Former Canadian model Hanna Bohman gave up a glamorous life of photo shoots to join Kurdish troops in their fight Islamic State in Syria. She told RT that the biggest problem is Turkey supporting the terrorists.
“Turkey supports ISIS [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL]. We know it firsthand. It doesn’t seem to get a lot of press coverage in the West – and it’s a shame because it’s better to deal with the problem now than wait until it gets big and almost out of control in the future,” Bohman, 47, also known as Tiger Sun, told RT.
“Right now the biggest problem isn’t so much as ISIS, it’s Turkey supporting ISIS”, she noted, adding that “Erdogan wants to create an Islamic state – he wants to be the sultan.”
Kurdish fighters forced ‘to deal with the problem the West has created’
“The worst thing isn’t what everyone assumes – the killing and the dead bodies. The worst thing is seeing the Kurdish soldiers. They’re young – 17, 18, 19. They’re kids. They are giving their whole lives for this. It’s not like a volunteer going to another country to fight. They are volunteering in their own country. So they really don’t have a choice. They either fight or they end up getting killed anyways. At least they die fighting instead of dying hiding,” Bohman stressed.
“It’s incredibly unfair that they have to deal with the problem that the West created.”
Bohman joined the Kurdish troops battling IS in Syria in March last year and stayed with them for four months. She said there were as many as 300 other volunteers – from South America, Europe, Russia, China and Australia. Joining the Kurdish fighters wasn’t difficult, she said.
“I tried to make contact through a Facebook page, they gave me instructions, told me how to get there to avoid Turkey, which city to go to, and things like that.”
Governments doing nothing to stop ISIS killing the Yazidis
The former model told RT why she decided to go and fight Islamic State.
“It was just an anger with ISIS and the politics being played with people’s lives. I was watching on the news as they were killing the Yazidis in Chingal and things like that, and our governments weren’t doing anything to stop it. It was really the primary motivation for me to go there.”
Islamic State militants have committed numerous acts of genocide against the Yazidis, a Kurdish minority in Iraq, in a campaign they believe will “purify” the territory from non-Islamic influences.
Jihadists on the rampage in Syria and Iraq have kidnapped thousands of women and young girls, committing numerous atrocities, including sexual abuse and forced conversion to Islam to marry jihadist fighters.
Growing up in a society where it’s inconceivable for women to fight alongside men, Kurdish YPJ female forces have been left with no choice other than to engage in a do-or-die battle against Islamic State.
“For IS militants being killed by a woman means going to hell,” one 16-year-old fighter, Chichek, who ran away from home in Turkey to join the YPJ after her parents tried to force her into an arranged marriage, told RT. “That’s why they avoid women’s bullets,” she added. “When IS militants hear female voices they get very scared.”
Speaking about the progress achieved by the US-led anti-terror coalition, Bohman said that along with fighting Islamic State, Washington should also offer “political” support and protection to the Kurds.
“To be more helpful they [the US] have to be more helpful politically for the Kurds to recognize Rojava and to give them support to help build that country up and to succeed so that is not continually attacked by someone else,” she said.
‘As long as there’s internet, ISIS ideology can spread’
According to Bohman, it shouldn’t take more than a year to defeat IS in Syria. The real challenge is to stop the terrorists’ ideology from spreading across the world, she said.
“The physical ISIS in Syria won’t take that much longer,” Bohman told RT. “I’m sure by the end of the year it will be little pockets here and there. Ideologically, that’s going to take a lot longer,” she said pointing out that to defeat them entirely, a joint effort is needed “from everyone else in the world,” not just the Kurds.
“Clearly, as long as there is the internet, as long as the ideology can spread over the internet, there’s going to be other ISIS groups opening up in other countries and causing problems there,” she said.