News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/Sedat Sur/Kobanê) The people of Kobanê are continuing to build the revolution despite the longstanding embargo imposed by Turkey and the encirclement of the canton by Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) fighters.
The President of the Kobanê Canton of Rojava Enver Muslim explained that over the course of the last two months as the attacks and embargo have intensified the people of Kobanê have been able to resist the attacks by relying on their defenses and resources through a model of common production and equal division of goods.
Muslim explained that work to build a new economy are integral to the self-defense of the canton which once again came to the agenda beginning with renewed ISIS attacks in July. For Kobanê both self-defense and the preservation and building of the revolution constitute foundational guarantees. Following the call for mobilization following the newest wave of attacks the various organizations under the umbrella of TEV-DEM temporarily halted their other work ijn order to support the YPG/YPJ. Following the attacks the work resumed where it left off.
Despite the great quantity of aid which has flown to Kobanê from North Kurdistan, Europe and other places where Kurds have organized campaigns for Rojava the canton continues to have serious needs, in particular in the area of municipal and health services
The President of the Kobanê Canton of Rojava Enver Muslim spoke with ANF concerning the needs of the canton as well as the people’s efforts to overcome these difficulties.
One of the major problems facing the canton, according to Muslim, is the provision of water and electricity. Both the water which came to Kobanê from the west bank of the Euphrates and the electricity provided by the Tishrin dam in the Sirrin region to the south have been cut by ISIS. He went on to explain how the canton has come up with its own solution to the problem, saying “we dug 18 wells around the village of Qeynter Oxan in west Kobanê and laid 3200 meters of pipe to bring the water [to the city]. By the July 19th Anniversary of the Revolution we had succeeded in providing 40% of Kobanê’s water needs in these way.”
Muslim reported that as of now “electricity is provided by generators we have installed on every street” but indicated that new projects are underway which are expected to meet all of the electricity needs of the canton. He also pointed the finger at Turkey for the role it has played in cutting electricity, saying “the Turkish state provides electricity to places like Jarabulus where ISIS is located. However no electricity is given to Kobanê. We formed a delegation had had meetings but no electricity has been provided.”
The Kobanê Canton has also had to accommodate thousands of refugees from Aleppo, Damascus and other parts of Syria who have sought protection in the area. In fact over the past two years the population of the Canton has grown several times larger. The embargo on the canton has not only affect the provision of food and basic services but all forms of trade. The canton is attempting to overcome these difficulties by building a new economic model.
Muslim explained that “we are solving [such problems] through engaging in production based on our own resources and village communes. There is agricultural production in Kobanê (fruits and vegetables, peanuts, cotton). We have taken a communal, common and equa model of production as our principal. In this way we were able to break the embargo with our own resources. Another important reason we were able to break the embargo is the help we received from our brothers and sisters in North Kurdistan.”
Difficulties With Health Services
The provision of healthcare has been the area in Kobanê most affected by the embargo and siege. Muslim spoke of how an old building had been converted into a 210 bed hospital and said that “although we received ambulances they have not been enough. Almost none of the necessary equipment is found in the hospitals or ambulances.”
Muslim also emphasized that it was medical supplies and equipment which Rojava needed most, saying “we have no tomography, endoscopy, X-ray or MR machines. We have no incubators for new born babies who need them. We do not have the medical equipment to treat the injured. We are facing serious medicine shortages. The Turkish state does not accept any of our patients accept those injured by fighting and this is a serious problem.”
Muslim also said that the lack of construction materials made the provision of municipal services very difficult, saying “we are attempting to keep the canton’s streets and avenues and solve its infrastructure issues. However we do not have enough vehicles, garbage trucks or construction equipment.”
Finally Enver Muslim expressed his faith that despite all difficulties the system they were implementing were sustain the test of time, saying “the attacks and embargo will continue. It looks like this is the case for now. However we will implement a model of democratic autonomy relying on our resources and the four parts of Kurdistan and the north in particular and no one should have any doubts on this question.”