On July 19, 2012, a revolution began in Rojava, western Kurdistan as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) began taking control of the region. 5 years since the beginning of this revolution, the Kurds of Syria and their allies from various ethnic and religious groups within Syria have established themselves as the foremost force fighting the ISIS terror organization and helping to make the Middle East and, indeed, the rest of the world, a safer place by containing and defeating this brutal group. At the same time, the Kurds and their allies in northern Syria have established a new system of self-governance in their areas which implement a unique concept of direct democracy, with great stress placed on the rights of women and minorities. Major administrative bodies are led by co-chairs, one man, and one woman, education in citizens’ mother tongue is standard (rather than only Arabic, which was the case under the Syrian Ba’athist regime), and free expression of ethnic minority and religious identity is protected and promoted.
We congratulate the people of Rojava and northern Syria on the achievements of their inspirational revolution, and call for the world to protect and promote the practice of democratic self-determination by the peoples of the region and throughout all of Kurdistan. Additionally, we call for continued support for the people of Rojava and northern Syria in their battle against ISIS and complementary measures to be taken against those who continue to interfere with the ongoing war against ISIS.
The Washington Kurdish Institute
July 19, 2017