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Northern Syria

It is astounding how much misinformation and lack of knowledge there is regarding Syria today.  This is ground zero for the war on ISIS and Jihadist Fascism, yet very few know what’s really going on.  You are soon to be among them.

Let’s start with a quick story.   In the pre-dawn hours of August 24 last year, 2016, a heavily armed force of the Turkish military dubbed Euphrates Shield invaded Syria and seized the border town of Jarabulus on the Euphrates River (see map).  The excuse was to rescue the city from ISIS.

What actually happened was that a series of anti-ISIS Arab Military Councils had formed their own militias in the region composed of local fighters.  They had succeeded in liberating the town of Manbij from ISIS south of Jarabulus a few weeks before, and were now poised to take Jarabulus as well.

But just as they were about to enter the city, the Turkish Army arrived.  Within hours, the Arab militia fighters born and raised in Jarabulus saw ISIS terrorists shave their beards, change their black garments for Turkish uniforms, and join the Turks.

In other words, the Islamist and ISIS-supporting leader of Turkey, Recip Erdogan, ordered his army into Syria not to attack ISIS as his propaganda proclaimed, but to prevent the anti-ISIS militias from defeating ISIS in Jarabulus.

There are now anti-Turkish demonstrations in Jarabulus daily.  Schoolchildren are being forced to learn Turkish.  Here is a link to a video showing Turkish soldiers of the Eastern Ahrar Battalion (Katiba Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah) murdering a poor sheep trader, Abdul Hakim Mahmud Alhamud from Um Al-Adasa village, caught by them between Manbij and Jarabulus.  It will make you sick to your stomach.

Jarabulus is at the eastern end of the “Azaz Corridor,” the epicenter of the Syrian conflict between the Euphrates River and Azaz from the Turkish border to Al Bab.

Turkey initially created the Corridor to provide a Turkish sanctuary and supply route to Raqqa, the ISIS capital.  But as you can see, Erdogan’s attempt to militarily seize at least the northern section of the Corridor would prevent Kurdish control of the entire border of Northern Syria from Qamishli and Syria’s border with Iraq all the way to Afrin west of Azaz (that isolated purple area north of Aleppo).

For the fact is that the Arab Military Councils in the Corridor have joined with the Kurdish YPG (Peoples Protection Units).  Even more significant is the formation of a coalition between Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, and Turkmen called the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC).

The SDC is the leader of all anti-ISIS, anti-Salafi, anti-Turkish imperialist, pro-democracy efforts in Northern Syria from Qamishli (the capital of Syrian Kurdistan) to Latakia on the Mediterranean.  It oversees four million civilians, and a total of 80,000 police and military forces collectively known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The SDF is thus fighting the radical Islamists of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), ISIS, and the invading Turkish Army.  They are the only ones fighting for a free, secular, democratic Syria.

This week (Jan. 23-24), “Syrian Peace Talks” took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

It was organized by – wait for it – Turkey, Russia, and Iran, an untrustworthy trio as you can imagine.  The only Syrian opposition groups were radical Islamist groups like the Free Syrian Army.  The Syrian Democratic Council was not invited.

Meaning the “peace talks” were an utter fraud – as is the “ceasefire” which the talks agreed upon.  It is being used by Turkey to attack and provoke SDF forces to defend themselves as an excuse to claim they are terrorists violating the cease fire.

A month ago on December 29, 2016 in Qamishli, leaders of the Syrian Democratic Council – 165 total representing the Syriac, Christian, Yazidi, Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen communities –  declared an autonomous political region within Syria:  The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS).

The DFNS not only establishes Syria’s first secular democracy in history, it is firmly protective of women’s rights.  For example, in the Arab populated town of Manbij now liberated from ISIS, there are Women’s Houses where women can go to be protected from abuse, be educated on their freedoms and rights, and express their voices publicly.

At every administrative level of the SDC and DFNS (city, canton, federation), the leadership is shared between a man and a woman.  The Co-President of the Syrian Democratic Council is Madam President Ilham Ahmad.

She and the other leaders and members of the Syrian Democratic Council; the Arab Military Councils of Jarabulus, Manbij, and Al Bab; the Syrian Democratic Forces; the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, are the real heroes of Syria today.

They are not fighting to break Syria apart.  They are fighting for their autonomy within a democratic federalism that holds Syria together.  They are being attacked by Syria’s true enemy, the ISIS-supporting Islamist regime of Erdogan, while being marginalized and ignored by the UN and world media.

Here is the Founding Declaration of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.  I encourage you to read it.  They deserve our support, and hopefully will gain it from President Trump.

And let’s hope President Trump will suspend Turkey from NATO.  All it takes is one phone call from him to the SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, giving him one order:  That “No US service member is to coordinate with or interact with a Turkish military officer.”

One legal order that takes one minute and Turkey is effectively out of NATO.  Trump should do it tomorrow.  Watch that video again if you can stand it.


The Political Document for the Future of Syria
Founding Statement of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
Qamishli, December 29, 2016

 Despite the supreme sacrifices of the Syrian peoples in the last six years of the crisis, the situation has not improved; on the contrary, the crisis has expanded and become deeper.

This reveals that the crisis is structural and in order to deal with it, there must be some comprehensive and radical solutions. Given that the methods and propositions used so far have not been able to solve the crisis, it would be better to reconsider them and look for new constructive ways.

During the last phase, it has been clear that the depleting war imposed on the Syrian people does not serve the interest of any of the Syrian components regardless to ethnic, religious, and cultural identity. This war results from the regime’s unwillingness to endorse a democratic change and insistence on one-party regime.

To end the Syrian tragedy, we need a radical change through establishing a democratic system, which ensures the rights of all individuals and components of the Syrian society.

