UPDATE: Kurdish Fighter Ceylan Özalp Reported Alive; Contradicts Earlier Unsubstantiated Claims

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editor-commen-deskFor War In ContextPaul Woodward finds growing credibility in the “Ceylan Ozalp is alive” counter-story, bolstered by affirmations by Kurdish journalist Müjgan Halis and PKK defense lawyer Ayla Akat Ata. In his comments, Woodward considers these sources authoritative, and is inclined to think they’re likely true. Which reopens questions about Ozalp’swar-in-context-ozalp-alive-report fate, and should spark interest in this mysterious Kurdish fighter’s whereabouts.

Note: The above photo, purporting to be Ceylan Ozalp, in circulation on Tumblr sites, isn’t new, it appeared around the time of the initial BBC broadcast about Kurdish Women fighters.

Here’s the thing: If Ceylan is not dead, and can identify herself online somewhere, or to a reporter, or to someone with a camera, the best and only evidence that truly can confirm Ozalp is alive is Ceylan Ozalp herself.

At the same time, no one has been able to verify that the dramatic claim that Ceylan Ozalp suicide story is true, either. Which lends a degree of credibility to the challenges made by the growing number of skeptics.

I don’t know enough about the sources, and haven’t explored these new reports enough to have an opinion, other than to say, beware of false or premature conclusions. And be thankful that not everyone believes the first thing they read, and considers it a fact. Because so many readers embraced a sentimental narrative about the bravery of a female Kurdish warrior who happens to be photogenic, this is all the more reason to be wary, and to question how the story is being presented. Good update by Paul Woodward, let’s hope we learn more.

War In ContextPaul Woodward:

“19-Year-Old Kurdish Woman Fighter ‘Kills Herself Rather Than Falling into Isis’ Hands’” is a headline appearing in International Business Times, October 3. I referred to the same story in this post, but it appears not to be true.

The first appearance of this story is thought to be this tweet on September 28 from @cansuipek21.

The tragic image of a nineteen-year-old woman fighter killing herself with her last bullet so that she would not be captured by ISIS, must have seemed iconic to many observers — a graphic representation of the plight Kurdish fighters in Kobane face, surrounded on three sides by ISIS while receiving no support from Turkey and very little from U.S. airstrikes. Sometimes a story conveys a powerful truth even when it turns out not to be true. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: IBTimes Reports on Alleged Battlefield Suicide of YPG Fighter Ceylan Ozalp

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“We’re not scared of anything. We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by Isis.”

— Ceylan Ozalp

editor-commen-desk

UPDATE: after several days of trying to find authentication of the Ceylan Ozalp story, we’ve seen a few modest breakthroughs. First, a German magazine picked up the story. And this morning, an item appeared by Gianluca Mezzofiore, an investigative reporter for IBTimes UK. Though it also can’t verify the authenticity of the report on her suicide, it’s the first article in English that we’ve seen to take on the story, and look into it.

It also contains a link to BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse’s report, which I’d missed (we’ve linked Gatehouse’s BBC video, but not the article) It’s possible that Gatehouse is the only western journalist to meet and talk to Ceylan Ozalp while she was alive. And Mezzofiore may be the first investigative reporter to take what has so far only appeared in Turkish media outlets, circulated by pro-Kurdish politicians, and echoed by countless social media sites and blogs, but few, if any, news organizations, or western media outlets. We’ll add new updates as they come.

For example, this tweet appeared about nine hours ago. I wonder what newspaper is displayed in this photo? If anyone knows let us know.

 Syria: 19-Year-Old Kurdish Woman Fighter Kills Herself Rather Than Falling into Isis Hands

For the International Business Times in the UK, investigative reporter Gianluca Mezzofiore writes:gianluca-mezzofiore

A 19-year-old Kurdish fighter who appeared on a BBC report about Kurdish YPG women warriors in Syria has reportedly killed herself rather than falling into the hands of Isis (now known as Islamic State).

Ceylan Ozalp: ‘One of our women is worth a hundred of their [Isis] men’ 

Ceylan Ozalp found herself surrounded by Islamic State forces near the northern Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, where a key battle is raging against the Sunni Islamists’ threat. Read the rest of this entry »


4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Confirmed for Sept 2014 Release Date as Apple Orders 50M iPhones from Pegatron

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

For International Business TimesErik Pineda  writes: The iPhone 6 release date is fast shaping up to become real on September 2014 as mass production of the 4.7-inch version is reportedly already underway, according to new reports.

[See also: REPORT: APPLE ON VERGE OF BUYING BEATS FOR $3.2B]

Reports coming from Taiwan and Japan, which according to MacRumors were picked up by Industrial & Commercial Times and MacOtakara respectively, appear to indicate that Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron has started production activities for the tech giant’s 2014 iPhone thrust.

Pegatron is one of the iPhone maker’s two major mobile device assemblers from Asia. The one is Foxconn, which according to Apple Insider is slated to take up some 85 per cent of iPhone production duties this 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »


Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova Reveals Her Secret Formula: She Starves Herself

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Breatharianism, is a cult that believes food – and possibly water – are not necessary 

Across the pond, Mail Online‘s Deni Kirkova reports:  Ukranian model Valeria Lukyanova, who lives her life as a ‘human Barbie‘ has revealed she doesn’t consume food or water anymore.

Barbie2Some have said she uses plastic surgery and Photoshop to create her doll-like image, but her impossibly thin waist could actually be down to not eating for weeks.

The model, 23, has said she is now converting to ‘Breatharianism‘ – training herself to live off only light and air.

Valeria Lukyonova, the human Barbie, is reportedly not eating or drinking anything anymore

‘In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I’m hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone,’ she has said.

The model and singer’s new vice, Breatharianism, is a cult that believes food – and possibly water – are not necessary.

A breatharian is said to be someone who never eats or drinks as they can exist on ‘cosmic micro-food’, according to the International Business Times.

The practice is criticised as potentially lethal pseudoscience, and several practitioners have reportedly died of starvation. None have submitted themselves for comprehensive medical testing. Read the rest of this entry »


Syrian Electronic Army Hacks US Marines Website

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacked into and defaced the marines.com website in the early hours of September 2.

by AWR HAWKINS

According to International Business Times, the website was restored to normal shortly after the cyber attack took place. The SEA has been involved in numerous cyber attacks over the past six months, including “attacks on the New York Times and Twitter.”

Read the rest of this entry »