NUJIN DERIK: Female Kurdish militia leader widely reported as killed by Syrian Arab rebels turns up alive

By David Enders – McClatchy Newspaper –  17.11.2012 –  : A female Syrian militia leader widely reported 10 days ago as killed by anti-government rebels has turned up alive and apparently well, according to a video posted on the Internet Sunday.

 Nujîn Dêrîk was captured by rebels fighting to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad late last month when rebels entered Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and clashed with the militia she led – evidence of the complexities of Syria’s ethnic fault lines. Her death, supposedly at the hands of the rebels, was widely circulated by news agencies after it was reported Nov. 2 by the PYD Kurdish militia and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization that tracks Syria’s casualties. But on Saturday she was welcomed with tears and celebratory gunfire in the Kurdish town of Afrin, north of Aleppo. While she provided no details of her two weeks in rebel hands or how she came to be released, she offered support for the rebel cause in the video, which was posted on YouTube and also broadcast by a Kurdish-language satellite television channel.

“I bless your struggle, I’m happy for you,” she said. “I thank the resistance and I like them and I will do whatever they want.”

Derik, whose Kurdish had a pronounced Turkish accent, also made reference to Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of a larger Kurdish armed group, the Kurdish Worker’s Party, or PKK, which has fought a decades-long guerrilla war in Turkey. Ocalan has been in a Turkish prison since 1999. The United States, the European Union and Turkey have labeled the PKK a terrorist group. “I hope that by our movement we will gain the freedom of our leader,” she said.