Mazloum Abdi, the general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that constitute the armed force of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), expressed determination to extend the social and political achievements in North and East Syria (NES) in a statement he made on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘Rojava Revolution’.
“On 19 July, our people chose the way of a new and free life, and in order to protect and grow it, they made an unprecedented sacrifice with their lives,” he said.
“On the 10th anniversary of the revolution, we commemorate all of the martyrs who, despite the obstacles and enemies, it is thanks to them, this day was celebrated, and we salute the resistance of our people. Protecting the achievements of the revolution and extending the democratic experience is our duty, we will make this day the beginning of a new step.”
July 19 marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the profound political and social transformation in north and east Syria, leading to the foundation of an autonomous entity in January 2014, and resulting in changes involving forms of local governance, social and political empowerment of women, recognition of ethnic and cultural identities, and attempts at a more democratic education and health system.
Kurdish self-defence forces — organised under the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — took control the city of Kobane in the midst of the turmoil of the ongoing Syrian civil war, on July 19, 2012. The cities of Amude, Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê) and Al-Darbasiyah (Dirbêsiyê) followed.
This was the beginning of a process led by pro-Kurdish political parties, particularly the Democratic Union Party (PYD), in which local councils and administrative bodies started to emerge mostly in Kurdish-majority parts of the region.
The PYD officially announced regional autonomy on January 9, 2014. Elections were held, popular assemblies established and the Constitution of Rojava — guaranteeing cultural, religious and political freedom of all people, explicitly stating the equal rights and freedom of women, and also “mandating public institutions to work towards the elimination of gender discrimination” — was approved.
As the amended December 2016 constitution used the title, "Democratic Federation of Northern Syria", to for the autonomous structure, the Syrian Democratic Council adopted the new title of the “Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria” (AANES) on September 6, 2018.
The social transformation accompanying this process has been referred to as the Rojava Revolution (the Kurdish word “Rojava” means “Western”), and the Kurdish-majority parts of the region are called “Rojava”, or “Western Kurdistan”.
[Abridged from Medya News.]