When 28-year-old Bagok Kullervo (Kullervo Bagok) was transferred at the end of last year in a reserve, he already knew, that will not remain for long in his hometown in the North of Finland.
Almost everything was ready. In January, Kullervo went to Syria.
“I left home and went here. I’m here now,” says Kullervo on the phone.
“Here” is in Syria. Kullervo is fighting in the Detachment of the people’s defense Kurdish army (YPG), which is ready at any moment to go to Raqqa.
Raqqa is the last Bastion of the radical Islamist terrorist movement ISIS (is banned in Russia — approx. TRANS.). The aim of the Kurds and Kullervo is the capture of the capital of the “Caliphate” and ultimate destruction of ISIL.
When Kullervo, in February, arrived in Syria, to his great surprise he met the troops of the Kurds another Finn, 23-year-old Ariel Servana (Ariel Shervan).
Kullervo, and Ariel have formed a Finnish unit in the Detachment people’s self-defense. They are the personnel of the Finnish officers who had served in the Finnish army. “We are both reserve officers, Junior lieutenants,” says Kullervo.
The names “Bahok Kullervo” and “Ariel Sherwani” sounds a bit strange. This is a military call sign used by the Kurds themselves and foreign volunteers.
“Bahok is a mountain in Kurdistan. Kullervo is my favorite character from the Kalevala epos, this name I wanted to show my Finnish origin,” says Kullervo. In Finland he studied literature.
Ariel got his call sign from a deceased comrade. “There are often take the names of dead comrades, to the memory of them lived,” says Ariel.
Their real names or Finnish Kullervo or Ariel do not want to call, for security reasons, never and never can be sure, when the war against the terrorist army.
Ariel is the second time fighting together with the Kurds. Kullervo came in early February.
There was no personal relation to Syria or the Kurds have not.
Why did they left home so far?
“I noticed that we are able to do their job. I thought, why not benefit from their skills,” says Kullervo.
“ISIS fighters are killing and raping civilians. In my opinion, it makes no difference who you are — Finn, Kurd or Arab. I believe that it is morally justified struggle.”
Lately, Ariel has worked in Finland, a security guard at the reception centre for refugees in southern Finland. This work became the decisive factor for departure for the war.
“People are treated as if all asylum seekers are potential terrorists. After all, no one Finn, no idea about the conditions that forced people to leave,” says Ariel.
“I have seen families with children who were forced to leave their home”.
The wind prevented conversation.
Kullervo and Ariel serve in Syria to the international division, which also serve as volunteers from USA, Italy, Canada, Spain and France. The reasons for the formation of such a unit caused by the need. According to Kullervo, the volunteers from Western countries die because they do not understand the command in the Kurdish language.
Units have no permanent locations and permanent task, they go wherever they are ordered.
“The plans of group of national self-defence are also part of our plans,” says Kullervo.
What plans, if the plans of the people’s protection Units? If Kullervo and Ariel are fighting against ISIS, then what are they fighting?
The people’s protection units are fighting the left wing of the Kurdish party Democratic Union (PYD). Therefore, they have attracted many foreign volunteers, which in their views are left-wing. “We have a lot of anarchists and Communists, I, too, left, says Kullervo. But the political programme of the division is missing”.
His comrade-in-arms Ariel said that politics was not involved and did not even know that the people’s protection Units belong to the left before he went to Syria.
“In Finland I was not involved in politics. Political views was not a motive for coming here, says Ariel. — Began to understand politics only here.” The ideology of the people’s protection Units manifests itself in everyday life of soldiers, although everyone in the Department came from the West.
“We try to understand the culture of the Kurds, eat together, and all decisions that do not relate to military orders, decide by voting. However, when we go into battle, we act in accordance with the military hierarchy and strictly execute orders of commanders,” says Kullervo.
Kullervo and Ariel themselves have recently become reservists, but in Syria, their duties also included training soldiers what they were taught in the Finnish army.
The same training the Kurdish soldiers of the Finnish officers carried out formally within the framework of a military operation. Why Kullervo had not gone down this path?
“I thought about it. But I understand that the defence Forces of Finland may be totally different to do with whether I continue to serve in the military realm. And this is a concrete way to help. If I were a doctor, would be able to work through the medical organization. But I am a soldier,” says Kullervo.
So, you guys are the Finnish reserve officers who are fighting in foreign non-governmental forces. What will happen when they return to Finland?
Kullervo says he tried in vain to figure it out. He was asked about it of a friend who is studying law. A clear answer to this question is no. According to the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Finland, service in foreign armies is not in itself a crime.
When Kullervo went to Syria, he said the Ministry of foreign Affairs that goes to Syria to fight. He’s also going to tell us about your experience, if you come back from Syria.
Have to say “if”. Because in the war you can die.
About twenty volunteers from Western countries who fought in the army of the people’s self-defense, were killed.
The day of the interview one of the soldiers of the Detachment was wounded. Prior to that, one of the “classmates” Ariel, who graduated from high school at almost the same time with him, was killed by falling shell fragments in the head.
Troops, in all likelihood, expect a battle for Raqqa. It will be very dangerous. It will be the last stronghold of the terrorist organization if and when the fall of Mosul.
The last Bastion of the “Caliphate” will defend to the last drop of blood. From Mosul, threatened defeat, have begun to arrive troops to protect Raqqa. In raqqa is now about 20 thousands of Islamists.
“We saw fresh pictures of Raqqa from satellites looks pretty depressing,” says Kullervo. ISIL’s fighters very effectively able to lay mines and use of vehicles with suicide bombers.
“From time to time they fill the truck with explosives and send someone to our position.”
Syrian defense announced in mid-April that they begin the fourth phase of the battle for Raqqa, whose task is the mastery of the city. Kullervo and Ariel I hope that they will soon take part in battle.
“All operations are aimed to take the city in a ring and to start the operation, says Kullervo. We’ve been here so long, why leave, did not participate in the operation”.
Kullervo and Ariel tell you that regularly communicate with their relatives. Not all of their friends know where they are now.
“A few friends I’ve told, and they’re worried. I’m willing to accept that you might die,” says Kullervo.
Kullervo from the Kalevala is a tragic character who sheds innocent blood and, eventually, dies by throwing himself on his sword. What attracts the hero?
“Kullervo, maybe is not a pattern that I can identify, but it is a cautionary example. Kullervo is the anti — hero, which shows what can happen to a warrior if he was deprived of morality.”