The July 19 revolution ... the launch and development stages
The Kurds who were marginalized and denied politics realized early on that the Syrian revolution that started in March 2011 deviated from it and started serving the agendas of regional powers, led by Turkey and Qatar, so they launched on July 19, 2012 their revolution, known as the July 19 revolution.
In this dossier consisting of three parts, we will talk about this revolution and its launch and the thought that underpins it and the role of women in it, and in the first part we will address the reasons for the launch of the revolution and the stages that passed through it and the most important obstacles faced.
Decades of denial and genocide
Since the Sykes-Picot agreement that divided the Kurds and distributed them among four countries - Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran - the Kurdish people everywhere suffered from injustice, persecution, and genocide and denial policies, and the Kurds in Syria were not far from the policies of Arabization like Turkification and imposing to Persian politics, and hard proof to what they exposed to in March 2014.
With the start of the Syrian revolution, the Kurds were optimistic about obtaining their legitimate rights that they had been deprived of for decades in these countries that are controlled by the security grip, but this revolution soon turned to militarization, and began serving the agendas of regional powers, so the Kurds realized that this revolution would achieve nothing for the Syrian people, how can it achieve something for the Kurds?
The Kurds choose their way in the revolution
Therefore, the Kurds chose their path in the revolution, and launched the revolution of July 19, 2012, "It is the new day and the day of rebuilding," according to Zallal Jakr, the co-chair of Democratic Society Movement TEV-DEM, which took upon itself the organization of the people to prevent an administrative vacuum before the establishment of the autonomous administration.
Zalal Jaker asserts that the launch of this revolution demonstrated to all that the Kurds are able to lead the revolution and stand against injustice, persecution and tyranny.
The July 19 revolution came as a result of an inheritance, and a fruitful of the struggle and hard work of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement in Syria, and in this context the co-chair of the Executive Body of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Aldar Khalil says, “Were it not for the heritage of this people, which is based on the mentality of freedom, resistance, and the struggle for the nation dignity, and redemption to realize his rights as the revolution was not so strong and level. "
This revolution, which started from the city of Kobani and spread to the rest of the cities and towns of Rojava by expelling the Baathist regime from it, was taken from the philosophy of the democratic nation as a basis for it, and it took a third-line approach as its way, and it moved away and abandoned the search for power as the other parties did.
The co-chair of the Legislative Council in Al-Jazeera region, Ph.D. Hussein al-Azzam, affirms that adopting the third line came in response to the conditions that Syria was going through and affirming that the region did not and will not fall into the bump of the Syrian crisis as the other parties said.
The opposition depends on abroad and the Kurds depend on the people into Syria
With the Syrian opposition dependent on the regional powers, the weapons of those who claimed to be revolutionaries and want freedom for the Syrian people were directed towards the Kurds in Syria, and the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo as well as the city of Afrin were attacked, and later the various Kurdish regions were attacked.
In that, Zalal Jakr says: "Those who went out in the revolution were aspiring to freedom and democracy in the beginning, but external interference emptied the revolution from its content, transformed the revolutionaries into militants and directed them to attack the Kurdish areas, as they now turned them into mercenaries ... the Syrian revolution has been distorted since it born in the cradle. "
Those who claimed to lead the Syrian revolution, whether they were present in neighboring or western countries, or who had formed armed groups and fought against the regime, had one effort, which is how to gain power and limit the rule in their hands instead of the existing system.
But the situation was completely different in the aims of the July 19 revolution, and in this context, Aldar Khalil says, “In our regions, the endeavors were different and different, and focused on how to develop the community’s mentality, prevent civil war between the components, reach a form of mutual coexistence among all components of society, and build confidence Society itself and its capabilities to develop its defense force, and to grant society confidence to practice its diplomacy and policy and to develop its culture. "
Announcing the formation of the People's Protection Units YPG
With the Syrian revolution diverting from its course, mercenary, sectarian, and national groups emerged in various regions, security and stability were absent in the country, and the Kurds became the target of attacks by mercenary groups backed from abroad, so there was a need for a military force capable of protecting the people who were at the beginning The formation of institutions aimed at bringing society to freedom and democracy was developed, and accordingly the formation of the YPG was officially announced on July 19, 2012.
