Rmelan (Rimêlan / Rumelan / Ramelan / Rimelan / Rmeilan)

Rmelan (Arabic: رميلان‎, Kurdish: Rimêlan‎, Classical Syriac: ܪܡܝܠܐܢ‎) is a town in the Qamişlo Canton, in the Jazira Region of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

Former headquarter of Syrian Petroleum Company, the town is famous for being one of the major centres of oil production in Syria.

Until 2012, Rumelan was cut off from the Kurds who lived around it by a high wall and barbed wire. Assad’s oil company exploited nearby oil fields of the same name, with profits going to members of his ruling Baath party. Now, the compound serves as the Jazira headquarters of the Movement for a Democratic Society, or TEV-DEM, Rojava’s coalition government in which Yusif’s party, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), has majority control.

The town has a well-developed infrastructure including roads of 22 km-long, public parks, swimming pools, family clubs, cinema halls and cultural centres.

The population of the town is of mixed Arab, Kurd and Assyrian ethnicities. However, Rmelan is also home to a large number of workers resettled from other Syrian regions.

According to an official 2009 estimate, the population at that time was 11,500.

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Revolutionary Education

Over the past thirty years, instructor Dorşîn Akîf told us, women participated in the Kurdish freedom movement, first as fighters, then in women’s institutions. Three years ago Kurdish women produced Jineolojî, or “women’s science,” which they regard as the culmination of that decades-long experience. At the academy in Rimelan, students are first given a general overview of Jineolojî, “the kind of knowledge that was stolen from women” and that women today can recover. “We are trying to overcome women’s nonexistence in history. We try to understand how concepts are produced and reproduced within existing social relations, then we come up with our own understanding. We want to establish a true interpretation of history by looking at the role of women and making women visible in history.”

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