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French Fighter Joins Kurdish Militia ...
Outskirts of Ras al-Ayn (Serekaniye)
By Bedir
21 May 2015

Ras al-Ayn (Serekaniye), Syria

A French fighter, who introduced himself as 'Roj William,' explains in an interview why he joined the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia's fight against ISIS. The interview was conducted in French.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
21 Mar 2015

On 21 March dozens of Syrian Kurds in Qamishli celebrated the Nowruz, the beginning of the Kurdish New Year.  

Since both militias have been engaged in a decisive and difficult battle to drive ISIS from northeast Syria, symbols of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militias were widely present during the celebration. 

Qamishli is controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG and YPJ, and has declared autonomy over majority Syrian Kurdish areas that are collectively known in Kurdish as Rojava.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli, Syria. The Nowruz has nationalist as well as cultural significance for Kurds around the world.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. Syrian Kurds were not allowed to celebrate the Nowruz in public before the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women and men perform a traditional dance during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. Qamishli is part of a de-facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria, controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women carry torches during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli, Syria. Kurdish women have had a large role fighting in the ranks of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militia against ISIS.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A young Syrian Kurd carries a torch during a Nowruz celebration in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A Kurdish girl stands during a minute of silence in remembrance of fallen Kurdish fighters.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women march during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men and women carry torches and Kurdish flags during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women are pictured during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish women are pictured during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Young Kurdish men march during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

A Kurdish woman carries a torch during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Kurdish women declare victory as they gather around a bonfire during a celebration of the Nowruz in Qamishli. The ritual fire symbolizes revival at the beginning of the New Year.

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Syrian Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Qami...
Syria
By Bedir
20 Mar 2015

Kurdish men and women dance around a bonfire and brandish the People's Protection Units (YPG)' s flag during a celebration of Nowruz in Qamishli.

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Kurds Mourn the Deaths of British and...
Derik, Syria
By TTM Contributor 33
14 Mar 2015

The body of Ashley Johnson, an Australian fighter in the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG), was taken from Syria to Turkey at the Derik border crossing. Johnson, who joined the YPG six months ago, was killed on 25 February when the Kurdish militia retook the strategic town of Tal Hamis in northeast Syria from ISIS.

This video shows the procession in which Johnson’s body was taken from Syria to Turkey. It also shows the body of former British Royal Marine and Peshmerga fighter, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, who died on March 4, being taken from a hospital in the Kurdish city of Derik to Iraqi Kurdistan through the Simalka border crossing. Scurfiled was also killed in the battle to retake Tal Hamis.

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American and German Vow to Remain in ...
Serekaniye
By Bedir
10 Mar 2015

Serekaniye, Syria
March 10, 2015

An American and a German fighter have joined the ranks of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) to fight against ISIS. They are positioned outside the majority-Kurdish city of Serekaniye in northeast Syria, known in Arabic as Ras al-Ain, waiting for the next battle to erupt.

The American fighter, who was interviewed and introduced himself as Richard Jones, plans to return to the United States once ISIS is defeated. On the other hand, the German fighter, who goes by the name of Hans Schneider, says he is willing to stay in Rojava – the Syrian part of self-proclaimed Kurdish homeland – after ISIS is pushed out in order to help the Kurds build the country they have long fought to establish.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Traveling of German fighter identified as Zagros walking with Kurdish fighter
Various of female Kurdish fighters
Various of US fighter Richard Jones and two German fighters identified as Hans Shneider and Zagros
Various of a group of Kurdish fighters
Various of German fighter Hans Shneider walking
Various of US fighter Richard Jones and two German fighters identified as Hans Shneider and Kurdish female fighters

