Qamishli or Qamishlo (Arabic: القامشلي, Kurdish: Qamişlo, Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܙܠܝ̈ܢ) is the de-facto administrative capital of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. It is part of the Qamişlo Canton, which forms part of the Jazira Region.
This large and bustling city sits on Turkey’s border, making it vulnerable to attacks. Its sister city Nusaybin was divorced from it when the borders were drawn and now lies in Bashur [North Kurdistan / southeastern Turkey].
Qamishlo has an airport, with flights still going to and from Damascus. It also has a train station, but trains are currently not in operation.
According to the 2004 census, Qamishli had a population of 184,231.
Avîn went to Turkey looking for work at the beginning of the Rojava Revolution, but she couldn’t endure the injustice in the treatment of the workers. She returned to Qamishlo and now works in Nisrîn Co-operative. Avîn saiys that in Turkey, they were treating the workers like slaves.
Industry has been developing in Northern Syria despite the ongoing blockade and limited capacity. Many fields of industry, such as food and textiles, have been utilising the raw materials that grow in the region.
“In Rojava…I saw the strength and passion that the human being is capable of, I saw the will and determination to fight for freedom, justice and truth women and men are capable of. I saw the passion with which men and women are building a new society. I saw how a human being can overcome pain and suffering no matter how enormous and even when you think they will tear you apart so that you will never get up again.” (Orsola Casagrande)
Since the start of the popular movement in Syria in the spring of 2011, many civil society organisations have been set up to prioritise women's empowerment. This coincided with the establishment of the self-administration in 2013, and the formation of its structures and institutions, which began to manage affairs in Rojava. In spite of the difficult economic environment and the challenging situation, women have played a significant role in many fields, and are encouraged to find work opportunities to achieve financial independence.
There are 21 co-operative societies in Qamishlo that are embodying the ideas of communal and participatory life, creating a collective environment at work, and building solidarity among the members of society.
A food manufacturing co-operative society called Yekbûn has been opened by some women in the Hilaliyah neighbourhood in Qamishlo. Yekbûn means "to be one".
In Rojava, the significance of the co-operative system lies in efforts to democratise all sectors of society, including the economy. For this reason, creating alternative means and avenues that allow traditionally marginalised groups such as women to actively participate and engage with the market is an essential aspect of the radical democratic model.
The two communes of Shehid Mohammed Amin and Shehid Bahuz, which include 150 families in the Sweis neighbourhood of Qamishlo, have formed an electric co-operative society called Ronak. Their objective is to solve their problems autonomously and serve their neighbourhood. The administration includes seven people, and the price is 1,000 SYP [Syrian Pounds] per amp. The electricity generator will work from 12:00 to 17:00, and from 20:00 to 00:00 on a daily basis.
After the announcement of the Democratic Self Administration in 2014, institutions were organised and local councils and committees were formed which concentrated their efforts on the economic situation in the region. One of the missions of the Economic Committee was to support the agricultural, industrial and commercial projects throughout Rojava, with the aim of reaching self-sufficiency, curbing monopoly and exploitation, reducing unemployment and activating the work force, both male and female.
The year 2016 was characterised by the advance of economic projects that aimed to improve the communal economy in Rojava, especially the projects that were connected to women.
A journey into the heart of the revolution and the strategies of transition towards a social economy: the multiplication of communes and cooperatives, and experimentation with new models of social, political and economic organisation.