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Aleppo Burial
Aleppo
By MENA Desk
17 Feb 2016

This video shows Free Syrian Army fighters preparing a grave to bury the body of a young Kurdish fighter, believed to be a member of the PYD, killed during a battle in a northern area of Aleppo, Syria. It is claimed in some reports that the PYD (Democratic Union Party) is affiliated with the Kurdish PKK in Turkey. The FSA accuses the PYD and PKK of collaborating with the government of Bashar al-Assad. The contributor who shot the video says the FSA also claims the Kurdish militia group is using child soldiers. The Assad regime has in the past admitted to providing support to the PYD.

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State Funeral in Ankara 16
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers carry wreaths sent by government officials ahead of the funeral parade for Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK. He has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 17
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers carry wreaths sent by government officials ahead of the funeral parade for Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK. He has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 18
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

A captain commanding the honor guard waits for the funeral parade of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK. He has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 01
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Officers and non-commissioned Officers of the four armed forces of Turkey wait for the coffin of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 02
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Turkish military commanders and politicians wait for the funeral parade of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 03
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Turkish military commanders and politicians wait for the funeral parade of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 04
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Turkish military commanders and politicians wait for the funeral parade of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 05
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

A soldier carries the portrait of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 06
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers carrying the coffin of Colonel Ihsan Ejdar march in front of his mourning family. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 07
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers stand by the coffin of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 08
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers of the honor guard march ahead of the funeral parade of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 09
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

A navy non-commissioned officer directs workers arranging the Turkish Armed Forces' wreaths in front of Kocatepe mosque. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 11
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Workers carry the wreath by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be placed next to the one sent by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in honor of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK. He has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 12
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Workers arrange the wreath sent by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in honor of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK. He has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 13
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

A sign reads "Area for Relatives of the deceased" during the funeral of of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 10
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

The mother of fallen colonel is helped towards the Kocatepe mosque. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 14
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers carry the coffin and portrait of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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State Funeral in Ankara 15
Ankara
By Piero Castellano
18 Oct 2015

Soldiers carry the coffin and portrait of Army Lieutenant Colonel Ihsan Ejdar, 43, killed in combat with outlawed PKK, and who has been laid to rest with a State funeral at the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara on October 18, 2015.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz in Turkey
Turkey, Diyarbakir
By Omar Al Khani
24 Mar 2015

Thousands of Kurds celebrate Kurdish New Years (Nowruz) in the city of Diyarbakir, in eastern Turkey. An ancient Persian tradition, Nowruz is the biggest holiday in the Kurdish calendar and this year it took on a particularly strong political tone in light of the nearby conflicts in Syria.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 01
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Omar Al Khani
21 Mar 2015

A huge gathering of Kurds celebrating the Nowruz holiday.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 03
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Omar Al Khani
21 Mar 2015

Kurds raise the flags of Kurdish political parties, including the outlawed PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party, as they celebrate Nowruz holiday.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 04
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Yasmin.m
21 Mar 2015

Kurds raise the flags of Kurdish political parties, including the outlawed PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party, as they celebrate Nowruz holiday.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 05
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Omar Al Khani
21 Mar 2015

A celebration attendee uses umbrella to protect from the rain.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 06
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Omar Al Khani
21 Mar 2015

A flame of fire during the celebration of Nowruz holiday.

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Kurds Celebrate Nowruz 07
Diyarbakir, Turkey
By Omar Al Khani
21 Mar 2015

A Kurdish woman waves a flag during the Nowruz celebration in Diyarbakir, Turkey.

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Swedish Journalist Reflects on His De...
Al Qamishli
By Bedir
22 Feb 2015

Qamishli, Syria

February 22, 2015

Swedish journalist Joakim Medin talks about his four-day detention in a Syrian government prison in the vicinity of Qamishli, a town in Kurdish Syria he was covering as a freelancer. Arrested at a government checkpoint when he failed to produce a visa, he explains that very few journalists travel to Syria with the necessary legal documentation. Despite the relatively harsh conditions of his confinement - his cell was cold, dark and dirty - Medin says he was treated much better than other prisoners. He finishes by stressing the broader context of the battle of ideas - in addition to the brutal physical struggle - that is still being waged for the future Syria and Iraq - the right of people to live and work their land; the right of religious minorities to practice their faith. This is why journalists must continue to cover these areas in person, even if at times that means doing so without a visa.

