Wednesday marks the 11th anniversary of the Rojava Revolution, a social and political transformation that led to the establishment of a de facto autonomous administration in northeast Syria, an area primarily inhabited by Kurds and other ethnic and religious groups.
Hashtag campaign #Status4NorthAndEastSyria was launched on social media to celebrate, with participants from round the world calling for international recognition of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), known as Rojava.
Originating amidst the backdrop of the Syrian civil war that commenced in 2011, the Rojava Revolution gained momentum in 2012. During the escalating conflict between the Syrian government and Islamist extremist groups, Kurdish factions -particularly the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG)- assumed control over the region. Their aim was to create a unique path, neither aligning with the government nor the opposition forces; a ‘third way’.
The revolution aimed to build a decentralised, multi-ethnic, and democratic system in northeast Syria based on principles of direct democracy, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.
The AANES, through the process described as the Rojava Revolution, fosters local self-governance through grassroots democratic structures, empowering communities to take decision-making through participatory assemblies and councils.
The cornerstone of the revolution is its strong emphasis on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women hold leading roles in political, military, and social spheres, exemplified by the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), an all-female armed group that has proven key to the region’s defence against the Islamic State (ISIS).
The autonomous administration also strives to foster a sense of unity and cooperation among various ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, and others. The goal is to create an inclusive society that respects and celebrates diversity.
The Rojava Revolution also promotes sustainable development practices, including a commitment to adhering to principles of environmental sustainability.
After a decade of progress, the Rojava Revolution still faces significant challenges, including ongoing conflict with various fundamentalist armed groups including ISIS and Turkish backed-factions, and the Turkish Armed Forces, who conduct regular military offensives against the autonomous region perceived as a threat by Turkey.
Supporters believe that official international recognition will open doors to much-needed support, development, and cooperation, paving the way for a brighter future for the resilient people of North and East Syria.
Pro-Kurdish parties in Turkey salute Rojava Revolution’s anniversary
Under Tuesday’s hashtag campaign, the Green Left Party and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey issued statements celebrating the Rojava Revolution’s 11th anniversary, advocating for recognition and support for the autonomous region.
The Green Left tweeted, “We salute those who lit the torch of freedom in North and East Syria.”
The Green Left Party’s Women’s Council also contributed. “The revolution that took place in Rojava 11 years ago under the leadership of women continues to inspire people all over the world,” it said on twitter.
In a tweet written in Kurdish, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP said, “The Rojava Revolution is a global revolution, a beacon of freedom and coexistence. We salute this revolution led by the Kurdish people,” while noting in the Turkish language that the revolution in northeast Syria is a model of coexistence for Syrian people of all religions, languages, ethnic identities, and political leanings.