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Richard Jones, American YPG Fighter
02:49 – 05:48
“Right now we are heading back to the town that we came from. So hopefully everything will go smoothly and it will be safe to ride back. “Right now we’re at one of the bases at the front. We’re at a vantage point on a hill where we can see the villages that Daesh controls. The villages here and here are known areas where Daesh resides. They control these areas. The ground in between, here and there, is contested. Anyone who tries to go into these areas or engage in fighting… hopefully then we can push forward and capture these towns and push ISIS back, eventually pushing all the way to reach Kobani. “I think it is likely. Obviously Daesh wants to do something to show that they are still powerful after losing such a big town as Kobani where all the world was watching. So I do expect Daesh to choose another major area to push in and to attack, to try to show that they still exist and they can still defeat the Kurds. However, I do not fear that Daesh will have a great success here. And I know that the YPG and the YPJ can defend their land. “Interviewer: So, you are ready to defend this area if they start a new attack on Jazeera [area in northeast Syria]?” “Absolutely. If they want to come, I’m ready to fight. “I do. I hope that the international community will see that the Kurds are not just fighting for the place where they live, they are fighting a terrorist organization that goes against the entire world. The fact that they’re here in Rojava does not mean that tomorrow they will not be in another country. We see the attacks in France; we see the attacks all around the world. And we know that ISIS hates these people. They hate everyone that’s not themselves. I do think that the world is obligated to come to assist. Not just for the Kurds to have Rojava, but also so that this terror organization could be defeated. “My name is Richard Jones. I’m from America. I’m here in Rojava to help the Kurdish people fight against ISIS – against Daesh. I’ve been to the front several times and I hope to be able to continue going to the front and fight against Daesh. So far there’s not been much fighting at the front areas. Both sides have been waiting for the other side to make a move. But I do know that soon the fighting will increase and there will be much more action at the frontlines. Interviewer: Are you ready to stay here for a long time?
Absolutely. I’m here to fight against Daesh and I want to stay here as long as Daesh exists. When Daesh is done, when ISIS is finished, then I can go back to America.”

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Hans Schneider, German YPG Fighter

05:50 - 08:32

“I will not tell you my real name. People call me Hans Schneider; Kurds call me Agit. I came here to help the Kurds in their fight against the terrorists in Rojava. Interview: How long can you stay here?
I can stay as long as I want. I’m young; I’m healthy. I don’t have a home to go back to, so I can stay as long as I need.
Interviewer: Why are you here exactly?
Exactly, I’m here to help the Kurds in their fight against the terrorists and of course to help them fight for their freedom because the Kurds deserve their own country. They have been fighting for a long time and it will go on for a long time, I believe. Yes, I’m here to help them.
Interviewer: The guns that you have with you in the YPG are they enough for you to fight ISIS or do you need more?
When ISIS is out of Rojava, the Kurds will work more on their infrastructure and with things like that I can help them too, of course. To build up their military or build their infrastructure; their logistical system and transport – everything.
Interviewer: Do YPG fighters have enough weapons to fight ISIS or do they need more help from outside?
Yes, they could… It would be better if they could get more help from the outside, like training, equipment, weapons, heavy weapons, equipment like bulletproof vests, every kind of protection, weapons, ammunition, artillery, heavy weapons, everything.

Interviewer: OK, thank you.

And of course, of course… humanitarian help like food and shelter for the poor people and maybe education. You can help the Kurds in every way. Every kind of help is good.
Other countries [should] stand up and start to help the Kurds gain their freedom so that they can improve and build their own country and territory.”

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Texan Explains Motives for Joining Ku...
Tal Tamer
By TTM Contributor 33
09 Mar 2015

Tal Tamer, Syria
March 7, 2015

George, who declined to give his last name but prefers to go by Fat Jack, sold his possessions in San Antonio, Texas and bought a plane ticket to join Kurdish forces battling ISIS in the Hasaka province of Syria, a strategic village near the Iraqi-Syrian border whose Christian, Kurdish, Assyrian and Arab inhabitants had mostly fled. Perturbed that "no one was doing nothing" to stop the spread of the militant group and curious to know "how a normal person would come to fight evil", he joined the YPG.

Though Fat Jack admits there are sizable military and cultural differences between Americans and Kurds, and that the language barrier has been substantial, he also says that he decided to join the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) because they were "good" people whom "he could trust."

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Wide of town and YPG flag
Various of female and male Kurdish fighters near Humvee
Traveling of YPG vehicle passing a checkpoint
Wide of female and male Kurdish fighters
Wide of town and fields. NAT Sound: Gunshots
Wide of ‘Fat Jack’
Various of town and fields
Wide, R-L pan of ‘Fat Jack’ driving off in a pickup truck with YPG flag
Wide of fighter going into armored personnel carrier with YPG flag
Wide of tank with YPG flag
Wide of ‘Fat Jack’ getting into a pickup truck with YPG flag
Wide of fighters near YPG vehicles
Wide of ‘Fat Jack’ parking pickup truck
Wide of tank with YPG flag. NAT Sound: Gunshots
Wide of ‘Fat Jack’ stepping out of a pickup truck with YPG flag, talking to Kurdish fighter

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) ‘Fat Jack’ American volunteer with the YPG
03:42 - 07:41

  • Your name and where you are from.

