On Feb. 4, the slogan “Biji Berxwedana Efrîne”—Afrin Resistance, in Kurdish—rang out in the streets of the city of Afrin, in northwestern Syria. Filling up the main avenue of the city, 100,000 people demonstrated against Turkey’s military attack and in support of the resistance by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the YPG/YPJ (People’s Protection Units and Women’s Protection Units).
“The YPG/YPJ and the SDF are us, the people,” a speaker said on the microphone. And the atmosphere prevailing here was one of popular resistance. Almost all the families have relatives and friends who are fighting, and young people who have not joined the military forces are stepping up to give support behind the frontlines. For instance, they are helping the Kurdish Red Cross treat the wounded.
For the past 21 days, this patch of land inhabited by one million people has been resisting against NATO’s second-most-powerful army: all the modern technology of war, from fighter jets to the latest generation of tanks, up against an army of the people, armed with just Kalashnikovs, a few armored vehicles and some heavy machine guns.