The Rojava resistance: rebirth of the anticapitalist struggle - Salvador Zana

The Rojava resistance: rebirth of the anticapitalist struggle - Salvador Zana

An article by Salvador Zana, a volunteer with YPG in Rojava.

The problem that we face today is not a new one. Its roots lie more than 6000 years ago with the roots of civilization itself. It was then that some ideas took hold which attacked society like a deadly virus and after a long struggle managed to infect the very core of human communities everywhere. These ideas are essentially opposed to the very nature of humankind and of life itself: that oppression and slavery are necessary, that they are right and that humans deserve them. The subjugation of nature paved the way for the subjugation of women, the subjugation of women in turn enabled the enslavement of men by other men. We have since lived under the yoke of these evils inflicted on us, being aware of their presence without ever truly understanding them. I will not elaborate this point, as one of the great things about Ocalan is that he has developed a more thourough analysis of these issues than I or any other human could hope to perform in our times (although I hope on this prognosis I will be proved mistaken). Much more urgent is to emphasize that he has published these analyses of the development of state and civilization and suggested solutions to our most pressing problems.

Countless wise, passionate and courageous persons have since taken on the fight against this system, ever changing its outer manifestation but leaving its core intact. Instead of overcoming it they gave the system powerful new weapons, their movements' strenghts were absorbed by the insatiable Leviathan. This has been the fate of all revolutionary struggles through history that were capable of challenging the global hegemony.

These movements have a common basis. They appear in next to all imaginable forms – as religions, struggles for autonomy and independence, philosophical schools, cultural movements, ideologies calling themselves socialism, communism or anarchism. As different as they may seem, they are fueled by the same universal desires for freedom, peace and siblinghood. However advanced and successful the system may be, nowhere has it been able to quench the longing for these goals that exist in every human society. It has however managed to channel the energies which arise from the stark contrast between these wishes and the societal reality for its own purposes. The people's struggles moved against singular governments or priviliged groups in the best and against social minorities and other kinds of arbitrary scapegoats in the worst case. The divide and rule credo has brought the oppressed to fight each other while the means of achieving unity remain in the hands of the oppressors, based more than anything on the hegemonial privilege of knowledge.

Most struggles fail because they lack an analytical basis, an understanding of the dynamics of society that is necessary to target the true origins of the crisis humankind has fallen into. This is what makes Ocalan one of the most outstanding revolutionaries of all time. He has managed to present a profound analysis of the crisis, developed an alternative to the current dilemma and brought in motion a movement that is willing to fight for this way out of the crisis, targeting its roots and not just symptoms of the problem. The establishment of the autonomy of Rojava as a confederation of stateless democratic communities can today be seen as the greatest success of more than forty years relentless revolutionary struggle.

The Rojava project is now at a crucial stage. If it stays isolated the military and economic necessities along with the ideological pressure of the hegemonial capitalist paradigma will force it to develop into some kind of liberal socialist state at best. To be successful the liberation of society needs to expand into the bordering parts of Kurdistan and, even more importantly, the societies of the wider Middle East. The model of autonomous communities administrating themselves and interacting in decentralized confederations can only thrive if it expands. The Rojava revolution promises the liberation of society, ecological development and the freedom of women as its basic mechanisms. It is vital for its success that all three points are wholeheartedly put into practice.

The current socio-political quarantine as well as the exhausting war are poisonous to the development of revolutionary ways of life in a society to which they are still very new. Nothing leads to dangerous compromises with the system like the pressure of war.

To avoid making unforgivable mistakes at this stage we need to learn from the examples of similar revolutionary projects in history. It surprises how staunchly similar the Spanish civil war situation 1936-1938 is to what is now happening in Mesopotamia. A communal, anti-state revolution brought in motion by a people's organization (PYD, CNT), the tensions between the central state and a people (Kurds, Catalans) within it striving for autonomy, a revolutionary fighting force (YPG, FAI) defending the country against a clerical-fascist counter-revolution (Daesh, Franco) in alliance with opportunist groups (Peshmerga, PSUC) who enjoy the support of the international powers (NATO, USSR)... Without doubt there are also mayor differences between both situations, most notably maybe between the Catalan anarchists and the Ocalan movement (the analytical comparison of these two revolutions is definitely material to fill more than one book), but the Catalan example is indispensable to understand about the great dangers we are in now.

