The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp

Ceylan-Ozalp

“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

Updating from our original post: In Memory: Ceylan Ozalp, Kurdish YPG Fighter. There’s a lot of interest in this story, so I’m reposting it, and adding new information as it becomes available. Unfortunately, so far, the sources for these reports are social media posts, often from political rivals, propagandists, and sympathizers, parties that aren’t disinterested observers.  It’s unclear if this is accurate, but here’s what we have so far.

The first is from Free Kurdistan, Tumblr site, and it offers no link or outside verification.

Ceylan Ozalp (19), known from the BBC report about Kurdish YPG Women fighters led today with several comrades in the northern Syrian Kurdish city Kobani resistance against the ISIS terrorists.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

Surrounded on all sides and set under attack, she lost all her friends. She fought alone against the supernumerary terrorists. When she had no more ammunition and recognized the hopeless situation, she said goodbye over her radio and killed herself with the last bullet so that she don’t to fall into the hands of the rapists.

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

Rest in Peace Heroine

via Free Kurdistan

[Also see our item from Sept 12, 2014 – Women Fightin’ Islamic Gangstas]

Reports of Ceylan’s alleged battlefield suicide have been circulating in social media, picking up momentum over the last few days, including traffic that comes here, from others seeking confirmation.

This morning I sent a message to Gabriel Gatehouse, the BBC reporter who may be the only western journalist to have met Ceylan Ozalp, in hopes he can help clarify. I’ll add more here as information develops. Here’s Gatehouse‘s BBC video report.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

This morning I noticed the beginning of #CeylanOzalp

The largest 2nd largest source of traffic to our Sept 28 post comes via a LIVE LEAK’s post. It includes an unsupported claim that claim that Kurdish defensive positions were bombed by the U.S., resulting in up to 15 Kurdish casualties in Yarubiya (misspelled, of course) and smears Ceylan Ozalp’s legitimacy in what appears to be little more than a thinly-veiled celebration of Ceylan Ozalp’s alleged suicide. Or not. It’s hard to tell.

While we await additional confirmation of Ceylan Ozalp’s reported battlefield suicide, here’s an update for Thursday, Oct. 3rd 2014.

UPDATE: German Magazine BILD Features Ceylan Özalp Story — ‘Peshmerga Fighter: Suicide Out of Fear of ISIS Rape’

And these are the older updates.

The comments section offers little that could substantiate the original story, aside from sentimental glorification of Ceylan Ozalp. Other searches turn up links and sources that aren’t in English. The most recent being the one mentioned above, from a German magazine.

UPDATE: imgur.com linked the photo of Ceylan Ozalp

UPDATE: This morning another addition to Twitter’s emerging #CeylanOzalp thread

Developing…

Read the rest of this entry »


Women Fightin’ Islamic Gangstas

women-fighters

Photo by Mohammed A. Salih

Guerrillas from Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party are on the front lines in northern Iraq. Half of the organization’s leaders, including 24-year-old Avesta, are women.

MAKHMOUR, Iraq — Mohmmed A. Salih reports: Avesta enters the cramped room in a teachers’ residence turned temporary military base, ready for a meeting with her fellow fighters. The six commandos rise to shake her hand. She greets each individually. “Hello, heval,” she says, calling them by the Kurdish word for comrade. Then she lays down her Russian sniper rifle, and tea and coffee are served.

“Avesta attended an intense boot camp where she was immersed in the party’s revolutionary leftist ideology and view of women’s role in society, and trained to use weapons.”

The Islamic State’s fearsome fighters are just around 10 miles away, but the Kurdish snipers, some still teenagers, are mostly relaxed. They debate the merits of drinking coffee versus tea, discuss the situation in the camp, and joke with each other. “You are very photogenic,” one of the fighters tells Avesta cheerfully as she poses for a photo. She smiles shyly as others burst into laughter.

“The organization’s rules prohibit romantic relationships, and the fighters have little access to their families.”

Avesta is only 24, but she looks much older, with piercing gray eyes. Her long face is wrinkled and roughened; her hands are calloused. Her sniper rifle is at her side at all times; when it isn’t hanging from her back, it’s resting within arm’s reach — a constant companion to her uncertain life as a Kurdish guerrilla. Read the rest of this entry »