How Syria’s Kurds are trying to create a democracy

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  • Published on:  Monday, March 12, 2018
  • It’s an unlikely place for a democratic revolution.

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    Since the start of the Syrian civil war, Kurdish people in the North have carved out an autonomous region of their own — Rojava — by fighting the Islamic State. Their militias, which form the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have emerged as the most effective fighters against ISIS and won them a close partnership with the US.

    The ruling Kurdish Party, the PYD, has set up a democratic federation made of local governments. Their constitution claims to accept people of all ethnicities and religions and treat them as equals. One of its central tenets is equality of men and women. In fact, the all-female Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ) militia fights alongside the SDF, and they’re known to be especially good soldiers.

    But the more territory the Kurds take from ISIS, the more worried Turkey gets.

    Turkey has been at war with another closely linked Kurdish group, the PKK, for decades. In 2018, Turkey invaded the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin, putting the country in direct conflict with the Kurds of Rojava.

    To truly understand the international conflicts and trends shaping our world you need a big-picture view. Video journalist Sam Ellis uses maps to tell these stories and chart their effects on foreign policy. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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  • Vox

     (Mar 12, 2018)

    Welcome to another episode of Vox Atlas! We’re using maps to explore today’s most complex geopolitical, foreign policy, and conflict stories. The videos can be found in this playlist: And please send me story suggestions in the comments!-Sam

  • Young nd

     (Mar 15, 2018)

    So, US abandoned Kurds when it found out that they are no longer useful?

  • Nathan Suka.

     (16 hours ago)

    Don’t tell me that you are surprised.

  • shadowlord141

     (2 days ago)

    That's how politics works

  • Erik Arustamyan

     (Mar 17, 2018)

    US used the kurds as a means to defeat Isis then stopped supporting them once Isis was gone even though that's when the kurds needed their help the most.Seems like a US thing to do...

  • shadowlord141

     (2 days ago)

    You don't get to be a world power by being sentimental

  • Braden LeMon

     (Jan 19, 2019)

    Erik Arustamyan Well,if we support the Kurdish state’s independence we will lose Turkey as a NATO ally and allow Russia to have more influence over the Middle East as Iraq,Syria,Iran,Turkey,Jordan,and Lebanon all have bad relations with Kurds and their ideas of a nation within allied or their own territory.So basically we can’t do much and it’s only up to the nations that holds that Kurds to be nice but risk economic/influence lost.Im pretty certain that the USA will recognize Kurdish independence if...

  • Martin Hu

     (Jul 9, 2018)

    love to kurds, from China

  • HA HA

     (Mar 13, 2018)

    Idk why but this makes me wanna do something productive...

  • Trevor’s Random trash

     (Nov 6, 2018)

    Produce firearms and bombs and ship them to the kurds for cheap

  • Lasse Riise

     (Aug 19, 2018)

    Neither PYD nor YPG has ever threatened the soil of the Turkish republic. They are very different from PKK.

  • /:

     (Mar 12, 2018)

    Its sad How little people know about this but still have strong opinions

  • Hussein Ahmad

     (4 days ago)

    +Weiner Drizzle what has any of that to do with this topic on the Kurds. Secondly, you're oversimplifying the reasons for these wars.

  • Payam yazdi

     (Apr 23, 2018)

    Kurds are Great People But USA is stabbing it's allies in the back one after another.

  • Darth Veles

     (Apr 16, 2018)

    Solidarity with the Kurds from the U.S.

  • KeremBey

     (Jan 23, 2019)

    Usa support terrorists

  • یاسر خلف الطائي

     (Mar 14, 2018)

    kurdish afrin need help all of the wourld😢

  • Sa De

     (14 hours ago)

    Where can I buy a Kurd waifu?