whole world,” said Esen. “There will be more blood, more suffering and worse than it is now.”

“Anyone who is worried about this violence should care,” he added.

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