On the reasons for forming these units, Nouri Mahmoud spokesperson for the YPG said, "The announcement of their formation came from the depth of the culture of this region, and from its political memory, which believes in freedom, redemption, and sacrifice in order to obtain rights."
Since its formation, the YPG has communicated with armed groups in other Syrian regions that were claiming protection to the Syrians and their revolution, but all their efforts were unsuccessful, because the majority of those groups that were organizing themselves within the so-called “Free Army” were associated with the foreign agendas that were financing them and seeking to achieve their goals in Syria.
In this context, Nouri Mahmoud says, "Instead of these formed groups serving the revolution, they have stolen and destroyed the infrastructure, and have turned into mercenaries from Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda, and ISIS."
Mahmoud stresses that what prevented these groups from interacting with their forces is "reliance by these parties on extremist Islamic ideologies far from true Islam, and their dependence on mercenary gangs," noting that what these groups have reached and turned into mercenaries to fight in Libya is now clear evidence for everyone.
The YPG assumed responsibility for the defense of the area since its formation, and it was able to deter the attacks against the region, starting from Serêkaniyê
, Tal Barak, Tal Hamis, al-Hasakah, and Kobani, up to Afrin and the neighborhood of Sheikh Maksoud in the city of Aleppo.
And joining these forces was not only limited to the Kurds, but also the Arabs and Syrians became involved in them, and therefore became the nucleus for the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces in October 2015, which had a pioneering role in fighting ISIS until it was eliminated geographically in March 2019.
People organize themselves toward autonomous administration
After the revolution included all the towns and cities of Rojava and expelled the Baathist regime from them, the people of the region were quick to organize themselves in civil and service institutions to secure their basic services, and the organization began to form communes and local councils to reach the formation of the people of West Kurdistan, to manage the region.
TEV-DEM, which was leading the popular movement at the time, assumed the task of organizing the society. In this context, Ph.D. Hussein al-Azzam said, “The Democratic Society Movement TEV-DEM managed to preserve the institutions and circles from which the Baathist regime was expelled, and the vacuum that occurred as a result of the abandonment of government service institutions from the region, and soon It was filled through local committees and councils via a new structure far from the structure of the state. "
Aldar Khalil indicated that the July 19 revolution targeted the mentality and fear that the regime instilled in the hearts of all that they are unable to manage their affairs without the state and its institutions, stressing that the revolution instilled confidence in the community in its ability to organize itself and for this the communes were formed because it is the basis for the development and management of society, noting communes are not a company or an institution that is being built, as much as it is a mindset that must be addressed and corrected.
With each campaign that was led by the YPG against ISIS, new areas were liberated and the area of the liberated area expanded, so there was a need for a comprehensive institutional structure between all regions to be able to manage them from the social, political and security aspects, so steps began towards the end of 2013 AA is common to all components.
Although TEV –DEM was in charge of organizing the society, the movement’s current co-chair, Zalal Jakr, says, “It was necessary to have an administrative system besides the social and organizational system in the region, and based on discussions that lasted 6 months, we reached a system of the autonomous administration in 3 cantons, and it was announced at the beginning of 2014.
For his part, Hussein Al-Azzam says that one of the results of the July 19 revolution is the declaration of Democratic Autonomous Administration in January 2014 in the three cantons (Al-Jazeera, Kobani, and Afrin), as well as the civil administrations that followed in “Manbij, al-Raqqa, al-Tabqa, and Deir-ez-Zor."
Al-Azzam continued, "The importance of AA came from it choice of the third-line approach, without being biased towards the system or the opposition. Rather, we had a special approach based on the philosophy of the democratic nation, and with the participation of all powers in these regions we built our political, military, service, and social institutions, and today our regions are still considered It is better now compared to other regions in Syria with the testimony of everyone watching the work, whether from home or abroad. "
Now the north and east Syria region is administered through 7 civil administrations and councils, which met on September 6, 2018 under the roof of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, taking the Syrian Democratic Council SDC as its political umbrella.
