Girê Spî‎ (Tell Abyad)

Tell Abyad (Arabic: تل أبيض‎, lit. ‘White Hill’, Kurdish: Girê Spî‎, Turkish: TellebyadArmenian: Թել Աբյադ, Classical Syriac: ܬܠ ܐܒܝܕ‎) is a town in the Tel Abyad Canton of the Euphrates Region of the Autonomous Administrations of North and East Syria.

The town was divided when the borders were drawn along the borders of Syria and Turkey. Its northern part is currently Akçakale, a city which lies within Turkey’s borders.

The town was liberated by the Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) on 16 June, 2015.

On the morning of 9 October 2019, Turkish state military forces began to bombard cities of Rojava – and also began incursions across the border, particularly in the region around Girê Spî and Serê Kaniyê, which are now under full occupation by Turkish forces.

Turkey has faced accusations of ethnic cleansing and war crimes, including the use of banned chemical weapons. On top of this, and emboldened by it, ISIS regaining strength in the region and sleeper cell attacks have increased by 48% since the start of the invasion.

The Turkish military and their allied Jihadist militias are attacking civilians, as well as military positions, with aerial bombardment and tanks on the ground; destroying hospitals, houses, electricity and water supplies. The illegal invasion has so far killed over 300 civilians, and around 300,000 people have been displaced.

Shortly before the Turkish invasion of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad in October 2019, both cities and their surrounding areas were a fertile home for a high concentration of cooperatives. Such initiatives played a pioneering role in the cooperative economy of NES.

Turkey’s October 2019 invasion and ongoing occupation of 5000km2 in the Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad regions destroyed this developing alternative economy. Turkish-backed forces plundered and looted private and public properties, businesses and cooperatives (for more information, see RIC’s December 2019 report: Turkey’s war against civilians). Co-operative agricultural associations have also been plundered. The psychological impact must be considered alongside the material damage: the experience or threat of destruction makes any attempt at building up future projects seem in vain.

Yet cooperatives develop even among those who have fled the war. The cooperatives bureau attempt to spark the creation of new villages by giving arable land to inhabitants who are living in IDP camps.

Interview with Meghan Bodette, Researcher on North and East Syria

Bodette discusses her observations of a people seeking self-determination, the democratic spirit and values that are visible everywhere in the region, her take on the women’s revolution in North and East Syria, and her recommendations on US policy toward the region going forward. She recalls walking into the Raqqa Civil Council building and “seeing women everywhere” in public life, in the city where ISIS was in power half a decade ago. She shares her observations on Turkish aggression and the Turkish occupation of North and East Syria. She recommends that the US draw closer to North and East Syria, promote negotiations between Turkey and Kurdish groups to resolve the Kurdish question, and “end its support for Turkey’s efforts to seek a military solution.” She encourages others to deepen their awareness of the region, saying, “Their fight is not over. And because their fight is not over, ours isn’t either. Anyone with any interest whatsoever in peace and democracy must continue to talk about North and East Syria.”

Work training for refugee women in Girê Spi camp

The Girê Spi Refugee Camp administration has started a working training period for the women staying in the camp.

Euphrates River Dry Due to Turkey’s Brutal Occupation, Withholding Water

The front lines may have stabilized, yet Turkey’s war on North and East Syria continues through its weaponization of water. The dry river beds of the once-mighty Euphrates River are just another image of the brutality of the illegal Turkish occupation of the region.

Women’s leading role in re-building Rojava economy: Women organised themselves for an ‘independent economy’

A member of the AANES Women's Economy Committee has shared information on the role of women's co-operatives in re-building a "free and independent" economy in northeastern Syria.

Syrian Women’s Leadership in a Fractured State

A novel Middle East Women Leaders Index, published by the Middle East Women Initiative, ranked Syria relatively low in women’s representation and leadership in the public sector. The data used (primarily from the World bank and UNDP) for the index covered the status of women in the Syrian government and areas it controls. However, the situation in Syria today is far more complex, almost ten years into the conflict.

Refugees in Girê Spî Camp Set Up Vegetable Co-operative

60 decares of land was allocated to the newly established co-operative.