Magazine article New Internationalist

Victory for Autonomy

Magazine article New Internationalist

Victory for Autonomy

Article excerpt

It was a day that made another world seem possible. As Greece took to the streets to celebrate Syriza's electoral win, with its promise to end austerity, Kurdish fighters in Syria announced victory in their epic resistance against ISIS. On 26 January, fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Women's Protection Units (YPJ) ended ISIS's four-month siege of the city of Kobane on the border of Turkey and Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region of Syria.

Much international attention has been paid to the fact that 35 per cent of the Kurdish fighters are women. There are over 7,000 in the autonomous women's units, and they have played a major frontline role. Negris, a YPJ fighter, told the Dicle News Agency: 'With our struggle we defeated a mentality which looked upon women as slaves.'

The resistance against ISIS may have captured international attention, but the social revolution taking place in Rojava is less widely understood. With the advent of the Syrian civil war and the rise of insurgency, the Kurds were able to take control of their territory and create an autonomous zone.

The region is organized from the bottom up through people's assemblies and local councils. …

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