  • I go by Fat Jack, my American nickname. I’m from San Antonio, Texas.

  • Why did you decide to come here?

  • The only way I know how to fight Daesh [ISIS] with people I could trust.

  • How did you see the situation here in Rojava [Syrian part of Kurdistan] during the clashes?

  • Originally since I’ve been here? I heard about Daesh in the media for a long time. Nobody was doing nothing. On the internet, I found out about the YPG. I started doing my homework. That’s how I got... I sold my stuff, bought a plane ticket and came on.

  • Can you talk about the situation more? About Rojava, the people here? The clashes?

  • Well there’s the culture difference that’s kind of a… wow! But the people are good people. The language barrier has been a bit of a problem. The people here, you know, they’re nice people. That’s the reason I came with the YPG. I trust them; they’re Kurdish, their reputation… so that’s how I came here just to… simply to fight Daesh.

  • And how did you decide to participate [with] the YPG against Daesh?

  • I guess I’ve seen a story of an American that came over. That night I was like… wow! You’ve got lunatics from all over the world that come to join Daesh, and you always wonder how these lunatics from all over the world come together. Much less find one more, but how do you find thousands? And then I was wondering how would a normal person come to fight evil? About three days later, that’s when I found the story about an American that came over. That’s how I ended up here.

  • Your last message to the world – if you want to send a message to the world or say anything.

  • Daesh has to be stopped. I mean, no matter where you are; what country or religion; your politics, murder and rape is evil. I mean in Daesh they murder… they rape and murder… they murder children and they would be speaking God’s name in their mouth while they murder. And just…

  • Can you please describe the clashes now in Tal Tamer?

  • From my point of view, it’s different. Our militaries are different. It’s just different. I don't know how to....”

Various of Kurdish fighters and military vehicles

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Destruction and Relief Accompany Libe...
Tal Hamis
By TTM Contributor 33
02 Mar 2015

Kurdish and Arab commanders explain the significance of the liberation of the village of Tal Hamis in the broader struggle against ISIS in northeastern Syria. Suleiman al-Shemri, military leader of the Al-Sanadeed forces - themselves the descendants of the Al-Shummar tribe from which various ISIS fighters have been recruited - describes how the three-day battle to liberate the village was in response to pleas from the village's diverse population hailing from various tribal backgrounds. The film also depicts widespread scenes of destruction in a village that, while verdant, has been given over to abandon.

Shot List:

Shots of the destruction caused by the 3-day battle
Shots of some ISIS symbols and pronouncements
Shots of the city streets and road signs
Shots of the Kurdish forces in the city with the vehicles and flags of the Kurdish forces on a strategic hill in the city

Transcription:
(02:22-04:26) Akid Derek, field commander in the YPG:
(Man, Kurdish)

Telhamis was a center for the Syrian regime but they relinquished it about two years ago and it fell under the control of those terrorists. Our raid started from more than one angle. We began in the town of Jazaa, which is located on the border of Kurdish Iraq, and from the village of Palestine, until we reached here. People's Protection Units and Women's Protection Units along with several supporting Arab forces were able to liberate areas in order to reach Tel Hamis. Coalition air forces were available but not with the required intensity. The liberated area is very big and even reaches the town of Telbrak.

Civilians gradually began returning to their homes and are now free after having suffered under the control of ISIS. We talked to the inhabitants of the liberated villages who confirmed that members of ISIS had seized their property and belongings and evicted them from their homes and villages. At this moment we are going to continue with our raid until we clean the area of members of ISIS, who are now about 30km from Tel Hamis in the area of al-Hol.

ISIS placed mines in parts in the village and in cars too. Some of them are still underground and our specialists are working on deactivating them. We have imprisoned many members of ISIS in this raid, and our forces killed dozens of them. We have 30 ISIS corpses.

