2020 the year of self-organization and self-awareness against violence
This year witnessed an organizational movement and many activities in order to change the patriarchal system that still imposes itself on the personality of women, as it witnessed an increase in cases of violence that led to suicide in most of them, and this had been confronted by various campaigns and activities.
These are the most prominent events for 2020, on the feminist level, in northern and eastern Syria in particular, and Syria in general:
Movements and organizational activities to strengthen women’s organization
In the spring of 2020, women intensified their organizational and political movement, and worked to strengthen their organization. On the 5th of March, political activists held an expanded forum in the city of Amoda in Al-Jazeera region, and included about one hundred and sixty female figures, including politicians, military leaders, researchers, academics, and others at the level of Syria.
In order to reduce negative social phenomena such as minor marriage, sexual harassment and killing of women and children, the Women’s Administration in al-Raqqa and al-Tabqa launched an awareness campaign that includes several social and cultural activities on the first of June.
On June 29, the women’s media in northern and eastern Syria announced the establishment of the Women’s Media Union, during its 3rd conference.
On July 5, the Kurdish feminist movement held seminars and dialogues via the Internet service (online) under the slogan “How to Create Our Future”, in which women shared their views on the future and their analysis with women around the world from (Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia).
On July 8, the Young Women and Internationalities Movement in Europe announced the establishment of the Young Revolutionary Women’s Movement (TÊKO-JIN).
On the 24th of July, the young woman in the Democratic Union Party held its founding conference in the town of Rumaylan in Qamishlo canton, with the participation of 150 delegates from the three regions (Al-Jazeera, Euphrates and Afrin), in which the young woman in the Democratic Union Party established her council at the level of Rojava.
On August 8, the Center of Diplomatic Relations for Kongra Star organized the first digital seminar through the application of zoom in the Middle East under the slogan “Fascist Turkish Occupation and the Policy of Extermination of Women”, to highlight the violations of the Turkish state.
On August 29, Siham Dawod was elected General- Secretary of the Future Syria Party, succeeding the martyr “Havrin Khalaf”, during the second conference of the Future Syria Party, which was held in al-Raqqa.
On the 5th of September, the name of the Free Women Union in al-Shahba changed its name to the Council of the Free Women Union of al-Shahba during its third conference, and a new coordinator was elected to the council.
On September 11, the first women’s health conference was held in the private health sector in northern and eastern Syria, and one of its decisions included the establishment of a hospital for women in Al-Jazeera region.
On the 12th of September, the women of northern and eastern Syria joined the campaign launched by the Kurdistan Communities Union under the slogan “No isolation, fascism and occupation, the time for freedom,” and they organized various activities, most notably the organization of foot marches in all cities.
In order to further strengthen the organization of women in the field of protecting society, the Community Protection Forces – Women held its first conference on September 15th.
On the 16th of September, the mothers of the martyrs and the fighters of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement launched a campaign to condemn the attacks launched by the Turkish occupation army on the areas of Başûr Kurdistan, especially Haftanin, by organizing protest activities every Wednesday, to provide support for fighters of the Peoples’ Defense Forces HPG.
On September 21, the second conference on the economy of women was held in Northeast Syria in Qamishlo under the slogan “Women’s Economy, Women are the Source of Society,” and it was concluded with a series of decisions that are in the interest of women and the development of their economy.
On September 29th, the Women’s Council of the Democratic Union Party in North and East Syria held its second conference, with the election of 22 members of the General Women’s Council of the Democratic Union Party.
On September 31, the Culture and Antiquities Committee of Al-Raqqa Civil Council opened the first shopping market in al-Raqqa with the participation of various economic actors in the city.
On October 6, the fourth conference of the Young Women’s Union was held in North and East Syria, which was held under the slogan “By organizing young women, we end the occupation,” and concluded with a series of decisions and the election of a general council composed of 35 young women.
On October 20, the eighth conference of Kongra Star was held under the slogan “With the struggle of Havrin and Zahra, we will end the occupation and guarantee the women’s revolution.” 7 delegates were elected as coordinators for Kongra Star in northern and eastern Syria, and Ramziya Mohammad was chosen as the spokesperson for Kongra Star.
