The Rojava Revolution, which started on 19 July 2012, was not a spontaneous uprising triggered solely by the Syrian crisis; it emerged as a culmination of careful groundwork and preparations by the Kurdish movement dating back to 1980, said Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander-in-chief Mazlum Abdi.
In an exclusive interview with the Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper published on Tuesday, Commander Abdi shared insights into the journey, challenges and future prospects of the Rojava Revolution.
“The main reasons for the success of the Rojava Revolution were the preparations made beforehand and the organisation of the people,” Abdi said. He emphasised the importance of the ‘third way’, a path distinct from the interests of the Syrian regime and the forces against it. “This third way was based on the interests of the Kurds and other peoples living in Syria. Once the people believed in this third way and began to organise and fight around it, the success of the Rojava Revolution became inevitable.”
Abdi highlighted the part played by women in the struggle, stating that they were “the reason for the world to turn its face to Rojava”. He also acknowledged the challenges faced by the revolution, including Turkey’s incursions into Afrin (Efrîn), Tel Abyad (Girê Spî) and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê), which he described as the “biggest failiings” of the SDF.
Abdi addressed the ongoing threat from Turkey, which has been conducting intelligence operations and continuous military offensives. He emphasised that the SDF have been taking measures against these attacks and strengthening their position militarily, administratively and socially.
Looking to the future, Abdi called for international support to bring permanent peace to the entire region of North and East Syria. He also emphasised the need for unity among the Kurds, as a “strategic and future-determining position for the Kurdish people.”
General Abdi concluded with a call out to the Kurdish people and their friends to continue playing their part in the ongoing 19 July revolution. “The values that have emerged here are the common values of all,” he said, urging people to take ownership of the revolution.
Abdi outlined several strategies to address the challenges faced in the Rojava Revolution:
He reiterated the resolve of the SDF to free areas under Turkish control, enabling displaced individuals to return home. They’re formulating a plan to counteract Turkish occupation and bolster their defences against Turkish aggression, he said.
Furthermore, Abdi emphasised the importance of strengthening unity within the autonomous region of North and East Syria. This unity, he believes, is crucial to withstanding external threats and upholding the Rojava model.
The commander spoke about the SDF’s active engagement in diplomacy with local and global powers, always prioritising the interests of their people. He expressed anticipation for international support in establishing enduring peace and facilitating dialogue with the Syrian regime.
In spite of current stalemates, Abdi remains optimistic that the Syrian regime will eventually need to engage in dialogue for lasting peace. He confirmed the readiness of the SDF for such discussions and negotiations.
Abdi is a strong advocate for the model of democratic autonomy implemented in North and East Syria, and he believes it should be extended nationwide. He spoke about their efforts in promoting this model and initiating dialogue with various Syrian forces to encourage democratisation of the country.
Finally, he underlined the importance of unity amongst Kurdish forces in influencing Syria’s future. He spoke about their ongoing efforts to foster dialogue and enhance this unity.