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In the midst of the Syrian civil war, a political process, which some have called a revolution, was initiated by the Kurdish PYD (a party connected to Turkey’s PKK). The aim was to take power away from the Assad regime and put it in the hands of the people of Rojava, the mainly Kurdish inhabited region of northern Syria.
This process has restructured Rojavan society: political power is being re-orientated around rapidly proliferating local councils and huge advances are being made in terms of gender equality, popular education and ecological sustainability. Plan C, an anti-capitalist organisation with groups across England, has begun solidarity work with the region and you can read our opening statement here.
Located between ISIS and an increasingly aggressive Turkish state, the democratic experiment in Rojava is in a precarious position. Kurdish defence forces (YPG and YPJ) have liberated large parts of northern Syria from ISIS and are building alliances with other forces under the banner of ‘The Democratic Forces of Syria’. Yet fighting is still fierce and ISIS have committed several large scale terrorist attacks on civilians in Rojava. Meanwhile Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has launched attacks on progressives and the Kurdish movement in Turkey and in Rojava. The Turkish state is determined not to allow the three cantons that comprise Rojava to connect, and does not want an autonomous Kurdish enclave south of the large Kurdish population in southern Turkey.
The Rojavan cantons are currently under embargo, with their borders with Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government-controlled Iraq closed to them. Unable to sell oil and wheat on the international market the cantons are relying on money raised internationally. The majority of this is currently raised by the Kurdish diaspora.
Rojava is in need of money to rebuild war-damaged regions, to purchase medial supplies, and to continue to develop its political project. Plan C has launched a fundraising campaign in the hope of raising £3000.
Within just four days of launching the fundraiser, over 70% of the targeted amount has been donated, yet more support is needed if we are to reach our goal of £3000. This money will be used for the following:
1) £2000 to Kobane, to be split into two parts:
a) £1400 for reconstruction, sent directly to Kobane.
b) £600 for medical supplies to support medical work in the region.
2) £1000 for Kurdish projects in the UK. The struggle in Rojava is being supported by a large network of Kurdish communities across the world. By helping Kurdish projects in the UK, we are helping build the basis for longer-term support for Rojava.
If we reach £3000 we will continue to fundraise for the remainder of the month and any extra money will go towards reconstruction in Kobane and to support other political projects in the region. For more information and to donate visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solidarity-with-rojava-3k-in-31-days#
Paul is a member of Plan C’s Rojava Solidarity cluster. Read Plan C’s statement on the UK airstrikes in Syria here.