by Mark Campbell
On 19 July it was the 10th anniversary of the Rojava revolution.
So many political and social gains have been made in the north and northeast of Syria during these last 10 years. They are still being made through the non-stop work of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) to secure the gains of this 10 years. The work continues despite the defensive and heroic war that had to be waged against ISIS, at the enormous sacrifice of over 12,000 mostly young people; that, and the now constant drone and artillery attacks and bombardments by Turkey and their affiliated jihadist gangs, as Rojava faces yet another existential threat and challenge.
Women and internationalists have been a central part of what is also known as the Women’s Revolution, and so I am very happy and honoured to be joined today, from North and East Syria, or Rojava, by Berçem, who is an internationalist member of the Women’s Defence Units, or YPJ.
Berçem has been in Rojava for around four years and was inspired to travel there after being involved in the solidarity networks in Eastern Europe and Catalonia.
Berçem explains for us, with great energy, some of the gains made for women during the Rojava revolution, and speaks passionately about Jiyan Tolhildan, one of the women who died as a result of a Turkish drone strike near Hasakah on 22 July 2022, after attending a forum that had been organised to discuss among other topics the gains made for women during the revolution in north and northeastern Syria. Berçem urged everyone to watch this documentary, made about Jiyan Tolhildan and the last speech that she made about the advances of the Women’s Revolution, on the very day she was struck in a targeted extrajudicial execution by the Turkish state.
Berçem also said that Turkey’s increasing drone strikes in north and northeast Syria aim to destroy the gains of the revolution, and that Turkish drones have targeted nine Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters and four members of the region’s Internal Security Forces or Asayish, as well as 13 civilians, in just the last 10 days alone. She said that they have not stopped, and are appealing to supporters of the revolution to support the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria in whatever way they can but not to wait for a specific ‘Day X’ of the invasion, as the invasion and attacks are already happening on a daily basis.
Please listen to the whole podcast interview with Berçem for more.