The revolutionary transformation in Catalonia was compromised more and more under pressure from the communist and right-wing-socialists in the unity government. While the revolutionary anarchists were bound to the front by the fascist attacks, the opportunists step by step took over the control of the cities behind the frontlines, preparing to betray the revolutionaries. Citing the necessities of the war they drove the workers' councils out of the factories, reinstated repressive mechanisms and formed a mandatory 'People's Army' (corresponding to Rojavas Erka Parastina, service in which is mandatory for all able young men for six months) until finally they betrayed first the revolutionary socialists and then the anarchists, storming their centres in the cities and murdering thousands of them. The result was that the fascists overran what was left at the time of the Spanish republic.

We must never forget how easily everything we fight for can be lost if we are inattentive for one moment. It is so tempting to ease the long and difficult road to freedom by making concessions and arrangements with the system. Only must we realize that, if we take another way, this road will be lost. The war has caused us to pull all our energies and resources to the front, causing a dangerous stagnation in the revolutionary development in society. Achieving our goals requires a change of very deeply rooted ideas, a revolution of mindsets. It will take more than one generation. We must set it in motion now if our fight shall lead to more than a mention in textbooks fifty years from now.

Rojava has yet to prove that it can realize its vision of a republic without a state. It owes this effort not only to its own people, but to all those around the globe who today look to Mesopotamia with the hope that there is now an idea taking hold more powerful than all fascists of the world. This hope and this idea might be able to lead to something that is bigger than Kurdistan or the Middle East. It can lead to a new beginning in revolutionary undertakings around the globe.

It is wrong to merely criticise the establishment of the Erka Parastina without looking to the reasons of its formation. There is simply no alternative to resisting against Daesh at all costs – and YPG/YPJ alone can hardly muster the necessary numbers. Forced recruitment is never acceptable. But why did it become the only option? All internationalist revolutionaries have to give a hard self-critique about this. The defence of the Rojava revolution is our indiscussable responsibility. If we had filled up the ranks of our comrades in time they might never have had to resort to one of they most despiccable instruments of the state – forcing boys and young men to go to war.

It is not to late to take the right steps. Rojava has become a revolutionary center for people from all continents who have come to help. This gives us a great shot at the unity we so desperately need to win. At the moment our enemies know us better than we know each other. Rojava can be more than an example. It can be the common ground on which we come togheter to march as one against nation, state and oppression. And towards a new future.

Salvador Zana is an internationalist revolutionary with roots in Europe and Africa. He is currently with YPG in Cizîre canton of Rojava.

Originally posted: April 7, 2015 at ANF News

Posted By

Apr 7 2015 20:47


  • The hope and idea in Rojava might be able to lead to something that is bigger than Kurdistan or the Middle East. It can lead to a new beginning in revolutionary undertakings around the globe.

Attached files


Apr 7 2015 21:24

Well this is published in ANF website (which is pretty much official news source of kurdish movement) I am actually really surprised to see this text -written this clearly- and shared to world in ANF. It actually also shocked me to see such article published there in today's conditions (ongoing war, conscription, relations with imperial powers etc...) Well if they are willing to accept what this article can bring to them (in terms of global politics -we are anti-capitalist- and/or internal institutions -well we forced you to take arms, but we also think like you: it is a bad thing to force people to do so.), well I can only salute their bravery and determination for revolution. What is important is they clearly show that :

1) Their global policy does not depend on imperial powers, but international solidarity of comrades.
2) They are perfectly aware that this project needs to expand to be "real". (so they do not go for a small island or regional hegemony etc.)
3) They are a progressive force -not to reach a liberal state-, but to form a new society.

