British woman fighting ISIS goes on hunger strike to support Turkish prison protests
The first British female fighter to join the battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, Kimmie Taylor, has gone on a five-day hunger strike to demonstrate solidarity with inmates protesting prison conditions in Turkey.
Thirteen prisoners charged or convicted of being members of Kurdish groups began the hunger strike on February 15 and have since been joined by dozens more in eight other prisons, according to Kom News.
Taylor, 27, has been fighting with the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), an all-female affiliate of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Kurdish-populated part of Syria. She is part of the Rojava Revolution, a left-wing Kurdish movement that operates in northern Syria.
Taylor, who also goes by the name of Zilan Dilmar, is currently thought to be on the outskirts of IS’ stronghold, Raqqa, ahead of the final offensive to storm the city.
“I am going on hunger strike, as of tomorrow, for five days, in solidarity with our comrades in the illegitimate prisons of Turkey, against worsening prison conditions and rights violations. Join me,” Taylor, who is originally from Liverpool, wrote on her personal Facebook page on Wednesday.
“I’m not on the frontline for this time, so please respect my decision rather than telling me what you know better about war zones and hunger strikes,” she added.
Political prisoners in Turkey’s Sakran Prison in Izmir launched the hunger strike to demand that an end be put to isolated detentions, guard raids on cell blocks, and a ban on books and social activities, as well as the prevention of social interaction.
They are also demanding that the Turkish government return to negotiations with Kurdish political groups and meet with imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Speaking to the British media earlier this year, Taylor said, “I’m willing to give my life for this. It’s for the whole world, for humanity and all oppressed people everywhere.
“It’s not just [IS] killing and raping. It’s systematic mental and physical torture on a scale we can’t imagine,” she stressed.
Last month, Taylor said MI5, the UK spy agency, is targeting her family, who are now “afraid for their safety.” She said her family members have been visited by counter-terrorism police in their homes, and had their laptops and phones confiscated.