The Kurds Forging A New Nation In Syria

"It's not about religion here. We protect all sects" says a Kurdish soldier. Made up of enclaves across Northern Syria, Rojava is built on the principles of equality, providing sanctuary to a spectrum of minorities as well as refugees on the run from ISIS. Described by Aldar Xalil, member of the Rojava Government Council, as a “consensus based, democratic way of life”, the state enjoys a political liberty unfamiliar to other areas of the Middle East. Here, no religious restrictions are imposed on public behaviour and women are encouraged to engage in running municipalities and combat. But a close association with the PKK, a Turkish militant group with a similar ideology yet brutal past, has earned Rojava inhabitants the scornful label of “terrorists” and a cautionary approach from international players. As YPG spokesmen Redur Khalil explains, however, the national army of Syrian Kurdistan could be key in the fight against ISIS: “for the American and European plans to succeed, they will need allies on the ground”.

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