Apr 7 2015 21:53

You should add it to the library Kurrem.

Apr 8 2015 01:28

@kurrme what really surprised me was the ridiculous adulation of ocalan who according to this article is "one of the most outstanding revolutionaries of all time"

mikail firtinaci
Apr 8 2015 02:08
Soapy wrote:
@kurrme what really surprised me was the ridiculous adulation of ocalan who according to this article is "one of the most outstanding revolutionaries of all time"

Absurd as it may look this discourse is actually an expression of PKKs internal ideological operation. There is a logic and purpose in this. "Discussion" in the PKK is organized around a clear structure based on these basic steps:

1- It starts by admitting or acknowledging the existence of a problem or several problems.

2- Since the leader can not be mistaken the problem(s) must be found among the rank&file, in the ignorance of the people, laziness of the party members etc.

3- Hence the problems are individualized/

4- Then finally they are confessed and recognized in the form of guilt, deserving at least moral self-punishment.

You can see this in the way the essay ends with a "self-criticism" of "international forces" for lagging behind in showing enough enthusiasm, in supporting the "revolution" with full zeal.

Crushing the personality and self-confidence of militants is a technique that stalinist organizations advanced, and PKK is excelled at that. With a bookchinist/activist flavor this is being put into circulation again.

Apr 8 2015 04:37

I did not write this article they did. So you see a clear pixture of them with the best and maybe some bad. It is up to you to decide. However what i am saying is this: this is a good representation of their ideology and also maybe the limits of the same ideology. But it adresses many issues discussed here.

Apr 8 2015 07:43

Mikail I see no point in debating you. Have fun in your world where bookchinian proposals become Stalinism. And every bad thing in the world some how have to do with Ocalan. Well if Ocalan (or Kurdish movement) is held dear to Kurds. It is basically the result of the failures of likes of you in Turkish socialist movement.

You were writing here -before Kobane is liberated-, it is a lost cause and all remaining people can be killed by IS. Now they liberated Rojava and write a beautiful article related to their aims and possible problems of their future project. But the only thing you can see is Ocalan. Well he is indeed praised but it is because the people who trust him take up arms and defended people's land to death. Ocalan was even not there. I doubt Ocalan had anything to do with Rojova as war or as revolution (except on ideological level) Get rid of your childish picture god damn it. And in this conditions why should they criticize their own ideology or Ocalan as a theoretician. Their ideology is now working perfectly in a certain situation. We will see their willingness to criticize even Ocalan if things change and need arises.

mikail firtinaci
Apr 8 2015 05:43

You and chauvinists like you are in no position to order me anything. I am not afraid of your kind.

Chilli Sauce
Apr 8 2015 06:54

I don't know, this article feels pretty Maoist to me.

Serge Forward
Apr 8 2015 07:25

I wouldn't say Maoist. Enthusiastic, yes. Hero-worshippy, undoubtedly so.

Apr 8 2015 07:31

Salvador Zana:

I will not elaborate this point, as one of the great things about Ocalan is that he has developed a more thourough analysis of these issues than I or any other human could hope to perform in our times (although I hope on this prognosis I will be proved mistaken).

the Ocalan movement

Apr 8 2015 07:38

I uploaded it to library. I will not comment on it anymore. It is yours to contemplate to.

Serge Forward
Apr 8 2015 08:59
rat wrote:
Salvador Zana:

I will not elaborate this point, as one of the great things about Ocalan is that he has developed a more thourough analysis of these issues than I or any other human could hope to perform in our times (although I hope on this prognosis I will be proved mistaken).

the Ocalan movement

Yes, comments like that really do set off a few alarm bells here and there.

Apr 8 2015 09:15

Yeah serge's comment from the replica is right. I do not know where this picture come from. I dont know who put it to library. The other one is better tagged and I plan to put a good picture if we deleate this one I would be glad (moderators?)

Juan Conatz
Apr 8 2015 11:34

kurremkarmerruk, I deleted your other post of this in the library because this had already been changed from a forum to a library entry.