TRANSCRIPT AND SHOTLIST

SOUNDBITE (English, Man) Joakim Medin, Swedish Reporter Detained by Syrian Government Forces
00:00

“We were walking down the street down in central Qamishli, on the 15th of February. On this day a lot of people stay away from, from their jobs and closed down their shops and so on, because it was a special memorial day, because of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan on the same day in 1999. There was not so much people and movement, but this same day soldiers of the Syrian government also, for some reason put up a temporary roadblock or checkpoint just outside the government post office of Qamishli. They were stopping cars and checking people. When we passed this checkpoint on the sidewalk, they immediately arrested us and… and in a prisoners’ car and drove us to the local police station nearby. They accused me of not having a visa, a Syrian visa despite being there. “They put us in prison and I was told that they had to investigate this thing out. I explained that yes, this is correct I did not have a visa because this is the way journalists get into this area; an area of Syria that’s been heavily transformed and affected by the war with Daesh [ISIS] erasing the borders. So of course I didn’t have a visa unfortunately. I was told that in a matter of hours – one hour, five hours, ten hours – this matter would be resolved. “You have to stay in prison for this period of time.” However, these hours turned into days.

02:13
“I was treated much differently and better than the other inmates – the other prisoners – they accused the others of being sympathisers with Daesh. They were treated well at all. The situation with them was really bad. But I was locked in a tiny isolation cell. I was isolated from the other prisoners. There was no light, no access to fresh water. It was dirty and I had to sleep on the concrete floor. It was difficult. It was very different from the conditions of prisons in my country. Still, I was better treated. I was not seen as the other prisoners. I could go… I had access to the toilet. After four days, things suddenly changed. They drove an ambulance to the front of the building and we had to get in…”
Interviewer: “Why did they use an ambulance and not a normal car?”
“To get to the airport and not to be seen… I don’t know. We were handcuffed and blindfolded and they drove to the airport where we took a plane to Damascus under other identities. We did not fly under our real name but under false names. I was a 25-year-old man from Spain. Then we came to Damascus and I was imprisoned in the center of one the branches of Syrian intelligence.”

04:05
Interviewer: “And what about the situation in Damascus?”
“In Damascus the situation was sometimes similar. For example, there were also very small cells. [I was] locked in isolation. I wasn’t able to speak to anyone. I had access to nothing, no possessions.” Interviewer: “Did you see any ambassador as they promised you?”
“No, there was no ambassador. When I asked there was no response, really.” Interviewer: “What was the kind of questions?”
“Soon the interrogation…. It was about the cells… We were blindfolded and taken to different rooms where there people asking questions or reading information from a laptop for example. The questions were about why I came. The questions were targeting mainly why I came to Syria without a visa, and I explained to them that this was the only way I thought [I could] this area to be able to report. There were three subjects that I was here to report about: the situation of women, the situation of Christians, and the Kurds and the Yezidis fighting Daseh six months after the massacre in Shingal. “But soon these questions turned into more focus on whether I had some sort of assistance from Turkey and Israel to enter Syria. I explained that this was not the case. I was helped by these foreign countries.” Interviewer: “Have you been threatened in prison, that they will kill you?”
“No, but I felt unconformable. The days kept going and there was no information about… if my embassy was contacted, or if I can contact my family. They specifically said: “No, you cannot contact your family.”
Interviewer: And then what happened?
“Well, until yesterday at lunchtime, still… at least I thought it was very uncertain about what will happen. Still, there was no information. Still, a lot of questions, especially about Israel. Still kept in cells… and suddenly in the afternoon something happened. We were again told that we will fly away from Damascus using, again, false identities. We had to repeat these names over and over. We were told that will go back to Qamishli to be imprisoned there. That afternoon we were blindfolded again and driven in some sort of van with black windows to the airport, where we took a [civilian] plane again and came back to Qamishli. “First we were taken to the same regime prison in Qamishli, and the treatment somehow changed. They were acting different, more hospitable in a way. It was obvious that something had happened. They were very nice and polite. Interviewer: “In your opinion, what happened?”
“Well, we found out a bit later when we were taken to different offices to meet with a lot of people [whose] names we didn’t get, really. I don’t remember them. Suddenly we came to an office where the flag on the wall changed from the Syrian one [to that] of the YPG. That’s when at least I suddenly realized, “Ah! Suddenly we’re safe.” Just like this. Up until the last minute, I had no idea what was going to happen at all. I had no assurance at all about what was happening. “So we were told… we met with Redor Khalil, the spokesperson of the YPG, who told us that the Kurdish forces and the Kurdish administration in the region have been deploying forces and putting pressure on the Syrian government basically from the very beginning to let us go, and when this diplomacy – if you can call it [as such] – failed because of continued misinformation, I guess, then one or several high-ranking officers in the Syrian army – Syrian government army – were arrested by the YPG. Then there was a question of exchanging prisoners. And also, there was the threat of how the YPG would eventually intervene against the government-controlled airport outside Qamishli and basically stop all traffic unless we got released. This pressure eventually… well we got taken back from Damascus to Qamishli, which is not a normal process to happen this fast. And we got released.