(06:30-10:00) Suleiman al-Shemri, military leader of the Al-Sanadeed forces
(Man, Arabic)

Interviewer: tell us about the raid, who participated in it? And how long did it take to liberate Tel Hamis?

Suleiman: The raid began on 21 February 2015 and lasted three days. With the help of God we were able to accomplish our goal. We started this raid as an answer to the request of the population to fight those people who are not related to Islam, based on the request of the inhabitants of Tel Hamis, the people who are the tribes of Sharabeya, Shummar, and Tay. It was based upon their request that we came to Tel Hamis, a center for ISIS.

Interviewer: Why is Tel Hamis significant?

Suleiman: It is an area that connects Iraq and Syria, a strategic location for ISIS.

Interviewer: you, the Al-Sanadeed forces, participated with the YPG in the raid. Who else participated?

Suleiman: The participants in the raid were the YPG (People's Protection Units), the Women's Protection Units and the Al-Sanadeed forces. The Al-Sanadeed made up about 1200-1300 fighters in this raid, but the inhabitants also helped us, while the coalition air forces played a significant role. Almost 200 members of ISIS were killed, and we imprisoned others, but do not know the number of captives. The Peshmerga also helped us from the border.

Interviewer: How many villages were liberated? How big is the liberated area?

Suleiman: We liberated almost 150 villages in the first few days and up until now have done so in about 200 villages.

Interviewer: How far is ISIS now?

Suleiman: They are in al-Hol now. Yesterday the fighters liberated Telbrak, and now we are heading to al-Hol, and then hopefully on to Iraq. People are asking for our help and we are always ready to help people – to fight the enemies of Islam.

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Kurdish, Arab Forces Retake Strategic...
Tal Hamis
By Bedir
28 Feb 2015

Tal Hamis, Syria
February 28, 2015

On 27 February Kurdish and Arab militias recaptured Tal Hamis from ISIS, a town located in the Hasaka province of Syria and some 35km south of Qamishli, a major regional city on the Turkish border that has been hotly contested by ISIS and Kurdish forces in recent months.

Fighters involved belong to various Kurdish militias: the People’s Protection Units (YPG); the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ); and the Shengal Resistance Units, in addition to Arab forces known as Jaish al-Sanadid (The Army of the Brave) which are affiliated with the influential Shummar tribal confederation.

Shummar tribes, for their part, inhabit areas that stretch across Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. An influential ISIS commander in Raqqa originally from Saudi Arabia, known as Abu Abdullah Daigham, is from one of the Shummar clans.

According to field commanders interviewed in Tal Hamis, ISIS fighters fled strikes on the ground and airstrikes carried out by the international coalition on Tal Hamis before heading to desert areas in the south of Hasaka province. Commanders also said their forces were preparing to take control of the road between Raqqa province in Syria and Mosul province in Mosul, both of which are major ISIS strongholds. Military commanders said that ISIS fighters had been using Tal Hamis to launch artillery and car bomb attacks against neighboring areas.

Tal Hamis had been under ISIS control for a year and a half and most of its civilians, ethnic Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and Assyrians, have fled to Qamishli.

SHOTLIST

Wide of road; road sign reads “Tal Hamis”
Wide of male and female fighters entering Tal Hamis
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Wide of lettering on the wall “There is no God but Allah. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”  
Various of lettering on walls in Kurdish and Arabic apparently left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Moving shot of room interior – ISIS flag on the wall
Moving shot of combat fatigues scattered on the floor
Close-up of what appears to be a logbook left by Kurdish ISIS fighters
Lettering on the wall in Kurdish; lettering in English reads “Be careful of our sniper Abu Dujana Al-Kindy 143/4/2014”
Interview with Assi Dahham, commander of Jaish al-Sanadid commander (SOUNDBITE)
Various of two fighters inspecting destroyed tank
Wide of YPG convoy
Interview with Idris Qamishlo (nom de guerre), YPG Commander (SOUNDBITE)
Interview with Sarhad Hemo (now de guerre), YPG fighter (SOUNDBITE)
Traveling of grain silos
Wide of Kurdish fighters inspecting ammunition(SOUNDBITE)
Various of fighters near destroyed buildings
Wide/ R-L traveling of buildings and YPG flags
R-L traveling of town

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Kurdish Forces Take Back ISIS-held Vi...
Tal Hamis
By TTM Contributor 33
24 Feb 2015

Tal Hamis, Syria

February 24, 2015

The YPG began a military operation on 21 February 2015 to retake a village 42km southeast of Qamishli called Tal Hamis and which had been occupied by ISIS for over a year. With the support of the coalition air force, they were able to reclaim 25 villages and a residential area of roughly 50 square kilometers, in addition to killing over 16 ISIS members and taking their munitions.