Hussein al-Azzam considers AA a model to be followed in Syria, describing it as the first model of management in the Middle East. He continued, saying: "This administration fought terrorism from the Free Army and Jabhat al-Nusra to ISIS, and despite all the difficulties and attacks we were able to preserve this area, and that We give a positive example to all Syrians, given the stability that our regions are experiencing under AA. "
While Zalal Jakr sees that the July 19 revolution enabled the building of a system that serves the region at various levels, guarantees democracy and safeguards the rights of all, and represents the various groups of society, especially "women and youth", who were absent from the management of Syrian society.
Change of mindset
The July 19 revolution managed to completely change the mindset imposed on society and fully reflect it, and emphasized that the people are able to manage themselves at various levels, and protect themselves, their existence and their rights in the face of all aggressors. The defense system that was formed in the region based on the principles of legitimate defense has become a role model in the world, because this regime stood in the way of ISIS and defeated it at a time when states were unable to confront it.
Administratively, the revolution demonstrated that it is not necessary to form a state in order to manage society. In this context, Aldar Khalil says, “An organized society can take over the tasks of management, and this is evident in the continuation of AA in managing the region and following its path … This is the difference of experiencing north and east Syria from the rest of the Syrian regions where there are two examples of ruling regimes, the first of which are the regions of the Syrian regime, and the second is the areas associated with the mercenaries of the Turkish occupation, which lack democracy, freedom and the creation of will.
Khalil pointed out that the revolution of 19 represents the true revolution and the spring of peoples that everyone sought, and it represents development, progress and adoption of hope for the next generation, contrary to what many countries in the region have witnessed and are still in. In Iraq, since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 and to the present day he has not witnessed stable, and this is the case of Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and other countries of the region, such as Turkey and Iran. These countries, according to Aldar Khalil, despite their age, they suffer from problems at various levels because of their ruling regimes.
Difficulties and obstacles
Any revolution is exposed to the difficulties and obstacles hindering its development, and this is the case of the July 19 revolution, which during eight years faced difficulties and obstacles that limited its development and enabled it to reach what it aspired politically, socially, militarily and economically.
Perhaps the most prominent of these difficulties are the mentality, such as the mentality of the ruling regime, the bad habits that have entrenched it in society, and the mentality of the authoritarian man towards women. In this context, Aldar Khalil says, “Talking about a revolution means that there is something that you want to change, whether it is political, military or others, so when trying to change, there will be rejection from the party that you want it to change, because it does not change so easily, but rather takes a long time to reach the result. "
Khalil continued his talk about the difficulties, saying, "On the other hand, the region is besieged, and is under attack by neighboring countries that want to end the existence of the formed administration, and there is psychological and media warfare, and neighboring regional countries are trying to impose their influence on society, and there is a determination to continue with the mentality and ideology of the state in the face of Democratic system, these are all obstacles and difficulties facing us, some are fabricated by the system, some are from Turkey, some are from neighboring regional countries, and some are related to ourselves.
While Ph.D. Hussein al-Azzam says, "There are major challenges, both at home and abroad, the most important of which is the blatant and repeated Turkish aggression on our Syrian regions, starting with the occupation of Jarabulus, al-Bab and Azaz, then Afrin, Tel-Abyed, and Serêkaniyê, and what caused it exacerbation of the crisis and the occurrence of a large movement of displacement."
Al-Azzam indicated that there are other challenges facing them such as the reconstruction and servicing of liberated areas, in addition to the presence of thousands of ISIS mercenaries in prisons and the need to resolve this file, along with other files such as participation in the Geneva Conference on Syria and participation in the development of the new Syria constitution.
Although the revolution has been able to accomplish a lot so far, there are things that they could not accomplish, according to al-Azzam, the reason for this is "insufficient knowledge of administrative matters, as well as the novelty of the new experience in the region."
Aldar Khalil believes that the disadvantage of this revolution is its inability to bring society to the level of the guerrilla revolutionary people, but he believes that hard work will achieve this as well, which is an urgent necessity.