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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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Kurdish Women Help Liberate Village f...
Al Hassakah
By TTM Contributor 33
03 Mar 2015

Telbrak, Rojava, Syria

This video depicts the March 3 liberation of the village of Telbrak, a part of Hasakah province in northeastern Syria, 45km south of Qamishli, a strategic point in the war between ISIS and Kurdish forces. The latter included the Women's Protection Units, People's Protection Units, the al-Sanadeed forces, who are descendants of the tribes of Al-Shummar, and the al-Mondaweya tribe, which fights under the umbrella of the Kurdish forces. The international coalition also took part.

Telbrak and its rural areas had been under the control of al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate. According to the contributor of this video, Syrian regime forces declared they had in fact liberated the area and were occupying the village. However, the heavy presence of Kurdish forces and Kurdish delegations proves the contrary, according to the contributor.

Video description:

Shots of the destruction caused by fighting between Kurdish forces and ISIS; ISIS writings and mottos; shots of the city streets; shots of the Kurdish forces in the city, in addition to Kurdish military vehicles and flags.

(02:03-03:42) An interview with Doctor Nasser Haj Mansour, the responsible of Kurdish forces affairs: (Man, Arabic)
This visit is for many reasons, one of the most important reasons is to visit the People's Protection Units and al-Sanadeed forces, to encourage them after their successful operation in Telhamis, and liberating Telbrak, and to check on people around here. And to deny what have been said about violations and killings in the area, the committee includes officials from the self-directory, most of them are in the level of ministers and committee officials, we are here and we did not see any violations, not in the villages nor in the center of Telbrak.
Interviewer: What is the total area that you have liberated?
I cannot determine a certain number of the size of the liberated area, but i can tell you that from the line of Telbrak, until Jazaa, and the Iraqi-Iranian borders is free of ISIS members. Now the battles are in the south of Telbrak and Telhamis going towards the southern rural side of this area.

(03:42-04:51) Interview with Akram Mahshoush, leader of Kurdish delegation: (Man, Arabic) The operation taken by the People's Protection Units YPG, Women's Protection Units (YPJ) , and al-Sanadeed forces to clean the area of Tebrak located between al-Hasakah and Qamishli from ISIS members who killed people and destroyed areas, confiscated people's farms, and forced them to pay Zaka.
We came to see what happened, and to say to the people who are claiming that People's Protection Units have come to invade the area, we tell them, we did not come to invade the area. People's Protection Units worked on liberating the area because it is a part of Syria and we are all Syrians, and what we want is for life to return to this area.

(05:28-05:57) Interview with Hussein al-Khattab, an Arab member of Kurdish forces: (Man, Arabic)
We came here to retrieve Telhamis, we went through many villages and reached Telbrak, we liberated the areas and thank God none of our men died.

(08:05-09:03) Interview with a female Kurdish field leader, Narkaz Botan, (Woman, Kurdish)
“We began the liberation operation of Telhamis and Telbrak, and we liberated the two towns and many villages and compounds. We have strong willpower, and our fighters were persistent in finishing off ISIS and kicking them out of the area. So the people of our area – Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and Assyrians – can live peacefully. Our raid was huge and successful. We killed many ISIS members and the area in general has come under our control. The raid will continue until we clean the entire Jazira area of them."

(09:0-10:15) Interview with a Kurdish female fighter, Jinda Kamishlo: (Woman, Kurdish)
“We are very happy to have liberated Telbrak and Telhamis from the cruelty of ISIS, who were raping and lashing women. The liberation process was successful. We are now in March; Women's Day is approaching and this holiday, the women of the two towns will be free, safe and away from ISIS. We will celebrate Women's Day in Telbrak, the single biggest blow against ISIS ideology, which considers women to be objects that are bought and sold. People in this area and in Kurdistan and Rojava are happy with this victory. And we ask God to give us more power to be able to eliminate ISIS from Rojava and Syria. We are happy, and I do not know how to describe it. Victory is ours and is dedicated to our people, and our great leader Ocalan, who is considered the leader of the revolution of Kurdish women and led us to this level, thanks to his ideology and instructions.”