10:03
“I and many others still think that this is something… what’s happening here with the… the social situation changes in Syria… the fight against Daesh, the fight to make people stay on their own land, in their own homes, the fight for minorities to stay in their own homes and not be ethnically cleansed by Daesh, the fight for many ideas and things and the war on that… I mean if we want anyone in the world to know about this, any people, we must be able to go. Sometimes it means that you come without a visa, unfortunately. “This is one of the few areas in Syria where we see social mobilization to protect the society in… in… it could stay the way it is not to make it collapse, but at the same time transform it into something better in the meantime. So I think if we want to see the region to be safe to report from and inside, and also see maybe an example of what Syria can like with stability, then this is one of these regions. I think it’s very important to keep coming here to report for the sake of all of Syria.”

11:33
Various of Joachim Medin with Sabri Omar, the interpreter who was arrested with him

Various of Joachim Medin indoors

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Kurds of Three Nations Unite to Fight...
Sinjar, Iraq
By TTM Contributor 33
27 Jan 2015

Sinjar, Iraq
January 27, 2015

Kurdish fighters from Iraq, Syria and Turkey have joined forces to recapture the town of Sinjar in north eastern Iraq.

Forces of the extremist Islamic group ISIS took control of Sinjar, also known as Shingal, in the summer of 2014, killing and kidnapping hundreds of Kurdish Yezidi civilians, including women, and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Fighters from the Kurdistan People’s worker Party (PKK) based in Turkey, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Syria, and the Shingal Protection Units and the Peshmerga from Iraq have united to fight to regain the town.

Joint Kurdish forces, with air cover from international coalition forces, have regained several parts of the Sinjar area.

This video shows fighters from different Kurdish militias in the towns of Snuny and Sinjar. It also features Peshmerga forces transporting aid to internally displaced Yezidi Kurds on Mount Sinjar.

The footage also shows PKK and YPG fighters entering Iraq through border crossings that have recently been open, as well as interviews with militia commanders.

Shotlist and Transcript

R-L pan of male fighters

L-R pan of male and female fighters

Various/ traveling of military convoy

Wide of children waving YPG flag

Various of convoy entering Iraqi Kurdistan

Various of fighters in military position

Traveling of convoy on the road
Traveling of convoy passing by checkpoint
Traveling of convoy at night

Various/ traveling of streets
Wide of military trucks

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Brusek Raha, PKK fighter

03:25 – 08:18

“My name is Brusek Raha. I went to Kobani, where I fought alongside my Kurdish brothers against for more than a month. I fought inside the city [of Kobani] and surrounding villages.

ISIS attacked the city [Kobani] and its surrounding villages with heavy and internationally banned weapons. They bombed the city with mortar shells. They conducted suicide attacks, blowing themselves among us. Most of them were not from the area. They were foreigners, from Chechenia, Afghanistan and many other countries. They did not speak Arabic. We did not have heavy weapons, but we had a strong will and determination to carry on with the resistance.

They attacked us with suicide bombings. They were plenty of them. For example, when we were in the villages, they attacked by the dozens, carrying out suicide operations. In the city, the attack was more ferocious, using tanks and various heavy weapons, especially at the eastern front. On the other hand, there was great resistance from the side of our forces, which shook the entire world. Female comrade Arin Mirkan, who blew herself up against ISIS, was a real heroine.