What has happened in the last few years proves that we, as Syrians, do not have any other choice but the democratic solution.

However, if the Syrian regime or any other political side insisted on restoring the nation-state or imposing its own identity, this would help divide Syria because the unity based on democracy, freedom and equality can protect Syrian sovereignty and strengthen its social structure.

However, forced unity based on national, religious and sectarian fanaticism would lead Syria to collapse.

Taking this fact into consideration and given the cultural, national, and social richness of the Syrian society, it is clear that the pluralistic democratic federal system based on the notion of the democratic nation is the best system to unify Syrians while restoring the nation-state will lead to further divisions in our social structure.

There is an agreement among all the democratic political sides regarding the importance of democratic transformation in Syria. But we need to make this possible by adopting a democratic constitution.

We, the Constituent Assembly of  Democratic Federalism in Northern Syria, see that the Syrian crisis can be solved through rebuilding the republic based on a democratic constitution.

We have sought to hold a dialogue with all Syrian political forces to solve our problems and decide our future. However, we have been marginalized and excluded from all the meetings that have taken place so far.

We would like to assert that since the beginning we have moved through democratic national agendas believing that, as Syrians, we can solve our own problems. Unfortunately, neither the regime nor the internal and external opposition have showed any will to hold a dialogue with us.

Although they have not provided any resolution project, they have not accepted our options too, which increased futility. Thus, we do not have any other choice but to organize the areas liberated from the terrorists democratically to protect our region from all kinds of attacks.

We also aim to create an alternative so that the Northern parts of Syria would become a model for resolution.

It is worth mentioning that the democratic federal project to be implemented is part and parcel of other federalisms we think important to be established in the future.

Since the objective and subjective conditions are not met to establish a democratic constitution for all Syria in the present time, we, in the liberated areas, are going to organize our lives according to this social contract approved by all the components living in Northern Syria till the establishment of a democratic constitution, which recognizes the rights of all Syrians.

We consider the main principles that should form the general framework of the Syrian democratic constitution are:

  1. The democratic nation

The democratic nation consists of individuals who share equal rights and freedoms. It also consists of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities, based on individual and group rights.

  1. A State for all

It is clear that we, as Syrians, need a new notion for a State, a State for all. This means that the State should consist of people with different languages, ethnicities, and religions.

This notion strengths the integrity and coexistence and asserts the unity of the Syrian society and soil, while a mono-ethnic State marginalizes the majority of the people, which leads to divisions and fragmentations.

Fascism produces people who follow the same styles of thinking while pluralism represents richness in nature and society. Thus, it is better to have a national spirit based on relation to the land, ecology, progress, but not in a fascist and chauvinistic way.

  1. The democratic federal republic

Viewing the republic as a nation-state is an influential factor of marginalization as it is the strict form of the republic. It makes it impossible to have a democratic nation-state. The optimal system for a republic should be democratic.

The nation-state eliminates the democratic characteristics of societies as is the case with the previous period. If we take the cultural diversity in Syria into account, we will find out that the democratic solution is compatible with the Syrian democratic federal republic model.

What is really important here is to establish a Syrian democratic federal republic, which unifies all federations. To solve the critical issues in Syria, it is important for the system and State not to be linked to an ideology, ethnicity, or religion. Thus, it is more convenient to formulate a legal definition of the Syrian democratic federal republic as a democratic legal system for all the people.

By doing so, the principle of the democratic nation and secularism will be embodied in the definition above. Describing Syria as “The Syrian Democratic Federal Republic” without any reference to ethnic, racial, or religious terms would be more comprehensive and integral.

  1. The democratic constitution

To lay the foundation of the democratic principles, they must be based on a constitution which truly represents all the components of the society so that their rights can always be protected.

This will pave the way for the social institutions and segments to organize and develop themselves and take their natural role in society, particularly women and youth. The democratic constitution is considered a tool that helps solve the problems of the State. It will ensure the unity of federations in a mutual State.

  1. Self-defense

Self-defense is a very important issue because it protects the social and cultural identities of the Syrian peoples.

It has been proved historically that the communities which have not been able to defend themselves have been exposed to all kinds of extermination. Thus, we must ensure self-defense for all communities and individuals in Syria. Moreover, the establishment of sufficient self-defense system is crucial for a free, equal and fair life.

  1. Women’s freedom

Women’s freedom is one of the most important issues in the Syrian communities. One of the main reasons for retardation in our societies is the marginalization and elimination of women’s role in the process of building societies.

To get rid of the undemocratic and unfair practices against women, there must be some constitutional articles to ensure equality between men and women in all aspects of life. Thus, the active participation of women in the process of drafting a new constitution in Syria is considered vital.

  1. Economy

We must establish an economic policy to protect the society and environment against the destructive effects of monopolized policy, which dominates the economy.

Therefore, there is a dire need for an economic policy which fulfills the society needs and ensures a fair distribution of Syrian wealth. Furthermore, we must get rid of unemployment, which has been increasing in our societies, so that every individual should have a job regardless to his/her gender, ethnic, or religious identity.

  1. Language and culture:

Using the mother tongue and culture in the field of education, art, science, and religion is considered one of the basic human rights.

Thus, we must ensure education in the mother tongue in the new constitution for Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmen, and Chechens. This will strengthen the social and cultural structure of the Syrian communities and will pave the way for a voluntary unity among all components.

According to what has been mentioned above, we, as the Constituent Assembly of Federalism in Northern Syria, will do our best to develop a democratic solution which covers all Syria.

We assert to the Syrian general opinion that we are ready for negotiation and dialogue with all Syrian forces to establish a democratic system, which ensures peace and stability for all Syrians.

The Constituent Assembly of Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria 29/12/2016