Apr 8 2015 11:35

Ok thanks

Apr 8 2015 15:22

It is good to hear a voice against conscription from inside the YPG. Its good to see ANF News publish such a criticism.

Apr 8 2015 15:47

Apparently people are not happy of criticisms of conscription and the openness of ANF as you immediately get 4 down votes grin

Apr 8 2015 19:39

The article does indeed praise Ocalan as an almost unfallible leader, and by calling the movement ""Ocalanist "i ts writer does a disservice to the struggle. I have come to distrust any political or social movement that calls itself after one individual (yes, that includes Marxism) Yes, there is hero worship here I find distatesteful and dangerous.

At the same time, ihe article does contain critical elements which are to be applauded. The fact that a disctinct lack of support fo conscription is expressed, within a pro-PKK article, is remarkable. And stressing that a Rojava in isolation cannot survive as a revolutionary society, is good as well. But the question then becomes: if you want to extend the movement from below, does that sit well with seeking alliances from above? What if people in a pro-American state - Turkey, Iraq, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan - get Rojava-like ideas? Do you then support these people? And do you think that the US will then keep on supporting you with bombs? Are you willing to give up US support in order to extend the revolutionary possibilie ties from below? Or will things go the other way around, and will everey whiff of solidarity beyond borders be sacrificed for power politics?

The comparison between 1936 Catalonia and 2015 Rojava, by the way, should be critically ripped to pieces. The FAI was not the armed wing of the CNT,as the comparison implies, but more a network of ideologically inspired affinity groups and activists. The 'armed wing' of the movement was not the FAI but the CNT militias. And the driving force in Barcelona was not the issue of Catalan autonomy that got revolutionary dimensions, as is the case in Rojava with the Kurdish struggle. It was plain class struggle that happened to be strong in the industrial city of Barcelona which happend to in the Catalan part of the Spanish state. There was not much specifically 'Catalan' about it, and the revolution was very strong in the countryside of Aragon as well.

There WAS an aspiration for Catalan autonomy. But that was expressed through bourgois Republicanism (Companys cum suis), not through the CNT. The comparison with the Kurdish fight for national self-determination simply does not apply.

To summarize: Rojava is a national struggle that got more radical dimensions, maybe with anticapitalist possibilities. In Spain the struggle started out openly anticapitalist from the very beginning, but got derailed.

There is much more to be said about this article, unbalanced but interesting as it is. But I will leave it at this, for now.

Apr 8 2015 19:54

Well here is some "etymology" by me grin I had never heard Ocalanist used in english. In turkish you can call kurdish movement "apocular" which means ocalanists. "Apocular" first appeared as a pejorative term to name the pkk (among more established Turkish left), as most of the pejorative usages it sticked and later accepted by the movement. Now as the pkk is in a process of "turkey-isation" and possible dearming it is not much used by them. However Turkish nationalists never stopped using it. There are some pretty nasty slogans attached to it to curse the "racial line" of Kurds.

Apr 14 2015 14:44

iirc I tongue-in-cheekily referred to the cheerful mob at the Newroz carnival in Diyarbakir as doing the Apo-Calypso on my social media feed.

Apr 14 2015 15:04
rooieravotr wrote:
The FAI was not the armed wing of the CNT,as the comparison implies, but more a network of ideologically inspired affinity groups and activists. The 'armed wing' of the movement was not the FAI but the CNT militias.

Not entirely correct. From the early 1920s onwards the defence of teh CNT against the employers hired pistoleros, was carried out by FAI groups like the famous "Nosotros"/"Los Solidarios" which made paramilitaries like Durruti, Ascaso and Garcia Oliver famous. In some ways it was the lionised status they gained as a result of their armed activity that meant they were able to lead so many cenetistas, anarchists and non-anarchists, into the compromise with the Generalitat and then the Republican government.