The battle began on three fronts, southeast of Qamishli, south of the town of Tel Maarouf, and southwest of Kahtaneya. The YPG used heavy weaponry, tanks, armors and cannons. Meanwhile, the coalition air force targeted many areas controlled by ISIS, leading to the death of dozens of its members.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of YPG fighters preparing for military operation

Wide of shops

These photographs depict the conflict

Travelling of smoke

Moving shot of armoured excavation vehicle

Various of YPG tanks and military vehicles
Various of YPG fighters
Wide of shots with broken windows
Wide of YPG fighters
Wide of smoke rising
Traveling of field, smoke rising
Traveling of closed shops
Traveling of fallen electric cables
Wide of YPG armored personnel carrier
Various of fighters

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Younes al-Jabouri, Arab YPG fighter
03:52- 04:45
“In the name of God, The operation began yesterday when the YPG liberated 30 villages all the way to [UNINTELLIGIBLE] and we killed around seven [fighters]. We will continue; we are getting closer to Tell Hamis, and we will keep going from Syria into Iraq. Wherever we find terrorism, we will fight it. My nom de guerre is Abu Kassar [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Yasser Khaniqa, YPG field commander

04:48 – 05:30
“We started the operation yesterday to liberate most of the areas occupied by ISIS. We liberated 30 villages starting with rural Qamishli and heading toward Tel Hamees in the southeast. The operation is continuing with positive results: dozens of villages have been liberated, such as Taya, Kherbet Tair, Farsook, Taweel, Deibe, Naege, not to mention many farms. They also killed over 16 members of ISIS. The operation will continue until we have liberated all the areas and the people can return to their villages.”

Various of Yasser Khaniqa handling weapon
Various of fighters preparing food in the outdoors
Various of military vehicles
Traveling of two fighters walking with their rifles

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Javan Mohamad, Kurdish fighter

08: 01 – 08:30
“We were able to reach Tel Hamees; we liberated dozens of villages; members of ISIS are escaping because of our strikes; we killed dozens of ISIS members; our operations will continue; we will win.”

Traveling of road

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Together in Kobane: Former Refugee Re...
Kobane
By Bedir
10 Feb 2015

Kobani, Syria
February 10, 2015

After leaving her hometown of Kobani and living in Turkey for several months, Siddiqa Barkal was happily reunited with her husband and two sons who remained in the city to fight against ISIS. Siddiqa’s three daughters and her youngest son were also rejoiced to return with her.
Siddiqa’s husband, Ismat Sheikh Hassan, is the head of the Defense Committee in the Kobani Canton, part of the autonomous district proclaimed by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, known by the Kurdish acronym PYD. He was widely quoted by Western media during the battle for Kobani.
Siddiqa says that she was very sad to leave her hometown and live in exile, despite the warm welcome she received in Turkey. She took the risk of returning to Kobani even before ISIS fighters were defeated because her young children could not bear living outside their city.
In Kobani, Siddiqa stood by her husband, sons and other fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) during the battles and made them food until they won over the battle against ISIS.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of family in living room

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Woman) Siddiqa Barkal, Refugee Who Returned to Kobani

