Revolution and Counterrevolution in Rojava

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1918 ... October 27, 2019

Revolution and Counterrevolution in Rojava

Fouad Oveisy

As I write, the revolution in Rojava is under existential threat. This threat was aggravated by a controversial roller coaster of recent events. After a late Sunday night phone conversation between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House released a statement on the withdrawal of the United States military from northeast Syria. The brief statement authorized, effectively, a colonial handover of northeast Syria to Turkey. On Wednesday morning of the following week, the Turkish Armed Forces and its jihadi mercenaries embarked on a campaign of killing, bombing and looting civilians, towns and villages in northeast Syria. Thursday evening, the governments of the United States and Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Turkish invasion.

By Saturday morning, 300,000 northeastern Syrian civilians had been displaced, at least 200 were killed, and countless more were wounded or missing. Finally, hours after news came of the fall of the border towns of Serê Kaniyê and Geri Spi on Sunday morning, Mazlum... Abdi Kobanî, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in charge of the region’s defenses, brokered the surrender of northeast Syria to Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in return for saving his people from Turkey.1 That night the SAA moved into the mainly Kurdish cities that were under siege and together, with the SDF, they defended the north for a few days before Mike Pence brokered a ‘ceasefire’ deal in Ankara on Thursday of the following week. The 120-hour ceasefire, which demanded that the SDF retreat 30 kilometers from the border with Turkey, was violated from the get-go through Turkish chemical warfare.

Over the weekend the SDF changed its position again, retreated from the border as instructed and resumed calls for US to stay in Syria. In the meantime the SAA was spreading its forces throughout the region, while Turkey and its jihadi proxies were spreading across the border stretch. On Tuesday afternoon of 22 October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdoğan agreed on a permanent ceasefire after an intense six-hour meeting. The deal protects north Syria’s Kurds and borders but forebodes the end of the revolution in Rojava.

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