Witnessing the battle of light against darkness

Devrim Arjin Amed

RAQQA – Coming close step by step to Raqqa, is the center where women abducted from many cities of the Middle East are brought in. Those are reflected in our lenses through the Operation Wrath of Euphrates confirm once more that this war is the battle between the women who represent the light and the visible face of the dark masculine system.

The dark order of Middle East becomes concrete with Daesh launched a war against women. It is known that thousands of women captured in Mosul and elsewhere are taken to Rakka, the center of Daesh, with the abduction of women from Shengal who pass into history with the most brutal practice that pricks the conscience of the world. Women fighters playing a part in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) take advance step by step in the operation Wrath of Euphrates, in other words ‘Anger of Euphrates’ for all women in the region. As journalists, who follow the resistance of these women who move village by village, we take the memories and photographs of these women.

We came upon the demand of the people!

We came up to YPJ women who have become a source of hope in the area after the Rojava Revolution. They have participated in this operation under the umbrella of the SDF upon the demand of Arab people after liberating the Kurdish region. After a long and dusty journey, we arrived to our first stop with a press army. The weather is cold and the thermometers read below zero. The journalists have the excitement of being closer to the moment of victory without minding anything with fighters. Witnessing the moment of rescuing women and experiencing the enthusiasm of the fighters increase the excitement. While they were fighting with their weapons, we were excited by taking our camera and our pen to not lose any details of the war…

Women are leading

After a long wait, a SDF group greets us. The security measure was taken and many armored vehicles were in line. The YPJ fighters were in every part. They led every part from using heavy weapons and organizing the battle coordination. In a manner of speaking, the name of this war has turned into a war to save the women. In the statement made while launching the operation, it was said, “For rescuing of Shengal women, the women also undertake the command of the highest level”.

‘Because I am Raqqa…’

As the press army, we were following the battle from behind the front. We tried to convince the commanders to follow the battle and female fighters closely but our effort remained inconclusive again! On the second day of the battle and Daesh lost many members. Three of fighters also lost their lives in this attempt. One day after we got this news, we had a chance to go one step further as the areas get cleared from Deash. One fighter named Fırat Raqqa attracted attention with her shining eyes.

We asked her, “Why is your surname Raqqa?” She answered us, “I am from Raqqa and my family still is there and they are subjected to the pressure of Daesh.” She concerned about her family members lives, she continued to talk, and “I and my two cousins joined the YPG after Daesh occupied Raqqa. One of my cousins was captured by Daesh and they beheaded my cousin. My other cousin was a commander in Kobanê and she had a leader role in the battle….” Later she expressed her hope and said, “We will take Raqqa back”.

Every family has a lost story

On another day, the numbers of people on mountain arouse our interest. The families’ members, who heard that the SDF fighters encircled Raqqa and the liberation of the city was close, went to the SDF part. We met a woman named Emine (65) and she told us Daesh abducted five of her daughters and two sons. We come across a lost story in every family like Emine. Many families didn’t want to talk because their children were still in the hand of Daesh.

This is the battle of light against darkness

One night, all journalists were writing the articles and they discussed how they could write the heavy war. In the morning, we heard gunshots and we were waiting without knowing what was going on. A woman shouted to us, “There is an attack, everyone should leave their place”. Then clashes continued for hours and we heard two blasts. Two Daesh members with commando dresses blew up themselves. Female fighters were at the forefront in that clash. Peyman, member of the YPJ, approached to the gangs’ members and saved the lives of most of us.

I fasted when we heard that we would be rescued

Behind the scene of the battle of light and darkness, I met a woman over the age of 50 on migration route. She spoke in Arabic with a smile on her face and said, “I fasted when we heard that the SDF would liberate our village”.

Liberation is not enough, account must be given…

I looked at the children around her, as if they had a festival. There is hope in their eyes. I know that these children’s hope will come true and the liberation is close, but I cannot help thinking that this is not enough. Those who make these people suffer must be called to account. Not only those are seen but also the forces behind them must be called to account that time the fate of this geography will be changed.