01:01 - 09:45

“We left when ISIS attacked Kobani on [September] 20. We did not leave willingly. We wanted to stay in Kobani and live with the comrades and fighters. We wanted to be martyred with them. Seven days after I left Kobani with my children, they convinced me of returning. We returned but could not enter. My children and I stayed in Suruc. They did not tolerate to live outside Kobani. They kept saying that they wanted to return. I had three girls and a young boy with me. Even though my children could not live outside of Kobani, the situation there did not allow us to return. The father of my children and two of my children were fighting in the city. The rest of my children and I were very worried about them. My young son Hamza used to cry and say, ‘I cannot stand living outside Kobani because my friends are not here. I feel lonely when I am outside my city.’ In Suruc, my children and I were living in a house. My children never left the house during the day. On certain days, they used to sleep during the day and stay up at night watching television. On the 25th of the month, my older daughter went to Kobani. She called me, saying, ‘I cannot take it anymore. My father and two brothers are in Kobani and I need to go and see them. I want to stay in my city, Kobani.’
“I had many friends and acquaintances in northern Turkey who offered to let me live in their homes. I went near to Kobani on several occasions. My young son and I cried as smoke was rising from the buildings. The sound of explosions and gunshots was heard. Warplanes were bombing and the city was being destroyed. We were very worried about our friends who were fighting to defend the city. One day, I decided to return to Kobani while ISIS mercenaries were still there. I called my daughter then to tell her that we were coming and she told her father. My husband called me, saying: ‘Why did you not tell us that you were coming?’ I returned to Kobani and he was very happy. Some were worried that my children would be affected by the scenes of killing and destruction. There were also worried that ISIS was still there. “I used to make dinner for the fighters on the front and help them. We never thought that ISIS could have control over us. Many people used to ask me whether Kobani will fall or not. I used to say to them that Kobani will never fall and that it shall be victorious. 'We will fight until the last drop of our blood and the last stone in the city.’ I kept saying this to the women and mothers. The ideas of leader Abdullah Ocalan were behind the victory. Male and female fighters are fighting by relying on their own capabilities and conviction. They were not pushed by anyone; they were not forced to do this. They are fighting with their hearts, which is why they will achieve victory. For example, when you make a child carry something, he will carry it but he might fail. If he carries it with his own will and strength, he will succeed. The young men and women came from all parts of Kurdistan. We consider the member of the People’s Protection Units and the Women’s Protection Units our sons and daughters and parts of our bodies. They are sacrificing their lives for their land, which is why we will achieve victory. “I cannot describe the way I felt when we returned to Kobani. We felt so much joy. My little son Hamza was thrilled because he returned to his friends. I asked my son on our way back, ‘Who do you want to see first, your brothers or your father?’ He said: ‘I want to return to my friends.’ Friendship is more important for him. When I was in Kobani, I was very happy to see the comrade fighters. I did not believe that I was actually with them, and that I was embraced by Kobani. When the comrade fighters liberated Kobani from ISIS mercenaries, I was trembling. I was so happy that I did not understand what was happening. I asked a woman near me: ‘Am I in Kobani? Has it been liberated?’ “I cannot describe the joy I felt. When I left Kobani, I felt as if one of my sons or the father of my children was martyred. We all cried when we left. Even my young son went to the comrades and held their hands, saying: ‘I want to stay in Kobani and be martyred.’ When I left Kobani, I was told that I would return in seven days. My son was fighting on the eastern front, where battles were the fiercest. I did not tell anyone that I was leaving. When my son heard about it he said: ‘Mother, why are you leaving?’ I told him that I was not leaving willingly, and that I was leaving because the comrades wanted me to. When I left, I did not bid my sons farewell. It was a very painful moment. I cannot forget that moment. The moment I crossed the border was very painful. I cannot describe it. “Now that Kobani has been liberated, people will return to the city in the next few weeks. Those whose houses were destroyed will rebuild their houses. We have to help each other, take care of ourselves and return to our previous lives. We will live a happy life. Rojava [Syrian part of Kurdistan] will be fully liberated from ISIS mercenaries, especially that they were defeated in Kobani. The People’s Protection Units and the Women’s Protection Units have pledged to fight ISIS wherever they were. We, the people, should help the members of these forces who are sacrificing their lives for the homeland.”

Various of family inside the house
Various of young Hamza
Various of family and guests in front of the house

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Returning to Kobane
Kobane
By Bedir
07 Feb 2015

After four months of war and siege, residents of the Syrian city of Kobani have begun returning to the city to see what is left of their homes. 

The fighting left %50 of the city destroyed and for many, there is little left to come home to. While residents salvage the remains of their homes, the battle continues in the surrounding villages between the Kurdish YPG and ISIS.

Syrian photographer Massoud Mohamad accompanied the returning residents to document their journey. 

