19.07.2017, 13.17 Context
July 19th Revolution which spark started in Kobanî in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories during the last 5 years on the military, political, and social levels, achieving unique progress in the domain of leading the community towards democracy and federalism – which is perceived by observers as the best solution not only to Syria, but also to the stalemate in the Middle East’s communities.
Rojava’s components of Kurds, Arabs, Syriac, Assyrian, Caldean, Turkmen, Circassian have all participated in the Rojava Revolution which broke out in July 19th. These components hand in hand established a democratic, cooperative system aiming to find a solution to the obstacles by the hegemonic powers, capitalist regimes and the nationalist states.
Due to the oppression and despotism Arab peoples in the Middle East had suffered, in 2011, the spark of the Arab Spring broke out from Tunis, reaching then Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrian and Daraa until the country including Rojava area, where people were revolting against the dictatorial, chauvinist Baathist regime.
Unfortunately, the Syrian Revolution lost its track due to external interferences, which aimed to undermine the revolution and overthrow the Baathist regime at the same time. When this situation happened, in 2012 Kobanî was liberated from the Baathist regime to protect Rojava areas. Soon after, the July 19th Revolution overwhelmed Rojava cities, organisational developments began and institutions were opened.
On the military level, remarkable achievements could be realised in Rojava areas. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units ( YPJ) were announced in July 19th, 2012 in a statement by YPG and YPJ which enjoyed a wide popularity in the area due to the victories they achieved. In July 24, 2012, Asayîş Forces were formed and shortly after, the Society Protection Units (HPC). Later on theSyrian Democratic Forces were formed in October 10, 2015 comprising many forces like Manbij, al-Bab, Jarablus, Deir ez-Zor, and now al-Raqqa Military Councils.
The revolution’s spark starting from Kobanî
In 2011, secret preparations were made to organize people, protection committees and councils were formed, one of the protestors in Kobanî at that time, Sadiq Aldmir, said:
“Since we took to streets in protests, we have always adopted the third line. Though people were not much convinced of it, our protests marched in the streets, on the main streets other protestors suddenly appeared as coordinations much bigger in number, still we insisted on protesting till we reach the main streets in the city”.
People though having no material possibilities in hand, they were in high spirits and worked day and night.
Kobanî canton’s head of Defense Body Ismet Sheikh hasan remembers those days saying:
”First of all, we started by taking control of the city entrances, and people began establishing checkpoints on roads standing for 5 hours though they had nothing but light arms.”
Simultaneously, people started to form councils and courts. Ahmad Sheikh, Co-chair of TEV-DEM:
“In January 13, 2012, we formed the first council in Kobanî, which is considered a victory to Kobanî people. Hygiene, protection, and training committees were also established despite the poor possibilities, but our feeling that oppression and despotism against us as Kurds have been eliminated motivated us to go on even stronger”.
With this spirit people managed to kick the Baathist regime out of the city and organised themselves. Society Protection Units were formed to protect the city from any danger. On that historic day, July 19th Revolution’s spark spread to other areas of Rojava, and TEV-DEM’s flags were raised over all government’s headquarters within Kobanî and its villages.
July 19th victories over 5 years in Kobanî
July 19th Revolution’s achieved many victories on the military, political, and social domains in Rojava areas, but the victories achieved in Kobanî were different. The city was the spring of Rojava revolution, but in addition, Kobanî also faced many attacks by hostile mercenaries, the last of which was ISIS. And still, people managed to organize themselves.
The military force began with 13 members. After July 19th, its members number reached 200 with light arms, nowadays, the result is a huge force of YPG, YPJ, SDF, HPC, Asayîş, and Self-Defense Forces. Thousands of fighters joined, and 5 YPG, YPJ regiments have been formed in the canton.
Kobanî has been frequently attacked by gangs supported by regional states – particularly Turkey. In the beginning of 2013, attacks were launched from Girê Spî (Tel Abyad), but YPG, YPJ fighters managed to repel the attack. The second was in July 2, 2014, the third attack was in August 15, 2014. All these attacks have been foiled by the fighters and Kobanî people’s resistance.
Impelled by their grudge towards Kobanî, the castle of resistance, IS mercenaries launched an attack on Kobanî people targeting civilians in the first place, and committed a hideous crime in Kobanî and Berx Batan village in June 25, 2015 leaving 253 martyrs.
On the social and regulatory level
After July 19th Revolution the main base of the federal project in northern Syria had its spring in Kobanî; communes, villages and neighborhoods’ councils, protection, hygiene, training, and economic committees were formed – thus establishing the corner stone of the federal project and its implementation on the ground.
On the medical side, the Health Organisation opened many hospitals to give sick people from Kobanî and its villages a proper treatment. Also in Tel Abyad and Manbij hospitals were opened, including 4 major hospitals in the city, and other many medical points in the neighborhoods. In Sareen town, a free hospital to treat the sick had been build up.
Schools, institutes and academies established
The second school of Kurdish language on Rojava level was opened in Kobanî canton before July 19th, but now the Pedagogy Body, Pedagogy Committee for Democratic community, and the Teachers’ Union.
Schools in Kobanî make up around 1,000 with 4,000 teachers, the number of students after July 19th Revolution is 90,000 students of different levels.
Media and Press Center YPJ