Some of them spoke Arabic. We used to hear over the walkie-talkies. They were experienced in using weapons and sniper rifles. Most of them were from Chechnya and other countries of Europe, as well as Russia.

I was injured on the eastern front of Kobani, near the Hajj Rasho Mosque, when I wanted to help my injured comrades following an attack by ISIS. The sniper was watching me from the top of a building. I was not afraid of becoming a martyr and I was able to rescue one of our comrades. I was taken to a field hospital. We fought for our honor, dignity and land, and we shall carry on our fight to bring life back to Kobani and the Kurdish people. Turkey and the Freedom and Justice Party kept saying that Kobani will fall, but their dream did not come true. Kobani did not fall; it was victorious since the beginning.

and I had to return. Now, I will take part in the campaign to liberate Shingal from ISIS.
We will defend the Kurdish Yezidi people who have suffered so much at the hands of ISIS. Their women were enslaved and sold in the markets of Raqqa, Mosul and elsewhere.

Our mission as fighter of the Kurdish People Protection Forces, which are part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, is to defend the Kurdish people in the four parts of Kurdistan and all the people in the region who are victim of injustice. We shall push ISIS out of our land and not allow them to return.”

Wide of warplane in the sky

L-R pan of military vehicles and fighters

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Woman) Comrade Pervin, a commander in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ)

08:36 – 12:18

“All of Kurdistan is under attack from this terrorist organisation. Its attacks are especially directed against women and women’s rights. On the other hand, there is a struggle for freedom and justice.

This happened in Shingal, where ISIS assaulted women. It enslaved and sold them in the markets. Our job is to protect women, which is why we are now here, in Shingal. We shall defend Kurdish women as well as all the women in the region from the oppression practiced by ISIS.

We will no longer accept that women be commodity that is sold and bought and raped.

So far, we have sacrificed so many martyrs to accomplish this, as part of our campaign that has been going on for seven months in the Shingal area and the surrounding countryside.

Among our martyrs were Comrade Gian, Comrade Armanj, Comrade Rouny, and a commander in our forces comrade Gian. There have been more than 50 female martyrs. As a result of our comrades’ sacrifices, the city of Shingal has been liberated. The resistance is guided by the ideology of leader [Abdullah] Ocalan and the path of the martyrs. It shal continue despite everything, no matter how strong ISIS is and weak we are.

To obtain liberty for the people, we must take path of resistance and martyrs. Then, we shall surely achieve victory.

Now, everybody knows well who Kurdish women and female fighters are. Here in Shingal we have liberated many towns and made ISIS suffer a lot of losses that they will not forget, especially that were brought upon tem by us, Kurdish women. We shall carry on until the liberation of all our areas from these terrorists.

Currently, fighters from the PKK –Turkey and female fighters from the Kurdistan Women’s Party – Turkey, as well as fighters from Shingal Protection Forces from Iraq, the Kurdish Women, the Kurdish Women’s Protection are taking part in the battles.”

Various of destroyed buildings

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Unnamed fighter from the YPG (Syria)
12:33 – 13:10

“ISIS fighters wanted to blow up a rigged vehicle here but we were able to detonate it before it reached us. They are trying hard to reach us, but they cannot because we are resisting them very ferociously. We killed so many of them. We are Kurdish resistance factions from Syria, Turkey and Iraq. We are all here on the frontline, fighting this group courageously. We shall liberate Shingal from these terrorists and resist till the last drop of our blood.”

Various of snipers shooting

Various of destroyed buildings. NAT Sound: Gunshots.

Various of military convoy

Wide of military officials, reporters walking at refugee camp on Mount Sinjar

L-R pan/ wide of Peshmerga landing on Mount Sinjar

Traveling of refugee tents

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Hasake funeral 01
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 02
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 03
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 04
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 05
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 06
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 07
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 08
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 09
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 10
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.

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Hasake funeral 11
Hasake
By TTM Contributor 33
23 Jan 2015

Funeral of Kurdish YPG fighter Mohamad Turk, held in Hasake, northern Syria on January 23, 2015. Turk was killed the day before in clashes between Kurdish fighters and Syrian pro Assad soldiers.