Northern Syria ... Language revolution to revive what has been marginalized

The north of Syria is characterized by cultural diversity and the multiplicity of coexistence components, which have gained their rights to enjoy the practice of their culture and speak their mother tongue and learn the language of the other, having resisted and still resist the policy of one language and one culture.

Despite the Syrian regime's fight against diversity and the imposition of one language and one culture and one color, as the Turkish government in Bakur (northern Kurdistan), and trying to annihilate existing cultures and other languages or make them forgetful and lost, but these peoples have maintained their relations and made sure to know the culture of the other.

Not only the Arabic language be spoken and spoken by the Kurdish component, there are dozens of Arabic components in the region of al- Jazeera and Afrin speaking Kurdish fluently for decades and vice versa.

15 languages in Syria

There are 15 spoken languages in Syria, with the exception of different dialects depending on the region, namely: Arabic, Kurdish, Circassian, Turkmen, Syriac, Armenian, Aramaic, Neo-Assyrian, Southern Azeri (sometimes called Turkmen), Domerian, Kabardian, Lumabrin, Malhasu (extinct with the death of Ibrahim Hanna in 1998), Turism, Northern Modern Aramaic.

Revolution of cultural and linguistic pluralism in northern Syria

In the north and east of Syria, the people, if they lost their language, lost their identity, promoted the languages of their various components and introduced them to schools, institutes, and universities, not to mention the institutions and bodies in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of northern and eastern Syria.

In preparation for the revolution of language and culture, and the rights to learn everyone's mother tongue, as a first step on the way to spread and teach Kurdish language the first 2 Kurdish language schools were opened, one in Kobani canton on November 26, 2011, and the other in the village of Qarqalq in Afrin canton in the same year.

In the past, people were learning Kurdish letters in secret groups in the cities and regions of Rojava, away from the eyes of the Syrian regime, which prohibited learning or speaking the Kurdish language.

With the outbreak of the July 19 revolution in 2012, the language revolution erupted, and coexistence components in the region gained the right to speak and learn their mother tongue.

In addition to Arabic, Kurdish and Syriac are spoken in schools in al-Jazeera region, while in the Euphrates and Afrin regions Arabic and Kurdish are taught.

It also notes the change in its streets, shop signs, entrances and exits of cities and the diversity of logos written in the various languages of the region.

While the language protection clause in the charter of the social contract for the autonomous administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, in Part I, article No. / 3 / that "all the languages in the" Democratic Federation of Rojava - Northern Syria "are equal in all areas of social, administrative, educational, every people organizes their lives and conducts their affairs in their own language."

Kawthar Kudo, co-chair of the Education Body in northern and eastern Syria, said that the field of education and training in northern Syria has made historic steps in light of the revolution, in terms of educational materials, which the students were briefed intellectually and mentally.

She points out that the democratic education system opens the door for all components to learn in their mother tongue and learn about the different religions and sects in the region, as well as training in the pattern of democratic society and communal.

Propaganda campaigns against the education system

In the early years of teaching the curricula adopted by the Democratic Society Training Committee in Rojava schools and northern Syria in general, the Baathist regime opposed education in Kurdish and Syriac, closed some schools, and launched rumors of sedition and incitement between the components or spread rumors about weak curricula and the inability of teaching staff to teach students or they are illegal.

Before the parents learned about the new curriculum system, some parents refrained from sending their children to school, especially from the Arab component, in light of rumors circulated by some parties hostile to the development in northern Syria, which accuses the Kurds of spreading Kurdish education.

According to Kawthar Kudo, co-chairwoman of the Education Commission for North and East Syria, the growing popularity every year fails these propaganda campaigns.

Each component maintains its language, and learns the language of the other

On the importance of learning in the mother language the leader Ocalan says "Identity, verbal, perceived and expressed the presence of meaning and emotion, and a society that expresses itself as having the strong argument for life, because the level of sophistication of language is the level of progress of life."

The Kurds opened the Kurdish Language Foundation at the beginning of the Rojava Revolution, to teach the Kurdish language.

Similarly, after being deprived of learning their language, Chechens, Circassians, Syriacs, and Turkmen have been officially revived and taught to their children in schools, private institutes, and centers.

The Syriac component learns its language formally in schools, as well as support for learning in churches such as language lessons. The Syriac Cultural Society opened institutes of teacher training to teach the Syriac language in public schools or private centers with the support and care of the Autonomus Administration.

The Circassian component learns through language courses at the Circassian Society in Manbij City free of charge under the supervision of the members of the Association on training.

The Turkmen component, which had been smelted and exterminated over the years, had the right to learn the Turkmen language after liberating the city of Manbij from ISIS mercenaries. The Turkmen opened a Turkmen Association on April 25, 2018, to revive Turkmen culture and language education.

Fayez Haidar, a member of the Board of Directors of the Turkmen Association, said that the association aims to revive the Turkmen culture among its components after suffering years of smelting, adding that many Turkmen families do not speak the Turkmen language.

While earlier courses were opened to teach the Turkmen language, joined by many sons of the components of the Arab and Kurdish as well as Turkmen for their desire to learn the language of the Turkmen culture.

Suleiman Ibrahim, the schoolmaster of the Salem Al-Marai School in Srikania / Ras Al-Ain, adds that all components have the right to learn their mother tongue and learn the language of the components of the region to learn about the culture of other components and ease of communication. "In the past, the components were deprived of learning their language. Other societies are learning other foreign languages. The components in the region have the right to learn the language of the components."

Increasing turnout every year shows parents' confidence in the curriculum

The curriculum and teaching methods for 2019-2020 have undergone many developments, from the opening of new institutes and colleges, where al-Jazeera, Euphrates, al-Raqqa, al-Tabqa, Deir ez-Zor, and Manbij regions received more than 500,000 students from the three primary, preparatory and secondary levels.

The number of students in the regions of al-Jazeera and the Euphrates only 320,489 students.

Afrin students living in the Shahba district continue to learn despite the displacement, and attempts by the Baathist regime to impede the functioning of the education system and the closure of schools. 

13,000 students are studying in 65 schools in al-Shahba and Shirawa district.

The University of Rojava has 820 students, while the number of university students at the University of Kobani reached more than 40 students in the five departments.

Mohamed Hajo, a member of the Democratic Society Training Committee, points out that the high turnout, which is increasing every year, demonstrates the high confidence of parents in the educational curriculum, which aims to learn each component in their mother tongue.


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