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Wounded Dutch Kurdish YPG Fighter (re...
Qamishili, Syria
By Andrew Nunn
23 Jan 2015

Interview with Richard Jansen (aka "Sarahat Bhotan") at Qamishili YPG Military Hospital, "Nexwesxaneya S.Xebat"

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Dutch Fighter Wounded in Battle for S...
YPG medical clinic in Al-Qamishili, Syria
By Andrew Nunn
23 Jan 2015

In the city of Qamishili, inside of Rojava Syrian Kurdistan, a Dutch man is recovering inside of a hospital for the Kurdish fighters of the YPG. He was reportedly wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device in the city of Shingal, where the battle against the Islamic State is in full swing.

“I just don’t know what happened. Someone got I.E.D. on me. I don’t remember anything. I just remember, they told me I got an I.E.D. on my head. They screwed me over. I just don’t know what happened, man. Just blacked out.”

Dr Abat Abu Mohammad, "Sarahat Bhotan... (Alias, actual identity withheld) When he came to us from Shingal, he'd been hit with shrapnel and he was in shock. When he came the surgeon and all the doctors gathered in. We called more doctors, and all of them came. The comrade was in a coma when he got here and there was some shrapnel in his head and his face and hands. The shrapnel came from bombs and a mortar rocket -- what the Islamic State terrorists are using. We did an operation, and took the Shrapnel out of his head, two pieces of the shrapnel were large pieces, and we were just hoping for our comrade to live. He spent five days in the intensive care unit. He's been on IV infusion and some things and he's started to get better and better.”

While the Dutchman known as Bhotan by his comrades in the YPG, fights to make a full recovery, the YPG and many other Kurdish factions of the Peshmerga continue to fight for the city of Shingal and Sinjar Mountain.

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Dutch Fighter Wounded in Battle for S...
Al-Qamishili, Syria
By Andrew Nunn
23 Jan 2015

In the Kurdish controlled city of Qamishili, Syria, a Dutch man is recovering inside of a hospital for the Kurdish fighters of the YPG. He was reportedly wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device in the city of Shingal, Iraq, where the battle against the Islamic State is in full swing.

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Western Lions of Rojava: Dutch Citize...
YPG Hospital Qamishili
By Andrew Nunn
20 Jan 2015

In the city of Qamishili, inside of Rojava Syrian Kurdistan, a Dutch man is recovering inside of a hospital for the Kurdish fighters of the YPG. He was reportedly wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device in the city of Shingal, where the battle against the Islamic State is in full swing.

“I just don’t know what happened. Someone got I.E.D. on me. I don’t remember anything. I just remember, they told me I got an I.E.D. on my head. They screwed me over. I just don’t know what happened, man. Just blacked out.”

Dr Abat Abu Mohammad, "Sarahat Bhotan... (Alias, actual identity withheld) When he came to us from Shingal, he'd been hit with shrapnel and he was in shock. When he came the surgeon and all the doctors gathered in. We called more doctors, and all of them came. The comrade was in a coma when he got here and there was some shrapnel in his head and his face and hands. The shrapnel came from bombs and a mortar rocket -- what the Islamic State terrorists are using. We did an operation, and took the shrapnel out of his head, two pieces of the shrapnel were large pieces, and we were just hoping for our comrade to live. He spent five days in the intensive care unit. He's been on IV infusion and some things and he's started to get better and better.”

While the Dutchman known as Bhotan by his comrades in the YPG, fights to make a full recovery, the YPG and many other Kurdish factions of the Peshmerga continue to fight for the city of Shingal and Sinjar Mountain.

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German Citizen YPG Fighter Interview ...
YPG Base in Ras Al Ayn
By Andrew Nunn
29 Dec 2014

40 minutes of raw footage, B-roll and, interview of westerner from Germany fighting with YPG "Lions"

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Securing the Sanctuary: YPG Fighters ...
Afrin
By Shirwan Qasim
04 Nov 2014

November 4, 2014
Afrin, Syria

While the Syrian-Kurdish cantons of Kobane and Qamishle remain under ISIS pressure and siege, the third Kurdish canton of Afrin is preparing to face any threats that may come its way and continue to be a refuge for minorities and other civilians fleeing ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the Syrian Government. Part of these preparations involve the establishment of training camps for fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG. The commando training camp on the outskirts of Afrin is run by a woman named Busayna, who honed her military skills in the Qandil mountains of Iraq and now teaches them to the fighters of Afrin. Together with their male counterparts, the women of the YPG are now playing an integral part in securing one of the last safe Kurdish refuges in Syria.