Apr 14 2015 15:08
Apr 14 2015 21:00

Latest from Salvador Zana:

Middle Eastern Power Plays and the People's Spring Rojava

It points out Saudi Arabia and the GCC are more interesting in fighting Shia than fighting Daesh. It puts Rojava in the context of Arab Spring. It claims the failures of various Arab Spring movements were caused by their lack or organization. It reiterates the multi-ethnic character of Rojava revolution. It claims some rebel groups around Aleppo have joined the YPG. It claims a "vibrant exchange of ideas in the Aleppo region between Arab and Kurdish communities". It reiterates opposition to Assad.

I imagine we'll being hearing more from Salvador Zana.

Apr 14 2015 16:34
ocelot wrote:
rooieravotr wrote:
The FAI was not the armed wing of the CNT,as the comparison implies, but more a network of ideologically inspired affinity groups and activists. The 'armed wing' of the movement was not the FAI but the CNT militias.

Not entirely correct. From the early 1920s onwards the defence of teh CNT against the employers hired pistoleros, was carried out by FAI groups like the famous "Nosotros"/"Los Solidarios" which made paramilitaries like Durruti, Ascaso and Garcia Oliver famous. In some ways it was the lionised status they gained as a result of their armed activity that meant they were able to lead so many cenetistas, anarchists and non-anarchists, into the compromise with the Generalitat and then the Republican government.

Not that this thread should turn into a Spanish anarchy nerd off but this is also misleading, ocelot. For one thing, the second sentence is quite obviously incorrect since the FAI did not exist in the early 20s, so in the most famous years of pistolerismo the action groups cannot have been composed of FAI members. The FAI's (broadly unfair and misleading) link to anarchist violence came about during the radicalisation of the CNT in the early part of the 2nd Republic. The Nosotros group did not affiliate to the FAI until 1933.

Apr 14 2015 21:00

Some details on the Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood in northwest Aleppo under the control of the YPG, 02/2015:

Most of the inhabitants of the neighborhood are displaced and poor. There is complete power outage, and streets are filled with holes and puddles. The activity of the relief committees is limited compared to the large number of people in need. Fatima said, “A month ago, we received one cleaning basket. Fuel prices are very high, and we have to cut wood for heat. But, thank God, we are in a much better state than some families that can’t find anyone to support them.”

The local council in the neighborhood handles the civil administration of the area, and its chairman, Imad Daoud, brags that his council is made up of representatives of all sects and races — Muslims, Christians, Arabs and Kurds.

Leafing through the residential records, he told Al-Monitor, “Around 90,000 people from diverse religions and races live in Sheikh Maksoud. More than half of the residents are displaced people seeking security. Our doors are open to everyone.”

Although the neighborhood is safe from shelling, in the past two months it has seen a wave of displaced due to concerns about a possible blockade that the regime forces might impose on Aleppo. The neighborhood is open to other neighborhoods that are under the opposition’s control, and it has frontlines along which the opposition forces and the YPG are positioned against the regime

“Around two months ago, the population in the neighborhood reached 120,000, but recently, many were displaced outside Aleppo to flee the blockade,” Daoud added.

The council handles the distribution of humanitarian aid to refugees, and dozens of poor people regularly return to the council’s office.

While Daoud addresses the affairs of some of them, he said, “Most of the neighborhood residents do not have an income to support their livelihood, as they lost their jobs. We receive from the organizations, on a monthly basis, 1,200 food rations and another 1,200 containers of cleaning detergents to be distributed to the displaced. But these cannot meet the huge needs.”

He added, “The residents need additional funding to pay fees for generators. Power has been cut for three years now, after the Shaqif power plant, which is a small industrial area in Aleppo, was shelled by the air force. We are facing difficulties in supplying an alternative power line.”

Aleppo's displaced find refuge in Kurdish regions

Ethnically diverse disaster communism of the newly lumpen proletariat.

