Cihan Xidro, Leader of the Women’s Council in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) spoke to ANF saying that they were developing their own systems under the leadership of women. She recalled that women play an active role in all military, political, community and administrative institutions: “In fact, the North and East Syria democratic nation model was developed as a women’s project.”
Xidro pointed out that women are the first target of all gangs, and particularly Al-Nusra and ISIS gangs under the guidance of Turkey. She continued: “The target is the women’s will. The aim is to break the will of the community through that of the leading women. It has always been women who are the first targets in the occupying attacks, and they have tried to encourage this mentality within the community too, sometimes through fundamentalist gangs, sometimes directly in areas they have occupied, by institutions they set up and by the use of various special war and psychological tactics within the community.”
She stated that Turkey played an important role in the transformation of the Syrian Revolution into crisis and chaos.
“Turkey interfered in Syria, through mercenary gangs to start with and then directly. It occupied Jarablus on 16 March 2016, then later al-Bab (Bab), A’zaz (Ezaz), Afrin (Efrîn), Tell Abiad (Girê Spî) and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê),” she said.
She went on: “The first thing Turkey did when it occupied these places was to change the culture, customs and demographic structure of the people. They applied all kinds of inhumane practices to the people, such as extreme violence, abductions, rape and robbery, particularly against women.
“Women have been raped and murdered, dozens of women have disappeared and not been heard of since. And the whole world has remained silent, simply looking on while Turkey does this. Not one international state or institution has done anything to try and dissuade it.”
Xidro shared the information that there has been an increase in violence against women in Syria in 2021. “There are various reasons for violence against women here. Firstly, our region is constantly under attack by Turkey and the gangs under its direction. It is constantly being bombarded. Some of our people whose homes and villages have been bombed are forced to move, and are settled in camps. This brings with it psychological problems,” she said.
“Then there was lockdown in the area for a long time due to coronavirus. People were forced to stay in their homes and this has also occasionally caused problems within families.”
Xidro said that the Women’s Council is developing projects to prevent all of this. “Our target for this period and the project we are working on is the creation of women’s laws,” she said. “These laws, a part of our struggle with violence against women, will be applied to the whole community, and there will also be activities within the community to encourage their acceptance.
“We are developing educational programmes aimed at women, families and men. We aim with these programmes to help the community to become more aware and more sensitive.”