Introduction: Cities have always been at the heart of conflicts, and Cizre is no exception. The city was home to a population of Armenians who were persecuted by Ottoman Turks during World War I. As a result, the city has become emblematic of the Armenian Genocide—the systematic massacre of Armenians that took place in 1915. In this book, we explore the history of Cizre and its role in the conflict between Turkey and Armenia. We learn about how Cizre became a hotbed for violence and rebellion against Ottoman rule; how Armenian refugees fled to Cizre; and how Turkish troops fought their way into the city in order to crush resistance.
The Battle for Cizre: The Origin and Evolution of the Kurdish Struggle for Territory.
The Kurdish struggle for territory began in the late 1920s as a result of World War II. The Kurds, who constitute around 20% of Turkey’s population, were located in what is now western Turkey and eastern Syria. At the time of World War II, these territories were part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1944, Turkish troops invaded Syria andTurkey’sncounter-insurgency campaign started. This campaign led to the displacement of more than 1 million Kurds and their families from their homes.
The Kurdish Struggle for Territory: A Timeline.
In 1945, Turkish troops crossed into Syrian Kurdistan and began an all-out assault against the Kurdish people. The offensive was successful and led to the displacement of up to 2 million Kurds from their homes. By 1949, Ankara had reached an agreement with Baghdad under which Syrian Kurdistan would become a separate country called “Syria Britannique” with a French military garrison stationed there. However, this ceasefire did not last long; within a few years, Damascus began to back Baghdad’s efforts to retake control over Syrian Kurdistan while Ankara remained embroiled in a power struggle with Paris.
In 1955, during Turkey’s third president period (1955-1956), Mustafa Kemal Atatürk made regulation changes that led to the foundation of Turkey’s new statehood system based on ethnicity rather than religion or citizenship requirements (Fikret Arslan). As a result of this policy change, many Kurds left Turkey for Syrian Kurdistan in order to join the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which was then leading the fight for autonomy within Syria against Baghdad. In 1957, after months of bloody fighting between PYD and Iraqi forces loyal to Saddam Hussein, Assad emerged as leader of Syria and ruled over both Kurdish Syria and all other parts of Syria until his overthrow by Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
The Kurdish Struggle for Territory: Causes and Consequences.
The Syrian Kurdish struggle for territory was a result of many factors, including the Turkish policy of ethnicity-based statehood, the displacement of Kurds during World War II, the Istanbul Agreement of 1945, the Iraqi invasion of Syria in 1957, and Bashar al-Assad’s rise to power in 2011. These events led to political and social turmoil within Syrian Kurdistan that continues to this day.
The Battle for Cizre: The Kurdish Offensive and the Flamingo Siege.
In the summer of 2016, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced an offensive toliberate the city of Cizre from Turkish occupation. The goal of the Kurds was to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria that would be separate from Ankara.
The YPG had previously attempted to take Cizre in 2013, but were thwarted by Turkish forces. That year, Turkish authorities imposed a blockade on Kurdish-held areas of Syria in order to isolate the Kurds and prevent them from further expanding their territory.
After years of self-imposed isolation, many Kurds within Turkey began to feel pressure to participate in the conflict inside Syria. In response, Turkey began its own military campaign against Kurdish insurgents in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), which saw thousands killed and millions displaced.
The Flamingo Siege: A History of the Siege.
On October 5, 2016, Turkish artillery shelling killed at least 36 people and injured over 150 people when shells hit a hotel near Cizre airport. The siege on Cizre began two days later, on October 8th. The hotel was used as a base for what was called Operation Northern Shield, a counterterrorism operation led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against Kurdish rebels inside Syrian Kurdistan.
The Flamingo Hotel served as headquarters for both Operation Northern Shield and the subsequent siege on Cizre. This particular siege saw heavy bombardment from Turkish artillery and air strikes; between October 8th and November 3rd alone,Turkish shelling killed at least 25 people and injured over 100 more.
Kurdish Struggle for Territory: The Kurdish Faction’s Role in the War.
The Kurdish faction, or YPG, is a pro-democratic revolution group that fought and still fights for the autonomy of the Kurdish region in Turkey. The Kurds have been fighting for autonomy from Turkish authorities since 1923 when Kemal Atatürk became president. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is a splinter group of the YPG that does not share the same goals as the Kurdish faction. The PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkish government forces for over 30 years.
The Kurdish Faction’s Role in the War: The Offensive.
In 2009, Turkish military forces invaded and occupied Iraqi Kurdistan, which was part of Iraq before it was split into two countries. This action caused significant unrest in Iraqi Kurdistan and within the Kurdish faction of the YPG. In response to this invasion, many members of the PKK turned their weapons against Turkish troops and began a five-year-long war against Turkish occupation.
The offensive phase of this war began in July 2009 and ended in October 2014. During this phase, Turkish military forces killed more than 40 percent of all Kurds who had actively taken up arms against Turkish rule. Ibrahim Kalin, an Assyrian Kurd who was also a member of the PKK, said that during this time “the flag [of Kurdistan] waving from rooftop to rooftop…was constantly being replaced by photographs of our dead comrades with bullet wounds”.
The Kurdish Faction’s Role in the War: The Defensive.
During the defensive phase of this war, Turkey deployed large numbers of tanks and artillery to strongholds inside Iraqi Kurdistan to prevent any further insurgent activity. This campaign led to heavy civilian casualties as well as displacement of millions of people.
The battle for Cizre was a major offensive by the Kurdish faction in order to gain territory. The offensive was successful, and the Kurdish faction gained a significant amount of territory. The role of the Kurdish faction in the war, as well as their role in the offensive and defense, is a complex question that still remains unanswered.