Safe Haven in Syria – The Democratic Self Administration of Rojava
The Democratic Self Administration of Rojava (DSA) is a new reality in Syria that has been growing in size and significance since 2012. It is the self-governing area in the North-East of Syria. The DSA is governed and defended by Kurds, Arabs and Syriac Christians as well as any other ethnicity living in the DSA. The Syrian Democratic Forces (military force of the DSA) in alliance with the USA and International Coalition against ISIS have been the most effective force in the war against this terrorist entity in Syria.
The essence of this document is that if the DSA of Rojava will receive sufficient means to defeat ISIS and humanitarian aid, the DSA will become a safe haven for the refugees in Syria. We believe that this is also the solution that Europe is looking for. Together we can bring stability and freedom in Syria.
The Democratic Self Administration of Rojava & Syrian Democratic Forces
Right from the start of the civil war the situation in North Syria developed differently than in other parts of Syria. When the the civil war in Western Syria started the Kurdish PYD together with the Syriac Union Party (Syriac Christians) and their Syriac Military Council and various Arab tribes and organisations come to the conclusion to protect their
area. In this way this became early on a multi-ethnic and multi-religious entity. Together we created the Democratic Self-Administration under a common de facto constitution ‘The Social Contract’. The Social Contract was presented in 2014 at the UN in Geneva. Since 2013 local councils and Regional Parliaments were created and police and defensive forces were set up.
Furthermore local social work, co-operatives and civic life was encouraged and new civic
organisations sprang up. One of the main tasks of the new administration was the care for the poor and the refugees. An issue that remains a challenge until today. Please note that since the start more Syriac Christian, Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen factions and organisations have joined. At 17 March 2016 this process has been confirmed by confirming a project of federalation of Rojava and north Syria.
This step was necessary in order to give over 4 million people living in the DSA a clear
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
Since its beginning the Democratic Self-Administration (DSA) has permanently been at war against ISIS. In growing cooperation with the USA and the International Coalition against ISIS, the DSA forces of Kurds, Arabs and Syriac Christian forces have step by step
driven back ISIS and broadened the support among Arabs and Syrian Turkmen. This cooperation reached a new phase when these various forces confirmed their existing co-operation by creating together the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) at 10 October 2015 that operates under their joint command. Since then the SDF has been very successful in driving back ISIS in.
The Syrian Democratic Council has been founded as a political body representing the federal and democratic ethnic inclusive model for Syria. The SDC has political backing in Syria beyond the borders of The DSA. The goal was also for the SDC to be part of the (failed) UN Peace Talks however regardless clear efforts they never were invited due to Turkish pressure over participation of the PYD in the SDC.
The DSA of Rojava Norhern Syria is secular and has fully separated religious institutions of any kind from governing structures. The DSA implemented full freedom of religion, full and equal rights for women and co-operation between ethnicities. The social contract
is evidence of how each of these freedoms is implemented for real.
We firmly believe that The DSA of Rojava and its Syrian Democratic Forces are not only the
way to defeat ISIS but also the way to replace the mentality of ISIS. By supporting The DSA and its forces the EU and EU Member States can help to foster a culture of freedom in the Middle East. It will remove and prevent a threat towards Europe.
As Federation we have often expressed that we are prepared to become a Safe Haven for
refugees in Syria (DPI) on the condition that we receive the support for this goal. We need
support to defeat ISIS alltogether and to build the needed security. Furthermore we will need economic support and humanitarian aid to deal with the challenges. Finally we guarantee that the UNHCR and co-operating NGO’s will be most welcome to work according to their own approach and programs.
Towards a Safe Haven in Syria
In light of the current advances of the Syrian Democratic Forces can be achieved if the SDF receives sufficient support to defeat ISIS in all of North and East Syria. It is most likely that after these SDF victories over ISIS the Syrian regime will be able to defeat ISIS on the western side of the Euphrates. There is no armed conflict with the Syrian regime. In fact, the Syrian regime maintains presence inQamishli and Hassakeh. All observers agree that the civil war in western Syria can easily continue for years to come. This also means that a large refugee stream will continue from that part of Syria. The SDF controlled area of The DSA will then be able to become the Safe Haven in Syria. After the defeat of ISIS it will become possible for Syrian IDP’s to reach SDF controlled areas.
It is clear that a number of needs have to be met in order to achieve this goal. These needs will be listed in more detail in the following.
We point to the fact that meeting these needs will be far more cost-efficient than any other solution to shelter refugees. Furthermore we believe that sheltering Syrian refugees in Syria is better for Syria and better for the refugees in the long run provided the needs are met. Finally we think that our socio-political environment of freedom will be the right environment for education programs. Education for all is in our opinion the best preventive program against terrorism.
Needs for a Safe Haven in Syria
1. Support to all components of the Syrian Democratic Forces
It is clear that the SDF would be much more efficient against ISIS if it would have sufficient
means to defeat ISIS far quicker than is the case right now. The SDF consist of approx. 50000 soldiers and has proven to be the most effective force against ISIS so far. ISIS in Syria has a maximum strength of 20.000. Furthermore the ratio of losses of SDF versus is most often 1:8. If their needs are met the SDF will be able to defeat ISIS in North and East Syria in a few months. Please note that ISIS has not been able to return and maintain presence in any SDF controlled area. Support to the SDF will also provide future security for the refugees.
2. Humanitarian aid and trade
It is obvious that without humanitarian aid it will be impossible to implement a Safe Haven in Syria. There are a number of core needs that can be further specified and developed in co-operation with the UNHCR and other NGO’s and providers of humanitarian aid. A umber of general needs can be listed here:
Complet refugee camps to be located in SDF protected areas. The SDF will provide
protection. Please note that our female military and police organisations will be here of
special significance as they will be focused at the security of women (as this is a huge
problem in refugee camps in the region).
Medical supplies in all its forms
Food transports for IDP’s
With regard to trade we hope the international partners and community will help the DSA
to secure that the border between the DSA and Iraqi Kurdistan will remain open from now
Support in establishing mechanisms to encourage economic life. In this respect we are
specifically interested in engaging with cooperative business models.
Political cooperation for the future of Syria
We believe that our model is based on the same values as to which the peace and stability of the free world is built on. It is our aim to strengthen the political cooperation with the free world in order to work together for peace in Syria.
It is obvious that this document is only a general outline as preparation for many more detailed discussions and operational aspects. We as DSA representatives look forward to discuss cooperation with any EU Member State to ensure that ISIS will be defeated and a significant part of Syria will be stable and a Safe Haven for refugees from Syria.
Sinam Mohamed, European representative of the Democratic Self Administration of Rojava: