“I’ve been doing this job for more than forty years. But what I have actually seen in the past weeks in Syria is worse than anything I've ever seen in my entire life. If the Western countries do not act immediately there will be surely a genocide". Jacques Berès, surgeon and co-founder of Médécins Sans Frontières and Médécins du Monde, returned last night from a humanitarian mission in the battle zone near Turkish-Syrian border, in Rojava territory (Western Kurdistan), where ISIS squads are besieging the city of Kobanê and other cities under YPG / YPJ control.
"The war in Syria is horrific – Berès said during a press conference at the headquarters of the magazine La Règle du Jeu in Paris – I've seen bodies burned, torn to pieces, with no arms or legs, most of them civilians. My job, in a two-week mission, is inadequate compared to the work required. I couldn’t perform more than 7 or 8 surgical operations per day. But every attack by ISIS jihadist caused dozens of injuries.Every day there are dozens of these attacks. "
Among the fighters killed or wounded to defend Rojava (Western Kurdistan) from ISIS barbarian hordes, there are young people and many women. "The percentage of women who fight in the ranks of YPG / YPJ (People's Protection Unit) – tells Berès – is very high. At least 40% of the fighters severly injured that I medicated are women. This is a feature unique to the region. The structures of Kurdish society are secular, women's role is very important, at the head of every institution there are usually a man and a woman, a view which is in contraddiction with the typical misogyny of this area of the Middle East. This view also clashes with ISIS dogmatic fundamentalism. I was just a kilometer away from the battle front and I have seen women and young fighters repel the assaults of the jihadists with simple rifles and kalashnikov. Fighters are armed with courage, they often come from Turkish Kurdistan to help the resistence in Rojava. But they are equipped only with old Kalashnikovs.
The issue of weapons, it’s not secondary. On one hand ISIS gangs are equipped with tanks, missile launchers, armored vehicles and heavy weapons. On the other hand Kurdish forces are equipped only with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. Where are the weapons the West promised to deliver ? "We haven’t seen Western weapons here – tells Berès – instead we saw not only jihadists coming from Turkey but also armored tanks passing through the Turkish border. Turkey continues to have an ambiguous behaviour because of the strategic and economic interestes involved”.
The Rojava, Western Kurdistan, it’s also a land rich in oil, which attracts not only ISIS but also Turkey. "In this region – explains Berès – there are 1,173 oil fields. Most of them were operational before the civil war. More than 60% of Syrian oil came from this region. Today they are closed but the energy potential is very high. Before the civil war this region was among the most prosperous and tolerant of all Syria. Here you find mosques or synagogues. If ISIS takes the control of Rojava it will be the end of all this ".
And Kobanê? "It’s now like an enclave. In the region we have seen coming the FSA (Free Syrian Army), the Al Nusra Front, now the city of Kobanê is besieged by ISIS squads. The problem is that the border with Turkey remains closed and Turkey built a wall 5 meters high. No weapons, no medecins not even a bag of rice or a liter of milk goes through the border. Turkey freezes any convoy. So the Kurds fight alone, they are trapped between Turkish soldiers and ISIS gangs and they cannot escape anywhere. But one thing is certain: if the city of Kobanê falls into the hands of ISIS, Turkey will have a huge responsability in the genocide that will follow".