Serekaniye (Serê Kaniyê / Ras al-Ayn)

Serekaniye appears on maps officially as Ras al-Ayn (Arabic: رأس العين‎, translit. Raʾs al-ʿAyn, Turkish: Resülayn, Kurdish: Serê Kaniyê‎, Classical Syriac: ܪܝܫ ܥܝܢܐ‎, translit. Rēš Aynā). It is a city in the Al-Hasakah Canton, in the Jazira Region of the Autonomous Administrations of North and East Syria. It lies on the border with Turkey.

One of the oldest civilisations in Upper Mesopotamia, the area has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age (c. 8,000 BC). It has been Aramean, Roman, and Byzantine.

In 1921, the city was divided by the drawing of new borders that separated the new nation states of Turkey and Syria. Its northern part lies in Turkey and is officially called Ceylanpınar.

In 2005, Serekaniye was recorded as having a population of 29,347 Arabs, Kurds, Syriac, and a smaller number of Armenians and Chechens.

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. Around Sere Kaniye, over 12,000 hectares had been given over to agricultural cooperatives. All cooperatives coordinated their activities, with some specialized in producing, others in buying and selling. The cooperative Hevgirtin united 1,250 members, cultivating barley on over 6000 hectares. The profits that the members of these agricultural cooperatives had put aside throughout 2015 and 2016 allowed them to open the cooperative Mesopotamia, a half-automated bakery. 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). The Mesopotamia Bakery has been seized by Turkish-backed factions, resulting in the loss of machinery and reserves. Co-operative agricultural associations have also been plundered, with the total loss of 800 tons of wheat plus 1,500 tons of fertilizer from 6 cooperatives in the Sere Kaniye countryside. 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. In Heseke countryside, the Kaniya Jin cooperative brings together three families who fled the invasion of Sere Kaniye. They cultivate garlic and onions on one hectare of land.

Yet motivating the displaced to settle in a new place is difficult. Those who fled from Sere Kaniye prefer to stay in the IDP camp, as they hope to return one day to their homes. In other cases, therefore, cooperatives develop directly inside the IDP camps.

Euphrates Water Reaches Syria’s Hasakah

The water of the Euphrates River has actually reached the reservoirs of the water station of al-Aziziyah after nine-month work on the project of bringing the Euphrates water to Hasakah, Salwa Saleh, co-chair of the General Directorate of Drinking  Water in Hasakah, northeast Syria, said on Tuesday. “The 130-km pipes and the lifting stations, which

The Attempt to Dry Up a Revolution

The Turkish state uses water as a weapon against the population in North and East Syria.

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.

Turkish water policy in Syria and Iraq

In light of the conditions that Syria is currently facing, water has been cut off from North-east Syria and Iraq, and a policy is being pursued to starve and dehydrate millions of innocent civilians. This is not only happening on top of the current political conflicts in the region and its associated inhospitable living conditions but amidst the corona pandemic – all of which is taking place in front of the international community.

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.

How Turkey’s Anti-Kurdish Crackdowns Threaten Women Across the Middle East

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.

They Contributed to their Communities by Forming a Co-operative

Eleven women have successfully formed a co-operative society by buying a power generator. These women were previously stripped from their natural right to work and were distanced from contributing to the communal economy, but thanks to the Rojava Revolution they have reinforced the women's economy and reinstated a role for women in their society.

Explainer: Co-operatives in North and East Syria – developing a new economy

Currently, North and East Syria (NES) faces enormous economic difficulties: rampant inflation, a partial embargo, war and the draining of resources by occupying Turkish forces in Sere Kaniye, Tel Abyad and Afrin. In this crisis context, NES is developing an economic model which aims at self-sufficiency and sustainability. The economic program of the Autonomous Administration

Improving Rojava’s Economy: forming co-operatives in Serekaniye

“The co-operative societies in Serekaniye are based on social, co-operative and communal principles. They are not established only to make profits, and for that reason the administrators of the co-operative societies form meetings and seminars with the participants in the villages and cities, in order to raise awareness and introduce the ideas of co-operatives to the people. It is important to rely on small businesses and encourage participation in co-ops. The organisers in those meetings and seminars also get a chance to listen to the complaints and the needs of the people.”

Co-operatives Play a Major Role in Northern Syria

After the Democratic Autonomous Administration was able to establish a democratic way of life in Northern Syria, they introduced the socio-economic model of co-operative societies. As the revolution has developed, people have begun to form co-operatives. Hundreds of co-operatives are now operating in the area. One of the areas where many co-operatives have spread is in Serêkaniyê city, where residents began forming co-operatives in 2014.