YPJ

New international talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict may be unlikely to succeed, but they do mark shifts in the alignment of competing forces.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on December 31 to support a ceasefire in Syria that started the previous day. The latest round of international peace talks are scheduled for January 23 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

Aleppo. Another round of international talks on Syria, and a ceasefire, have come and gone. The five-and-a-half-year-old civil war continues unabated, as do the competing military interventions — all ostensibly targeting ISIS — by various regional and global powers.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says 4475 people were killed in the nation's horrific civil war during July. Of these, 1289 were civilians, including 263 children. Almost three quarters of these civilian casualties were killed in airstrikes by the government or its ally, Russia, and other attacks by the pro-government side, SOHR said. Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed, between 4-to-5 million people have left Syria as refugees and about 8 million have been internally displaced.
In largely Kurdish Rojava in Syria's north, a profoundly democratic and revolutionary experiment is underway. A multi-ethnic, feminist and socialist-oriented society is being built from the ground up, organised around communes and other bodies of participatory democracy.
This picture looks like any ordinary scenery from the Kobanê countryside. The idyllic villages and golden wheat fields with the sleepy little houses tucked away across the distance. But, it is more than that. This is Ain Issa, an area of Tell Abyad and the frontline between the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) and Daesh (Islamic State).
Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict. This “cessation in hostilities” was brokered by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), made up of the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League and the governments of Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States. The ISSG is co-chaired by the US and Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt on February 11 that a threatened ground invasion of Syria by Western allies Turkey and possibly Saudi Arabia would lead to a “new world war”. On February 18, Hawar News Agency reported that “dozens” of Turkish armoured vehicles had advanced 200 metres across the Syrian border.

A meeting in Rojava's capital, Qamislo, of the Assyrian ethnic minority. Photo from www.robertgraham.wordpress.com.
Tens of thousands of people have rallied worldwide to demand greater international support for Kurds battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the largely Kurdish territory of Rojava in northern Syria. Kobane is a Rojavan town that was the scene of prolonged and devastating conflict between the Rojavan revolutionary forces and ISIS, before finally being liberated in January. The battle for Kobane became symbolic of the Rojavan struggle against ISIS and its allies, such as the Turkish state.
Greens MP Jamie Parker gave this speech at the Sydney rally for World Kobane Day on November 1. * * * I'm here in solidarity with the people of Kobane and with all Kurds. I have spoken about the YPG and YPJ before, but now I also want to speak about the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). In this country there is only one party in the parliament, the Australian Greens, which fully supports the unbanning of the PKK. The PKK is not a terrorist organisation and we have stood against its banning since 2005, when the government first sought to list the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
One year ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) began its brutal assault on the city of Kobane in the largely Kurdish region of Rojava in the north of Syria. The violent fanatics were seeking to destroy the profoundly democratic, multi-ethnic and feminist revolution under way in the liberated autonomous region.
Press conference on October 15 announcing the formation of the Democratic Forces of Syria. Photo via Kurdish Question. The Democratic Forces of Syria held a founding meeting on October 12 and released a final declaration three days later, Kurdish Question reported on October 17.
On October 12, Amnesty International released a report alleging “civilians living in areas of northern Syria under the de facto control of the Autonomous Administration led by the Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party, PYD) are being subjected to serious abuses that include forced displacement and home demolitions.” The report said some of these alleged abuses were war crimes.
Russia followed the lead of Western powers on September 30 and began direct military intervention in Syria – using the same form (air strikes) and the same declared enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Russia's campaign, aimed to shore up the beleaguered regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, will also target the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other armed groups fighting the dictatorship. Russia's entry into the fray has dramatically heightened tensions between Russia and the West and further complicated the already confused, multi-sided conflict in Syria.
Turkey has “joined the war against ISIS”, according to US politicians and the corporate media after a July 23 deal between the US and the Turkish government. The deal gives US war planes and drones access to Turkey's Incirlik airbase from which to conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
YPJ fighters defending Kobanê, June 26. Photo: ypgrojava.com. The “Islamic State” (IS) terror group attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France have grabbed global attention and condemnation. But the group's attack on Kobane in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) — and the fierce resistance — has been largely ignored.

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