Turkey: Anti-ISIS Civilian Border Patrols

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From the beginning of the battle for Kobane, many volunteers from numerous districts around Turkey gathered in the villages close to the border to help patrol the border and prevent ISIS fighters from slipping in and out of Syria. Despite the fact that that Kurdish forces have now cleared Kobane of ISIS fighters, volunteers still patrol in the villages close to the border, fearing ISIS remnants will slip through.


Interview with Halit Çelikarslan – Villager
00.37– 00.50: Since the first day of the resistance, from different parts of Turkey, even from abroad, people came here, with the aim of helping the people resisting in Kobane.

00.52 – 00.56: We received help from them.

00.57 – 01.26: Usually young people and women were coming here. They worked united, stayed in tents for days in bad weather conditions and served the cause in many ways.

Interview with Emin Baran – Lawyer and Volunteer aid worker in Suruc
01.31 – 01.36: Why were the border patrols initially started?

01.36 – 01.43 People were passing the border from Kobane to here, so people felt obligated to welcome them, since their passage was stopped frequently [by Turkish border patrols].
01.44 – 01.46 [Turkish] Soldiers tried to keep them in restricted areas.
01.47 – 01.53 Some of them [refugees] were injured. So, to have a front group on the border became necessary.
01.56 – 02.04 After the displacement came to the end, people kept patrolling in order to ensure that ISIS would not get help in Kobane.
02.05 – 02.10 Essentially, it was aimed to not letting ISIS gain strength in Kobane by using Turkish land.
02.18 – 02.28 The border patrols had two purposes. First, to show the people of Kobane that others are supporting them in their resistance.
02.29 – 02.35 Second, to narrow the movements of ISIS in Turkey. [Turkish] Soldiers blockaded the villages in which people were border guarding.
02.36 – 02.46 Every time the [Turkish] soldiers tried to force people to leave the [border] villages [which were located literally right beside ISIS held areas]. ISIS attacks gained enormous strength, immediately after.
02.47 – 02.50 Without exception, this happened each and every time.

Interview with Figen Yaşar-Mayor of Mus Bulanik from HDP
02.52 – 02.56 We initially came here during the beginning of the resistance in Kobane.
02.57 – 03.02 We first watched the border for seven days, during the peak of the clashes.
03.03 – 03.07 After, we went back to Muş and Bulanık, where we came.
03.09 – 03.16 During our second shift [on the border] we stayed here for nine days. Those days the clashes were really severe.
03.17 – 03.23 From Kobane to the air, smoke and fire clouds were raising.
03.24 – 03.30 We brought 12-13 martyr bodies to our village alone.
03.31 – 03.37 They were all the children of this land. Some of them joined to the war three months ago, some five months, and some six years.
03.39 – 03.46 Kobane has been cleansed [of ISIS fighters], but there are hundreds of villages connected to the Kobane [which ISIS controls].
03.47 – 04.02 Until the villages of Kobane are liberated, until the people of Kobane go back their homes and settle there, the people of Kurdistan and Turkey will guard and keep guarding.

Interview with Head of the security in the Village-(Name withheld)
04.07 – 04.13 I am responsible for the security of this district. I have been here for 95 days.
04.13 – 04.19 We explain to the border guards how to prevent ISIS from crossing.
04.20 – 04.23 Usually they cross from this district.
04.25 – 04.29 The ones who want to participate can easily cross the border.
04.30 – 04.36 As you see, that's the border for the guards. Between 6 pm and 6 am people [civilians] keep guarding.
04.38 – 04.42 There are other check points in other villages.
04.43 – 04.50 When they see them [refugees] from the distance, they inform us and we help them through.
04.54 – 04.57 The border guards notices us.
05.03 – 05.04 “hello” “hello”
05.10 – 05.11 Are taking over the shift?
05.11 – 05.12 Yes, two people in each shift.
05.19 – 05.20 Thank you.

05.28 – 05.29 We keep guard here, we can't leave.
05.29 – 05.31 We came for the shift change. You can leave now.

Filiz Aydın - Volunteer Watch Guard
05.34 – 05.42 We began guarding when ISIS come to Kobane. Not only in this village, but also in others.
05.43 – 05.55 The reason I keep guard is to prevent ISIS soldiers crossing the border. I also lost my brother at the war.
05.56 – 05.58 Not in Kobane, but in Rojava, in Serikani, I lost my brother.
05.59 – 06.04 My brother might be still alive if we watched the borders in Serikani.
06.06 – 06.14 It was his cause, and if we have the same cause, if we want his dreams to come true, we can also contribute.
06.15 – 06.25 Not everyone can get involved in armed battles in the mountains. Not everyone can fight in Kobane, but you can do whatever your hands find to do.
06.27 – 06.32 We say Kobane got liberated, but some of the villages are still under the siege.
06.33 – 06.39 Even if Kobane is cleansed [of ISIS], it's not just Kobane. Until Rojava gets liberated...
06.41 – 06.47 As I said it's not only about ISIS, it was first Al-Nusrah, Al-Qaida, and now ISIS.
06.48 – 06.54 There is Qamishle, Afrin... Until Rojava is completely cleansed,
06.55 – 07.05 Until the canton's [Rojava] political autonomy is recognized by the world, this is my opinion, the threat won't be defeated.


  1. 00.00-00.13 : Celebration of Kurdish people after victory (amateur footage from a local)
  2. 00.14-00.20 : Black Screen
  3. 00:20 - 00:34 : Refugee kids burning fire at the village centre.
  4. 00:35 - 00:40 : Local family from Mizeynter Village
  5. 00:40 - 00:49 Interviewee Halit Klilcarslan, Local
  6. 00:49 - 01:01 : Refugees and Volunteers watching Kobané during the clashes
  7. 01:01 - 01:13 : Sleeping tents for of the volunteers in the Village
  8. 01:13 - 01:21 : Interviewee Halit Klilcarslan, Local
  9. 01:21 - 01:30 : Plain Suruc, Kobane-Turkey border
  10. 01:31 - 01:45 : 3 photos by a local from the first day of the displacement, refugees attempting to cross the Border
  11. 01:45 - 01:57 : Interviewee Emin Baran, Lawyer and Voluntary Humanitarian Aid worker from Suruc
  12. 01:58 - 02:14 : A house occupied by ISIS in Kobané, can easily be seen from the Turkish side behind the border
  13. 02:14 - 02:18 : Interviewee Emin Baran, Lawyer and Voluntary Humanitarian Aid worker from Suruc
  14. 02:18 - 02:40 : Turkish army patrolling along the border line
  15. 02:41 - 02: 46 Group of volunteer watching guards waiting for their shift
  16. 02:46 -02:52 Interviewee Figen Yasar Mayor of Mus, Bulanik from HDP
  17. 02:52 - 03:00 Refugees and Volunteers watching Kobané during the clashes
  18. 03:01 - 03:12 Smoke on Kobané during the clashes
  19. 03:13 - 03:26 Shot from the burial of Kurdish fighters died during Kobane war.
  20. 03:27 - 03:39 Refugee Camp in Suruc