Seven years ago, the world watched in horror as ISIS attacked the Yezidi (Êzidî) community of Sinjar. The armed forces of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG left the region undefended and its people disarmed, despite knowing that the jihadist group was on the offensive.

In the days that followed, ISIS murdered thousands of Yezidi men and abducted thousands more Yezidi women and girls into sexual slavery. The brutal assault has since been recognized as a genocide.

For the international community, that was the end of the story. Yezidi women have been cast as helpless victims, devoid of agency…

Residents of Makhmour Refugee Camp read a statement (Roj News).

This is a translation of an article originally published in Kurdish by Roj News on June 8th, 2021. Read the original article here.

The Democratic People’s Assembly of Martyr Rustem Cudi Refugee Camp (Makhmour Camp) called on people around the world, the United Nations, the Ministry of Migration and Refugees, the Iraqi central government, and human rights organizations to take a stand against the attacks on the camp and take responsibility for its protection.

The Democratic People’s Assembly of Makhmour issued a statement about the recent threats and attacks targeting the refugee camp. Residents of the camp joined in the…

Leyla Arzu Ilhan, member of the Diplomacy Committee of the Ishtar Assembly in Makhmour Refugee Camp (ANHA)

This is a translation of an article first published in Kurdish by Hawar News Agency on June 5, 2020. Find the original article here.

The occupier Turkish state has carried out dozens of air attacks on the Martyr Rustem Cudi (Makhmour) Refugee Camp. The camp was established in 1993 for Kurds from North Kurdistan who fled the Turkish state’s attacks and massacres. It is located near the border of the town of Makhmour in Nineveh governorate, close to Erbil governorate and about 60 kilometers south of Erbil. Today, about 12,000 people live in the camp.

The camp is under the…

A Syrian woman abducted by Turkish-backed rebels has been sentenced to life in a Turkish prison after an illegal and unfair trial.

In October 2019, a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militiamen threatening an injured and traumatized captive surfaced on social media.

The woman, Çiçek Kobane (Dozgin Temo), was a Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) fighter who had been captured near Ain Issa, Syria. The Turkish-backed fighters filmed themselves calling Kobane a “pig” and shouting “to the slaughter!” as they carried her away.

On March 23rd, 2021, Kobane was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Urfa, Turkey. …

HDP MP Remziye Tosun surrounded by police at a demonstration.

This article analyzes women’s political representation in Kurdish-majority regions of Turkey before and after the 2019 crackdown on elected mayors from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), as well as women’s political representation in the Syrian region of Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) before and after Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Both political and military interventions by Turkey against Kurdish entities consistently diminish women’s representation in the impacted regions, often to rates below 10%.

In both cases, laws and policies implemented by Kurdish political actors in order to address gender discrimination and gender-based violence have been systemically removed by Turkish authorities and their allies…

Apparent censorship of parliamentary inquiries from MPs concerned by reports of kidnappings and sexual violence in Turkish-controlled Syria suggests that the government is actively hindering attempts to investigate these atrocities in the wake of a groundbreaking UN report.

Since taking control of the Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin in 2018, the Government of Turkey has only responded to one parliamentary inquiry on the status of women and girls abducted by Syrian National Army (SNA) factions, official records show.

Four other inquiries — all of which were submitted after a September 2020 United Nations report documented arbitrary detentions, torture, and widespread sexual and gender-based violence in Turkish-controlled Afrin — have not only not been answered, but are not included in the Turkish Parliament’s online database of written questions and research proposals at all.

Turkey allows members of its parliament…

This is a translation of an article published in Kurdish by JIN News on December 23, 2020. Find the original article here.

(JINNEWS/Sorgul Şêxo—Qamishlo)

Armanc Mohammed, head of the Women’s Economy of North and East Syria, evaluated their work during the past year and discussed the projects that had been implemented and the economic level that women had reached in North and East Syria. Armanc said that women had begun a revolution in the economic field and given color to the year 2020 with their efforts.

The Women’s Economy of North and East Syria develops projects and cooperatives so that…

Women work at a bakery in Raqqa (ANHA).

This is a translation of an article published in Kurdish by Hawar News Agency on October 1, 2020. Find the original article here.

Early last year, the Raqqa Women’s Committee put forward plans and projects for the future. In two years, these have been realized. The Committee has thus provided jobs for nearly 5,000 women in Raqqa and its surrounding villages.

At the start of this year, the Women’s Committee implemented several plans that were previously approved. In this way, the committee hopes to reduce unemployment among the women of Raqqa and give them opportunities to work.

So far, the…

While the applicability of the Kurdish movement’s feminist principles to non-Kurdish communities in Syria has been debated by analysts and observers, few serious attempts to understand how women from these communities view these principles in practice have been made.

The case of Manbij, liberated from ISIS by the SDF in August 2016, shows how women in a multi-ethnic Syrian city used AANES frameworks to build institutions, take on leadership roles, and organize in their communities to change discriminatory attitudes.

The success of women’s political and military structures in Manbij over time suggests that the AANES system can be a true…

A still from a video of women held in a newly discovered detention site in Afrin.

On May 29th, video footage revealed the presence of several women in a secret prison operated by the Hamza Division, a Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) militia.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the women were initially found naked. The site was discovered after clashes erupted between SNA groups after a dispute over payment in a shop.

It is clear that these women, and others known to be in similar situations across Turkish-occupied Syria, have suffered inhumane and degrading treatment— and are at further risk as long as they remain in detention.

Reports of kidnappings, torture, and sexual…

Meghan Bodette

News and analysis on Northeast Syria.

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