In 2013:

At the top of the hill near the area’s main mosque, groups of rebels mingled, in newfound amity, with Kurdish fighters from the local People’s Defense Units, the armed wing of Syria’s main Kurdish group, the Democratic Union Party (P.Y.D.). Until Friday, this area had been controlled by Kurdish fighters but was frequently visited by militias and intelligence agents from the regime of Bashar al-Assad. On Friday, though, in an event that may have momentous consequences for the course of the civil war, the Kurds switched sides, and with their help the rebels overran Sheikh Maksoud, which commands strategic high ground north of the city’s center.

The Kurdish Factor

Apr 14 2015 21:17

Unlike the more homogenous Kurdish areas of Iraq and Turkey, the Kurdish areas in Syria do not constitute a contiguous Kurdish region, making the development of Kurdish autonomy in Syria more difficult. The Kurds in Syria are spread between three unconnected Kurdish enclaves (Afrin, Ayn al-Arab and al-Jazeera), located in the governorates of Aleppo and Hasakah, which are surrounded by Arab and Turkmen-inhabited areas. There are also Christians living in these areas.

Interim Administration Project

The PYD has recognized this geographical reality; therefore, on November 11 they announced the division of the Kurdish areas into three cantons, with each canton having its own council to administer local affairs. PYD-leader Salih Muslim hopes that “the three of them will be united at a later stage when circumstances allow them to do so” (, December 7).

The YPG militia was formed to control the Kurdish-dominated areas of Syria. The YPG confirmed in November that they want to connect these Kurdish areas by capturing the areas of Tel Ebyad, Azaz and Jarabulus, inhabited by Turkmen and Arabs and mostly controlled by Islamist groups close to al-Qaeda.

Most likely, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took precautionary measures against this by arresting Kurdish civilians suspected of sympathy towards the PYD. Reportedly, hundreds of members of the ISIS arrived in the Kurdish neighborhoods of Manbej in the Jarabulus region on December 2, followed by the kidnapping of 51 Kurdish civilians in three days and the imposition of a blockade on Afrin and Kobani (Hawar News Agency, December 6; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, December 5; Welati, December 7).

A pro-ISIS Twitter account claimed that the ISIS raided YPG sleeper cells and arrested more than “50 apostates” (@zhoof21, December 6). Moreover, Islamist groups have been bringing Arabs from other areas to Tel Ebyad and putting them in Kurdish houses to increase their support (Firat News Agency, August 25).

The ISIS and other Islamist armed opposition groups had earlier forced the Kurdish FSA group Jabhat al-Akrad (close to the PYD and PKK) out of the mixed areas in the north of Syria – al-Bab, Azzaz, Raqqah, Tel Ebyad, the countryside of Aleppo and other areas – after the YPG expelled the ISIS and other Islamist groups from the mixed city of Ras al-Ayn on July 17. Jabhat al-Akrad was also expelled from the FSA’s Military Council in August (Transnational Middle-East Observer, August 15).

Jabhat al-Akrad was most likely created by the PYD to gain access to mixed Arab-Kurdish areas and to make logistics between the three Kurdish enclaves easier. “Kurds in Syria live in various Arab cities, towns and villages. We wanted Kurds to have a common organization in these regions with other ethnicities. Therefore, we established Jabhat al Akrad,” said Haji Ahmad Kurdi, head of Jabhat al-Akrad (Rudaw, August 11).

A New Strategy Toward the Arab Population

However, since the YPG took over Ras al-Ayn and Jabhat al-Akrad was expelled from most mixed areas, the PYD and YPG have changed their strategy. On October 24, the YPG captured the Iraqi Yaroubiya border crossing with the support of local Arab tribes (al-Monitor, November 25). Some Arab villages supported the YPG in expelling FSA and Islamist fighters in villages surrounding Ras al-Ayn as a result of looting by armed opposition groups (al-Monitor, October 8).

However, Arab fighters could still switch their support to Islamist armed groups if the Kurdish groups grow too powerful and threaten to dominate Arab-inhabited areas in the north. Four leading members of the Arab Ba’ath party joined jihadist groups in Arab villages in al?Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipi) fighting the YPG even though the Ba’ath-regime opposes Jihadi groups (Hawar News Agency, October 13). The city experienced tensions between Arab settlers and Kurds after 2011 and is part of the Arab belt.

