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Olivier Touron July 8, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Syria.

Kurdish demonstration in Derik, Syria 2012

Olivier Touron (b. 1969, France) followed a university curriculum destining him to teach math when he decided to change course and make his passion his profession. In 1999, he joined EMI-CFD and became a freelance photojournalist. Based in the north of France near Lille, he freelances with the French and international press (Géo, Libération, L’Humanité, Le Monde, L’Express, VSD, Pèlerin, La Vie, Marianne, Marie-Claire, STERN, Financial Times, Newsweek Japan). His personal work on the Tunisian revolution, minors and justice and the Kurds, have been presented in exhibitions and books. Olivier also leads photography workshops  and teaches master’s students in Journalism at the Faculty of Humanities in Lille.

About the Photograph:

“I had been commissioned by the magazine Géo France (the feature appeared in the magazine in February 2013) to report on how the Kurds of this region in the northeast of Syria profit from the civil war to further their dream of independence, borne along by the PYD party. At the time the photo was taken, tension was high. During a massive demonstration, the people showed their support for the martyrs of their armed forces killed during battles against the Jihadist brigades Al-Nosra, siding with Al-Qaida, on the western border of their territory, in the town of Serekanié (Ras-Al-Ain in arabic). Kurdish women are particularly present in the struggle. They know even better than the men that they have everything to lose if the Islamist’s are victorious. From a young age the Kurdish girls in the movement are instructed and trained to actively take part in the development of their society.”

“An enclave in the northeast of Syria, the Kurd’s region is a difficult zone to access. Although under Kurdish control, the borders with Iraq to the east and Turkey to the north are closed from the outside. Turkey and Iraq show a practically hostile defiance to the  project promoted by the Kurdish movements. To face up to these threats, the population can only count on itself and its paltry arms and on ASAYIS civil security forces and the YPG military forces linked to the PYD. The YPG are the Syrian version of an armed force developed by the Kurdish guerrilla group of the PKK (from Turkey) called the HPG.”