The life and death of the Syrian journalist Dilîşan Îbiş

The night was dark, Dilîşan wanted to brighten it up with a child’s laugh but did not know that the power of darkness would put an end to her life.

Dilîşan Îbis was born in 1991 in the city of Kobanê. The name Kobanê is directly connected with the memory of failure and victory over the so-called Islamic state. Every person loves their country, but if there is oppression in one’s homeland this love grows immeasurably. When the revolution started in Rojava (Western Kurdistan/Northern Syria), she returned to her city, even though she was studying economic management in Aleppo at that time. After waiting for years, the time had come for her to realize her dream of working as a journalist.

Together with a few friends, Dilîşan founded Radio Dengê Kobanê (The voice of Kobanê). But during an ISIL-issued attack on Kobanê, the radio building was destroyed in an explosion and Dilîşan had to leave the city. After the city’s liberation, Dilîşan and her friend built a new radio station on the ruins of the old building with the help of donations. Her voice was once again heard in Kobanê.

Afterwards, Dilîşan started working for the Hawar News Agency (ANHA). There, she wrote and published news articles in Kurdish, her mother tongue. When the forces of the QSD (Syrian Democratic Forces) started their last operation against ISIL in Deir ez-Zor, Dilîşan went there with two of her colleagues from the Hawar Agency.

On the night of October 12, 2017, many civilians fled areas claimed by ISIL and finally reached the QSD positions. Dilîşan wanted to document this with her camera and approached people to capture and express their joy about the liberation from ISIL through photography. But half an hour after they arrived there, ISIL attacked the civilians, among them Dilîşan, her friends and many children, with a car bomb. The night and the car were the last things that Dilîşan saw. She, her two colleagues and dozens of civilians died in the attack. All that was left was a burned camera containing photos of children.

Since we were work colleagues, I posted the photo of the camera on my Twitter account and every time I look at it, I remember Dilîşan and gain new strength and motivation to continue my work.

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