The PYD therefore maintains a careful policy towards the mixed areas and tries to incorporate Arabs and Christians in their interim administration. This is also part of the imprisoned PKK leader’s ideology of democratic confederalism, which opposes a centralist nation-state and aims to preserve internal autonomy.

Öcalan’s system of confederalism aims for “political self-administration where all groups of society and all cultural identities can express themselves in local meetings, general conventions and councils,” Öcalan wrote in his ideology of democratic confederalism, released on March 20, 2005. [1]

Sinem Muhammad, co-head of the PYD People’s Council for West Kurdistan, said that the PYD rejects borders and called for the recognition of ethnic differences between Arabs and Kurds. She said that in mixed areas, Arabs have the right to have their own council and participate in the administration with their own councils. [2]

The ideology of the PYD and PKK seems to have had some success in the Arab village of Alook, close to Ras al-Ayn, where local Arabs thanked the YPG (al-Monitor, October 13). A local council of Arabs was formed in the village with the help of the PYD, and the YPG stayed out of the village to demonstrate that they do not want to change the local demography.
The YPG also got some support from members of the Shammar tribe when they took over the Yaroubiya border crossing on October 24. The Shammar tribe’s FSA brigade, the Liwa Ahrar al-Jazira (LAJ)
, was expelled from Yaroubiya in mid-October following allegations of corruption by the al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [3] The YPG used the local resentment against al-Qaeda to dominate the town.

There are signs that the YPG is now trying to incorporate Arabs in their armed formations. On November 1, the YPG created an Arab brigade in Ras al-Ayn called Ahrar al-Watan (Free Men of the Homeland), led by Hawas al-Akub (Hawar News Agency, November 1). Also in Yaroubiya, local Arabs joined YPG security formations and local Arabs and Kurds will reportedly jointly administer the border-crossing(al-Monitor, November 25).

PYD leader Salih Muslim outlined a clearer Arab policy in a recent interview, saying that the PYD’s militias would fight against jihadi groups, but would not force out local Arabs, whether settlers or native Arabs:

"There are three sorts of Arabs among us: there are those with whom we have always lived and who we have fought alongside. We defend the brotherhood between these peoples. There are those who do not belong, Arabs who came from outside, other countries or the region, the jihadists who have burned our homes, and decapitated Kurds. Finally, there are the Arabs who were moved to Kurdistan by force by (former Syrian President) Hafez al-Assad ... to Arabize the region. They are victims ... and we advocate a peaceful solution for these populations. Those who can return to their hometowns should do so and the others can live in peace with the Kurds

(AFP December 2).


It seems that the most powerful Kurdish party, the PKK-affiliated PYD, has decided to expand their control over mixed areas in Northern Syria instead of cooperating with the FSA. Their aim is to create a transitional administration. In mixed areas under their control, the PYD also wants to create councils of the local population based on the ideology of imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan and has a ‘soft policy’ that gives local Arabs their own local power. The PYD aims to include local Arabs and Christians in their administration project and their militias, or to cooperate with independent Arab or Christian militias. In the end, the success of their project will depend on whether the civil war continues, or one of the opposing factions wins. If either faction wins, they would be unlikely to accept any form of Kurdish autonomy. The PYD hopes to get international support in the upcoming Geneva II conference scheduled for January in order to legitimize their project. The PYD emphasizes that their project is temporary, although in reality they want to create a form of Kurdish self-rule in Syria.

Kurdish Strategy Towards Ethnically-Mixed Areas in the Syrian Conflict, December 13, 2013

Apr 14 2015 21:22
Aleppo had become safe places for the people, adding: “A secure life has been established. People who fled to Iraq and Turkey have begun to return. We are calling on people to come back.”

Rezan Rojhat said around 100,000 people lived in the Kurdish neighbourhoods of Aleppo. He said people who had taken refuge in the city from other places made up 60% of the population of these neighbourhoods. Rojhat said these neighbourhoods were protected by the YPG/YPJ.

