Raqqa, war and language courses


sdf-fighters16Raqqa used once to be that city, which everyone who was eager to learn about Syria craved for to see. But today, there is no one willing to go there for a visit. Yet all eyes are still fixed on Raqqa, as everyone wants to know what is actually happening there. The fighters who are currently battling ISIS gangs in Raqqa, are like Northern Syria itself multifaceted.

Today we headed together with Ebûd Siriyan to the western neighbourhoods of Raqqa. Ebûd is a fighter with Syriac background and originally from the town of Til Temir and is member of the Syriac Military Council. On our way he played a Syriac song, maybe to draw attention to his distinct language and culture.

For two months now the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the People’s Defense Units (YPG) and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) are fighting fiercely against the ISIS gangs in Raqqa. Half of the city has been already liberated. Hewro Ebûd took us to the active front lines, where clashes were taking place. His name Hewro means ‘comrade’ in Syriac. The Syriac fighters call each other by this term. The roadways of these neighbourhood in west Raqqa have been completely destroyed and the rubble and debris scattered all around made a march almost impossible. We asked Hewro Ebûd what heavy battle could have been waged here to lay waste to these neighbourhoods such dramatically. He gave us an interesting reply, saying: “The ISIS gangs had occupied these buildings you see for three years. Not only civilians have been freed, it seems. Also these buildings have freed themselves from the stench of ISIS.”

Afternoon set in and in a parching heat of 40 degrees pressing down on us, the fighters engaged in a fight shooting bullets in the direction of the gangs. What I learned during my journey was that in a state of war sometimes astonishing measures are taken, like seeing these fighters now shooting with their shirts taken off. As we have been told by the fighters, the ISIS gangs are usually resorting to three main assault tactics, which are land mines, snipers and bomb-laden vehicles. And for this exact reason, we needed to run fast to get from one street to another.

Ebûd led us afterwards to an emplacement where his comrades were stationed, with whom he conversed in the Syriac language. The Syriac language is one of the oldest languages in the Middle East, but was as Kurdish also banned by the Syrian regime and even reached a point to die completely out. Talking about language Ebûd said: “Even though we are now in the middle of a war, we give here Syriac lessons to those who do not know their mother tongue at all. Because Syriac has become an official language in Rojava, and we feel ashamed to say that we do not know our own mother tongue if asked so.”

Maybe if we say that with this war, many things are bend into shape, all the communities living in Rojava and Northern Syria have come to know and cherish each other and everyone determines their future on their own, fostering their distinct respective cultures, the reader might deem it a hyperbole. Yet this undeniable fact we have witnessed in Raqqa with our own eyes.


Source: Firat News Agency

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source: Kurdish Info

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