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Border Fuckery At Semalka...Again

By The Renegade






Scenes from Semalka Border Crossing today. (Photos: The Renegade)

This is Semalka Border Crossing at the northeastern edge of Rojava, one day before an announced closure. Today (May 17) is the last day for all non-trade civilian crossing until the Tigris is sealed off for an indefinite and unknown period of time by the Turkish state-aligned Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). For the second time in two years the KDP made this unilateral decision, attempting to suffocate the communities of Rojava by eliminating their mobility.


Above a Tigris of many invisible borders, one swims in an endless river of vehicles among mothers and children crying, a stream of families descending on the front entrance with hopes of getting across. Many families are left stranded and split apart by a weaponized riverine border. Others are desperate to cross it for a wide range of reasons, urgency varying from financial security to life-saving medical care.


At the intersection of three nation-states and two autonomous regions, Semalka/Pesh Khabour remains one of the most weaponized border crossings on the planet. Here the Syrian, Turkish, and Iraqi states stalk and subsume the Autonomous Administration and Kurdistan Regional Government, a colorful array of flags found on many a building and bureau looming over the river as packed buses cross to and from.


The Barzani dynasty of the KDP, which controls the Pesh Khabour half of the crossing, has closed Semalka/Pesh Khabour on multiple occasions, frequently playing border games under pressure from the Turkish state to keep a hard lock on the lungs of Rojava and its communities.

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