Kurdistan

Tue
21
Feb

 The Syrian Kurds and Allegations of War Crimes

 By Meredith Tax and Roy Gutman
The Nation
February 21, 2017

 In a two-part investigation for The Nation, published here and here, Roy Gutman has accused the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, of systematically violating human rights in the area it controls. Below is a response from critics, followed by Gutman’s rejoinder.

The War of Disinformation

By Meredith Tax, with Joey Lawrence and Flint Arthur

Thu
16
Feb

The Anarchists vs. the Islamic State

By Seth Harp
Rolling Stone

On the front lines of Syria with the young American radicals fighting ISIS

On the morning of his first battle, Brace Belden was underdressed for the cold and shaky from a bout of traveler's diarrhea. His Kurdish militia unit was camped out on the front line with ISIS, 30 miles from Raqqa, in Syria. Fighters stood around campfires of gas-soaked trash, boiling water for tea, their only comfort besides tobacco. "I've never been so dirty in my life," Belden recalls. When the time came to roll out, he loaded a clip into his Kalashnikov and climbed into a makeshift battlewagon, a patchwork of tank and truck parts armored with scrap metal and poured concrete. Belden took a selfie inside its rusty cabin and posted it online with the caption "Wow this freakin taxi stinks."

Tue
07
Feb

The Unknown American Heroes of Syria’s Civil War

by Macer Gifford
National Review
February 6, 2017
 
Americans have fought valiantly in support of the democratic movement in northern Syria. We should make sure their efforts weren’t in vain.
 
The Anglo-American hero Winston Churchill once said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” There is no better way to describe the impact that the March 2015 victory in Kobanî had on the war against the Islamic State. ISIS’s defeat in this north Syrian city will go down in history as the moment the group began to decline. There would be death throes over the subsequent years, as ISIS scored victories in places such as Palmyra and Ramadi, but the group’s rapid growth and aura of invincibility were be shattered in Kobanî by the heroic fighters of the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units).
 
Tue
07
Feb

‘A real revolution is a mass of contradictions’: Interview with a Rojava Volunteer

by Rojava Solidarity Cluster
Novara Media

In October 2016 Peter Loo travelled to Rojava* to volunteer as an English teacher and participate in work within civil society – the outcome of over 14 months of organising within the Plan C Rojava solidarity cluster. He is currently working for the SYPG campaign in Qamishlo. As well as directly offering his skills Peter has been able to visit places in Rojava and speak to many people as the future of Rojava, and Syria in general, continues to hang in the air. This interview took place late in December 2016.

Hi Peter, we’ve got lots of questions about your experiences so far but perhaps you could explain a little about the history to date for some readers who might not know too many of the details.

Wed
25
Jan

Syrian Kurds rebuilding Kobani from rubble

by Fehim Taştekin
Al-Monitor

KOBANI, Syria — I recently stayed overnight in Serekaniye and awoke to unusual sounds at about 5 a.m. I looked out and saw a group of Asayish (local Kurdish police), both men and women, engaged in physical training in an empty lot. Serekaniye had been the scene of clashes in 2012-13 between the Kurds and groups supported by Turkey. Now, the Asayish there look like a disciplined army.

Not quite 200 miles away in Kobani, there is other evidence that the Kurds have serious aspirations for Rojava, officially the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria. Though rubble remains in most parts, the city is both rebuilding and launching new construction. There is even a new cemetery, which could be seen as a sign of intended stability.

Sun
11
Dec

The 'Rojava Revolution' in Syrian Kurdistan: A Model of Development for the Middle East?

by Can Cemgil and Clemens Hoffmann
IDS Bulletin
December 3, 2016

Thu
01
Dec

Michael Israel, anarchist, IWW member, killed fighting ‘Islamic State’ fascists in Rojava

via Kurdish Question

People’s Protection Units (YPG) volunteers, American Michael Israel (27) from Colorado and German Anton Neshek (Zana Ciwan), were killed by Turkish warplanes on 29 November according to another international volunteer fighting alongside the pair against the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS/ISIL), north of Raqqa. [updated].

On his Facebook page, the international volunteer, who was amongst the group killed by Turkish warplanes wrote:

“We were taking a small village when we got hit by Turkish jets in the night. Two of my friends, Anton and Michael were killed among many others. I’m staying to finish out my six months. Fuck Erdogan and Fuck Turkey.”

The YPG have informed both men’s families.

Thu
20
Oct

The revolution in Rojava: an eyewitness account

by Janet Biehl
ROAR Magazine
October 20, 2016

For decades, three million Syrian Kurds lived under severe repression by the Assad regime, their identity denied and access to education and jobs refused. Despite imprisonment and torture, the resistance grew. When the Arab Spring arrived in Syria, their organizations seized the moment to create a pioneering democratic revolution. The liberation of Rojava began in Kobane, on July 19, 2012. From this day on, the history of social and political revolution entered a new era.

Tue
11
Oct

The Syrian Kurds Need More Than Weapons—They Need Political Support

By Patrick Lewis
October 10, 2016
In These Times

The Obama administration is considering a plan to further arm the Kurds—whom many in Washington call “our most effective partner on the ground” in Syria—in order to incentivize Kurdish participation in an upcoming offensive against ISIS in Raqqa. Two weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune published an editorial endorsing this plan—the headline proclaimed this as “Step One” for “Fixing Syria.” And in presidential debates, including last night’s, Hillary Clinton has advocated a similar plan.

Tue
20
Sep

When Women Lead the Revolution

By Elia Gran
September 19, 2016
The Indypendent, Issue #217

The Syrian civil war has produced a catalogue of horrors – cities bombed into rubble, the rise of ISIS, refugees fleeing across open seas on makeshift rafts– that have been widely covered in the Western media. During this same time, the dissolution of the Syrian state has opened the doors in one corner of the country for a social revolution that is at odds with the political norms not only of the rest of the Middle East but of the wider world beyond.

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