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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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“Until the Last Drop of Blood”; Syria...
Hasaka
By TTM Contributor 33
01 Feb 2015

Hasaka, Syria
February 1, 2015

Dozens of Kurdish fighters killed in various battles were buried during a large ceremony at the Martyr Khelil Sarukhan cemetery in the city of Hasaka, northeast Syria.
There have been heavy battles between ISIS and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for several months, mostly centered in the city of Kobane. Unprecedented clashes also erupted on January 17 between the YPG and Syrian regime forces outside the city of Hasaka, killing more than 20 Kurdish fighters and civilians were killed in this fighting.
Hasaka is part of the autonomous region in Syria proclaimed in by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the umbrella group with which the YPG is affiliated.
The PYD has been previously accused by members of Syrian opposition of collaborating with the Syrian regime.
This video shows the burial ceremony, during which families of killed fighters appear gathering, holding YPG flags and reading verses from the Quran. Video also includes interviews with a female Kurdish political militant and the wives of two fighters killed in battles with ISIS.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of Asayesh (Kurdish security force) members
Various of women weeping next to graves
Medium of boys watering plant on a grave
Wide of fighter talking to woman in the graveyard
Various of woman crying next to fighter’s grave
Wide of male and female fighters standing next to a grave
Wide of people at cemetery entrance
Various of children holding YPG flag in the cemetery
Wide of people at cemetery entrance
Various of mourners near the grave of Asayish member
Wide of graves
Wide of women sitting near a grave
Medium of woman reading Quran
Wide of a dug grave
Wide of people at cemetery entrance
Wide of female militants searching a woman at the entrance of cemetery
Various of cemetery entrance
Wide of convoy
Various of procession to carry bodies of fighters to the cemetery
Wide of coffin
Various of female fighters preparing for ceremony
Wide of people gathered at the entrance of cemetery
Wide of Nawal Kelo, Kurdish Political Militant

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Woman), Nawal Kelo, Kurdish Political Militant
04:49 - 07:06

“About the latest events in Rojava [Syrian part of Kurdistan], the Syrian regime was not convinced that the YPG was an umbrella for all the free people in Rojava and Syria, without consideration of religion or race. The regime did not acknowledge that the YPG will win against ISIS, which the regime has created, especially in Kobane. “The regime tried to relieve ISIS from pressure in Hasaka, thinking that it could have full control over the events. The regime wanted to destroy everyone and then destroy the YPG, but it was faced with strong fighting form the side of the YPG, which has also been strong in the face of ISIS. Many died from the regime’s side, also about 20 Kurdish civilians and fighters died. The YPG will protect the area and all of Syria, and it will not disappoint the public. ISIS is the creation of the Syrian regime and its former friend [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. At the end, they will taste their own medicine and they will be forced to acknowledge the power of the Kurdish people and its free will, which are above all other laws.”
“The resistance and victory in Kobane proved to the world the free will of the Kurdish people as well as the rest of the Syrian population. We will lead ourselves. We have institutions lead by the Kurdish administration; we have councils and military forces. We will resist until the last drop of blood. Our people have free will and are bonded to their land. Those who do not have free will or a higher aim are ISIS and the Syrian regime.”

Various of Zouzan, Female Asayish Member whose husband was killed in a battle with ISIS

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Woman) Zouzan, Female Asayish Member whose husband was killed in a battle with ISIS
07:18 – 08:28

“I am a member of the Asayish, the Kurdish security forces, and the wife of martyr Hoker. I carried my husband's weapon after he died and swore to continue his fight until we clean Rojava from ISIS and the regime. I have children, and I insist to avenge my husband and defend my country and my land, we will fight until the last drop of blood.” “I do not know why everyone is against us, Kurds. They want to take our women, kill our children, evict us, murder us. We are Kurds and Muslims. What do they want from us? With the blood of our martyrs we will destroy the terrorists, and live safely and freely.”

Medium of Zouzan, Female Asayish Member whose husband was killed in a battle with ISIS
Various of Salma Muhammad, the widow of a fighter killed during a battles with ISIS

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Salma Muhammad, the widow of a fighter was killed by ISIS
08:49 – 09:50

“What is happening is not in ISIS’ interest. If ISIS goes a step or two in the direction of Rojava, especially Qamishli, the young and adults will carry weapons. We will not leave them. We will resist in the west of Kurdistan. The regime should recall what the sacrifices and martyrs offered by the Kurds to revive Syria. Now, we want Syrian to be a democratic nation. We are not demanding independence. Why are these martyrs falling? Each martyr… we send a thousand salutes to the leader Abdullah Ocalan – salutes that bear the scent of martyrs’ blood. ‘Apo’ should know that we are sacrificing to have democracy according to his great ideas. We do not accept any other form of democracy.”

Cutaway – medium of Salma Muhammad
Various of burial
Wide of group carrying flags