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Inside Kobane (Video)
Kobane
By Shirwan Qasim
27 Oct 2014

Kobane, Syria

This video shows the destruction inside Kobane after weeks of ISIS siege. Conditions in the city are dire as medications are not available. All Kurdish fighters in the city are volunteers. This footage was shot on Kobane's eastern front, approximately 400 meters from the nearest ISIS position.

Male YPG Fighter:

"Nobody can beat the Kurdish population. I want to ensure the Kurds that no power can take Kobane, or evict us from Kobane. We will not allow anyone to enter our land. If we lose our land, we lose our dignity and honor."

Injured Child:

"ISIS have attacked us from the telecommunication tower. My mother and I were going to get water, and we were attacked by snipers."

A female fighter from the women protection unit of the YPG:

"I joined the women protection unit to protect my people and my country."

"The criminals who are attacking our homes, our children, and our siblings have taken everything in the city and left nothing for us. I ask all the men who left the city to return to it and defend it. I invite them to carry their weapons because each and every one of us is entitled to do something for Kobane."

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Inside Kobane
Kobane
By Shirwan Qasim
18 Oct 2014

Kobane, Syria
October 18-22, 2014

As the battle for Kobane rages, one journalist smuggled himself into the besieged battle zone get a first hand look at the destruction wrought on the this small, but strategically important Syrian city.

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Syrian Kurdish Female Fighter Trainin...
Kobani
By hoger
17 Oct 2014

October 17, 2014
Kurdish training camp located between Qamishli and Kobane, Syria

Kurdish women who signed up for a military training camp to defend their towns from ISIS, speak about the reasons why they decided to join the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG). Most are motivated by a desire to help repel ISIS attacks on their homes. They speak also about their lives in the camp.

Note that any woman who joins the force is given a new name, different from her original.

Shot list:

Fighters training (both women and men)
Interview with female fighters
Female fighters eating lunch
Female fighters shooting
Kurdish female fighter at checkpoint
Photos of fighters who lost their lives in the conflicts
Female fighters marching

Sound Bites:

(02:38) Naline, a 19-year-old fighter from al-Qamishli: I was a school student, every time I went to school I felt fear, so I quit temporarily to defend my land and country, to protect my friends from the fear that I felt and to help people live in safety and security. I sacrificed my future to help build other's (02:45).

نالين (19 سنة) من قرى ريف القامشلي تقول: "كنت طالبة، وكنت اذهب دائما الى مدرستي والخوف ينتابني لذلك تركت المدرسة مؤقتا كي ادافع عن ارضي ووطني وازيل الخوف عن صديقاتي الاخريات ولكي ينعم الناس جميعا بالامان". وتضيف: "ضحيت بمستقبلي كي أبني مستقبل غيري".

(01:25) Zaline, a 21-year-old fighter: We carried our weapons and went to the front to fight ISIS, our enemy. They fear our weapons and are shocked by our strength. Life here is not ordinary, you do not find the lies, the betrayal and the hypocrisy you find in a normal life. Here you find true friendship. We want everyone to know that a woman is not different to a man when it comes to defending her country. We ask women all over the world not to underestimate themselves and believe that they are able to accomplish anything (02:00).

زالين (21 سنة) المقاتلة تقول: "حملنا السلاح لنقاتل في جبهة واحدة، يدا بيد. العدو المتمثل بتنظيم "داعش" وغيره (من المجموعات) يخشى سلاحنا وقد تفاجأ بقوتنا. الحياة هنا تختلف عن الحياة العادية، فهنا لا يوجد كذب أو نفاق أو خيانة. هنا، تفتدي (كل مقاتلة) الأخريات بروحها، والصداقة موجودة بأسمى صورها ومعانيها. نريد ان يقتنع الجميع بأن المرأة لا تقل عن الرجل في ما يخص الدفاع عن الوطن، كما نطالب نساء العالم جميعا بألا يقللن من شأن أنفسهن، وأن يقتنعن بأن المراة باستطاعتها فعل أي شيء".

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Female Kurdish Fighters-10
Tirbespi
By Rozh
10 Mar 2014

Argin, 18, at a checkpoint searching incoming cars in front of a military camp of the Women Protection Units (YPJ) in the predominantly Kurdish town of Tirbespi northeast Syria, March 2014.