An article I just wrote for Al-Monitor, following some interviews with local NGOs and YPG fighters..(NB: The NGO is called Shawishka, not Shawisha).
Syrian Kurdish NGOs Prevent Recruitment of Youth Soldiers
QAMISHLI, Syria — The sparing of Syrian Kurdish regions from the regime’s shelling over the last two years has facilitated the launch of several civil society organizations. However, on a daily basis these new associations have to cope with the attempts of Kurdish political parties shaping civil society according to their tenets. In particular, the fragile coexistence of any independent actor with the prevailing political force — the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) — risks imploding as soon as this party’s monopoly of the public sphere comes under threat.
Among the challenges faced by these nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is the struggle against the brain drain of the educated youth who are forced to emigrate because of the dire economic situation and the need to keep impoverished teenagers from turning to weapons. The PYD seems to work in the opposite direction by recruiting young fighters within their Popular Protection Units (YPG) militia, which also appears to provide alternative values to street kids, despite its ideological brand. Only time will tell whether the threats posed by both the regime and the Arab opposition will continue to legitimize this militarization or disappear to make place for a thriving Kurdish civil society.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/syria-kurds-pyd-youth-civil-society.html#ixzz2VZbd6PTm
Categories: Kurdistan, Syria
Tags: AlMonitor, civilsociety, DemocraticUnionParty, KurdistanWorkersParty, Popular Protection Units, Qamishli, Shawishka, Syria, SyrianKurds, West Kurdistan
My first article from the province of Hasakeh (Syrian Kurdistan). It appeared on Al-Monitor on May 7. (follow the link to keep reading, unfortunately I cannot post the whole article here for copyright issues…)
Kurdish Group Gaining Autonomy
In Northern Syria
(photo from http://i.images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-9390681-original/People_around_the_World/Arab_States/Iraq/Kurdish_people/105_NEWROZ_2005.jpg)
QAMISHLI, Syria — Bilingual signs, “Western Kurdistan” (Rojava in Kurdish) on car license plates, Kurdish security forces (Asayish), Kurdish courts, municipalities, flags, unions and schools teaching Kurdish. This is the new look of the Kurdish-majority Syrian northern regions, the outcome of the withdrawal of regime security forces in July 2012 and the result of a delicate coexistence between Baathist and Kurdish institutions.
Syrian Kurds now have the chance to reap the benefits from the stalemate between the regime and the Arab opposition. But all this would not have been possible without a certain degree of connivance with the regime by the main Kurdish militia on the ground — the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Regardless of the de facto autonomy achieved and the growing popularity of the PYD, some fear the authoritarian features of the party’s agenda.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/pyd-pkk-syria-kurdistan.html#ixzz2T3dRtsm2
Categories: Kurdistan, Syria, Turkey
Tags: Amuda, Asayish, DemocraticUnionParty, Hasakeh, Kurdishlanguage, KurdistanWorkersParty, Pkk, Pyd, Qamishli, Syria, Syrian Kurdistan, SyrianKurds, Turkey