YPG commander Rezan Rojhat said there was also an Arab battalion within the YPG and Christians in the public security force. He said people had started to come back from Iraq and Turkey, and that some of the people in Aleppo had fled attacks by ISIS gangs on villages in Kobanê. “We expect people to return now we have established security in the Kurdish neighbourhoods. Of course there are problems. For instance, unemployment. We have tried to resolve this with economic projects. Our part of Aleppo is an example of the progress we have made as regards our understanding of democratic autonomy

YPG Aleppo commander: Syrian regime failed to regain control over Kurdish neighborhoods, 02/10/2015

Apr 14 2015 22:17

In light of Salvador Zana's statements about Aleppo, he seems to be politically priming the pump for some YPG Arab-Kurd resistance to Assad specifically in Aleppo:

"Around Aleppo some have joined the YPG, as it remains the only fighting force to uphold the ideals of the revolution. The threat of Daesh and the horrible years of war have brought many Syrians to rally behind Assad again.

"The fire of the revolution is still silently burning beneath the rubble, and when the unifying common enemy in the form of Daesh disappears and Assad tries to return to normality, these tensions will bring society to erupt again. Already now there is a vibrant exchange of ideas in the Aleppo region between Arab and Kurdish communities. It is now the duty of Rojava to make it known that the revolution has not died and that the new society already exists. The rips within Syrian society are far too deep to be mended by Assad. "

If they move against the regime in the rest of Aleppo, I would't be surprised if they declared another canton. O.K. I would be surprised. That would be a pretty amazing change in the situation. If the YPG has brought secular Arab rebels into a realignment with them on the TEV-DEM program, that would be significant.

Here is what Aleppo looks like right now:

another map

Sounds like the Assembly in Şêx Meqsȗd (Sheikh Maksoud) is pushing that Project for a Democratic Syria statement hard in Aleppo.

The chairman of joint Assembly in Şêx Meqsȗd neighborhood of Aleppo city confirmed that democratic solution project for Syria is a perfect solution for peace and co-existence between the spectra of the society and its components. Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) for solution of the Syrian crisis presented a political democratic solution project in fourth anniversary of the Syrian revolution. It attracted attention of many political parties. The chairman of joint Assembly in Şêx Meqsȗd neighborhood of Aleppo city Îmad Dawȗd in this regard has spoken to ANHA. He said: “This project will stop the bloodshed in Syria and will provide peace”. Dawȗd also stated that this project includes all the components of society.

TEV-DEM project is for all Syrian components 3/29/2015

I had thought that TEV-DEM statement on a Project for a Democratic Syria was something being pushed out of Cizre or Afrin as a hope to hold onto autonomy if Assad came out on top. But, with it being pushed in Aleppo, it may be an attempt to realign rebels there under a YPG banner.

Here is an article from 2013 on YPG recruitment of Arab FSA fighters in Aleppo: Arabs join Kurdish militia in Aleppo 2/9/2013

Apr 14 2015 22:01
Abdurrahman Saleh, a spokesperson for ISIS, confirmed in our interview with him an alliance between Syrian anti-Assad rebels and Kurds, but suggested it to be a local alliance rather than a cohesive policy. “Some battalions of al-Tawheed brigade in Aleppo cooperate with the YPG against ISIS, but I do not know if this is a general decision, or a specific case. It may be a local agreement, rather than an overall strategy,

Kurdish-Arab Rebel Alliance May be Key to Obama’s Syrian Strategy, Mutlu Civiroglu and Wladimir Van Wilgenburg, February 12, 2015

I've met Mutlu Civiroglu and tend to regard his analysis and information as reliable. Though saying this is Obama's plan seems rather like a click-bait headline.

I knew about Euphrates Volcano and their success in Kobane and at the Qara Qawzak.bridge, and now the Lafarge cement plant. I didn't know the scope of cooperation the YPG had built up with Arabs and/or the FSA in Aleppo.