Ozge Aydin — nom de guerre Ceren Gunes — has been reported killed in action on November 3 in Til Tamir, northern Syria.
A medical student, she defected from Turkey 4 years ago to join the armed communist organisation DKP — Revolutionary Communards Party — in its defence of the Rojava region, in alliance with the Kurdish-led YPG and SDF.
She took part in the battles for Manbij and Raqqa that crippled Isis in Syria.
During 2017 she was chosen to become the commander of the International Freedom Battalion (IFB), a united front of Turkish leftist groups and international volunteers from outside the Middle East.
An anarchist volunteer for the US remembers her as a “dear friend, comrade and a dedicated fighter for women’s liberation.”
He added: “Among other heroic acts she saved the majority of the battalion during a vehicle borne suicide bomb attack.
“She was funny, kind, tough and always concerned with others no matter the ebb and flow of life on the front. I spent months probably adding up to well over a year with her talking, joking, dancing, singing… She was a great friend to all internationalists no matter their background and was just really one of the people that kept the plates of the revolution spinning.”
From Ireland, another veteran of the IFB named her as “my commander for 4 months during a very harsh winter.”
He said: “During this period she fended off 3 major attacks on the unit in a 3 story building we held, once where it got so bad she called a full retreat onto the roof, held her nerve and turned the whole situation around on Isis that they suffered 18 casualties before dawn.”
After the October 9 Turkish-led invasion, Ms. Aydin remained and fought in the city of Serikaniye, a centre of leftist activity, before withdrawing to Til Tamir where the DKP confirmed she had died fighting.
In statement in which they revealed she had been a member of the party’s Central Committee they concluded:
“She did not come to these lands to die but she never hesitated to challenge death… She came to carry the revolutionary and militant accumulation against Turkish fascism. Death will not stop her march. The youth of Turkey will make the ideals of this brave revolutionary woman come true.”
An unknown number of international volunteers remain in the territory, including several from Britain.