On the cultural level:
The first Women’s Heritage Festival was held on October 25 under the slogan “With the colors of our heritage, our components flourish”, at the level of (Manbij, al-Raqqa, al-Tabqa, and Deir-ez-Zor, to commemorate the authentic Arab heritage and the heritage of the Furati women, as well as a folk costume show that shows the region’s heritage.
On the 28th of October, the Golden Crescent Movement in northern and eastern Syria held its second conference in the town of Rumaylan, and formed a council of 42 delegates, and a number of decisions were taken, including changing the movement’s name to “The Culture Movement for Women in the Golden Crescent in North and East Syria.”
The Women’s Council of the Future Syria Party held its first founding conference on November 24 in the city of al-Tabqa under the slogan “With the struggle of Havrin and Nadia, we will build a pluralistic, democratic, decentralized Syria.”
‘The Syrian woman … ten years of continuing suffering’
The suffering of Syrian women is multiplying with the continuation of the conflict and the worsening of living conditions, and the re-percussions that befell women are among the most destitute in the world, given the conditions they have suffered over the course of about 10 years.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented in a report it issued on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, from the start of the Syrian revolution on the 15th of March of 2011 until dawn on the 9th of December of the year 2020, the statistics of the number of women and children killed during The Syrian war, where the number of women killed reached 13,804 women and 22,149 children.
Crimes against women in the occupied areas and campaigns against them
Women suffered woes during Turkey’s occupation of the regions of northern and eastern Syria, such as “Azaz, Jarablus, Afrin, Girê Spî, and the last of which was Serêkaniyê.” The crimes committed by the Turkish occupation against women in those areas have increased, as the Research Center for the Protection of Women’s Rights in Syria documented the outcome of the crimes committed against Women and children in the occupied territories.
Since the occupation until the date of December 7, 88 murders were committed against women, 140 women were kidnapped, 176 women were injured, while the number of children who lost their lives exceeded 99 children.
The most widespread event was on the 28th of May, the abduction of 11 women, including Yezidis and Arab women, and they appeared in video clips while they were naked in mercenary detention, who were kidnapped by the mercenaries of the “Hamzat Division” of the Turkish occupation army in the occupied Afrin canton.
On June 6, the Center for Research and Protection of Women’s Rights in Syria launched a campaign to collect signatures under the slogan “Justice for Havrin Khalaf”. About 500 signatures were collected and sent to international courts to punish the perpetrators of this brutal crime against her and other women.
On June 23, the Turkish aggression launched an attack on a civilian home in the village of Helanj, southeast of Kobani, and 3 women were killed, including Zahra Barkel, a member of Kongra Star Coordination.
On July 1, 58 women, human rights, health and cultural organizations and activists around the world signed the call of the Women’s Council in North and East Syria to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and women’s organizations to stop the violations of the Turkish occupation in Afrin.
‘Initiatives to reduce violence’
Women have also initiated many campaigns to reduce violence against women. Sara, in coordination with Kongra Star and the institutions of Kobani canton, on August 27, launched its campaign to reduce murders and suicides, under the slogan “She did not commit suicide, you who killed her.”
On September 4, the Women’s Council of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) launched a campaign under the slogan “Stop killing women.”
On October 8, Kongra Star, in cooperation with women’s organizations in northern and eastern Syria, launched a campaign under the slogan “No to occupation and extermination together, so that we protect women and life.”
On the 12th of October, a number of personalities and representatives of women’s organizations in the Middle East announced an initiative under the slogan “Opposing the Occupation and the Extermination of Women, for the Sake of Security and Peace”, to work on documenting the crimes committed by the regimes, especially the Turkish occupation, against women.
On the 22nd of October, the Prosecutor General of the Turkish Fascist Authorities demanded from the Turkish court a sentence of life imprisonment for the prisoner “Jijak Kobani”, who was kidnapped by Turkish mercenaries in the countryside of Ain Issa, and handed over to the Turkish occupation last year.