Syria

Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has supported the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, in the southern Russian town of Sochi on September 17.

After the meeting, it was announced that Putin and Erdogan had reached an agreement on the future of Idlib, a province in northern Syria.

What is happening in Syria? More than half a million people have died since the war in Syria began in 2011. Five million Syrians have sought refuge abroad and more than 6 million have been internally displaced.

Large rallies were held in towns throughout Idlib on September 14 in response to the threat by the Assad regime to invade the province in Syria’s north-west.

Idlib is currently controlled by a mixture of rebel groups. The strongest is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an extremely reactionary Islamist group that controls 60% of the province.

The Assad regime and its allies have been building up their forces around the rebel-held Idlib province, in Syria’s north-west, in preparation for a major offensive. Some bombing raids have already been carried out in the south and west of the province.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are carrying out guerrilla resistance against the occupying Turkish army and its militia allies in the Afrin canton, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria.

The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) is an umbrella group of left-wing organisations in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran that adhere to the ideology of Kurdish revolutionary leader Abdullah Ocalan (known as “Apo”), currently in jail in Turkey. Forces associated with the KCK have helped lead the Rojava Revolution in Syria’s north, which marked its sixth anniversary on July 19, the day Kurdish-led forces staged an insurrection.

Manjib is an ethnically diverse city in northern Syria. In 2014, it was occupied by ISIS (also known as Daesh). In 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, an alliance of armed groups supporting the model of grassroots democracy associated with the Rojava Revolution) had liberated the city.

Emel Dede is one of the Manbij Turkmen women who lived under the Syrian regime first, and then the Free Syrian Army and Daesh. She has been working for two years now for her future and the future of Manbij. She talked to Bêrîtan Sarya and Axin Tolhildan about this.

As Ireland prepares for its referendum today, May 25, on repealing the constitutional amendment prohibiting free, safe, legal abortion, women and health workers in Rojava, the largely Kurdish area in Syria's north, have expressed their solidarity with Irish women’s right to choose.

With the exception of the Vatican state and Malta, Ireland has the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. It exceeds Saudi Arabia and Qatar in its restrictions on women’s rights to basic reproductive health.

“Freedom” can be a very difficult word to define, but it is easy to understand when you lose it.

A suspected chemical weapons attack on April 8 killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1000 in the Syrian town of Douma, the last rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta. The Syrian opposition blamed the Assad government for carrying out the attacks, but Syria denied having any role. The chemical attack came one day after Syrian forces launched an air and ground assault on Douma.

The Democratic Autonomous Administration of Afrin Canton in Syria’s north, which is resisting Turkey’s occupation, has warned all Syrians that Turkey’s murderous attack aims at ethnic cleansing.

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