[removed]

Comments: 318 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

Wolfy28717 karma

Hello,i'm a big fan of your cause,thank you for doing this AmA.

At this point,what's the situation with Kobane city itself?Are people heading back/rebuilding it for normal use? Also,how's the Turkish hostility affecting you guys in Rojava,namely YPJ/YPG? I wish you all the best in your future struggles.Thank you for standing up against fascist crackpots that pollute this world.

Lions_of_Rojava22 karma

Kobane is slowly progressing, and instead of selling Rojava to wealthy millionaires, the administration is trying to work through solidarity organisations around the world with various levels of support. They need much more though.

Turkish hostility cuts deep, whether pressuring the KRG to close the border with Rojava (there's an embargo in Rojava now) trapping the economy tight, allowing IS or other jihadi groups to cross the border unhindered and launch attacks on Rojava, brutality against people here or just plain petty stuff.

Hazardous_Entity14 karma

Where are you doing this AMA from at the moment?

What do you think of the recent deal with the KRG Peshmerga to come to Rojava to assist the YPG?

How different is the day to day life in Rojava, as compared to back home?

Lions_of_Rojava21 karma

We are doing this from Rojava.

Personally I believe it's a way to show conciliation between both sides to get American backing as now Russia is publicly building up forces in Syria. Couple this with the CNBC statement by the defense official (whether true or not) about spec ops forces operating in Rojava (they most definitely are).

People have extended families and there's a big level of hospitality between people. People usually know their neighbours and in Rojava now there are street assemblies where people meet together to discuss issues and resolve problems.

XXxcoldxxx7 karma

Is there any help with the money needed for the flight over?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Yes definitely.

Stiffmajj13 karma

First off, solidarity brothers and sisters. You are fighting the good fight. My question is what can people outside the Rojava region, Syria and Turkey do to help you? In terms of support.

Thank you and take care. Biji Berxwedan.

Lions_of_Rojava16 karma

If you speak Kurdish or other languages, we need translators to translate media material.

We also need donations (see the address here).

If you have special skills such as tech, industrial or even media then we can use advisors especially for things like infrastructure and developing special equipment and so on.

People that are good at organising should create solidarity groups and maintain contact with us, also reaching out to other groups with related causes to build links. Rojava needs to establish a solidarity network around the world.

We also need people who can provide spaces in different countries for if we need to organise volunteers or when people travel abroad .etc

TheRealBig_I12 karma

Thank you for doing this IAmA! My question is how are foreigners, especially westerners, treated in Rojava? Am I likely to be harassed by people if say I went over to help repair the electrical grid? And if I do want to go over, is there a minimum amount of time I have to stay?

Once again thanks for the IAmA, and keep up the fight against Daesh!

Lions_of_Rojava14 karma

No, definitely not! People would love you. And please come! They really need experts on the aging electrical grid! This is a big problem here, and if you contact the Lions through our website we will assist you to come here, and give you instruction in language and connect you with the right groups here. To properly make full effect of your time here, you should aim for 6 months here, although we say 3 months minimum. This is because the border is difficult, sometimes people are waiting 2 weeks to a month to cross, and then to learn the language can take 2 months otherwise it's difficult to be useful.

just_a_little_boy4 karma

Serious question: Are you looking for professionals or just people who will work in general? I am not a professional but interested. And how much of the language do I have to know before coming?

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

Many of us don't know the language when we come here.

FeyliXan12 karma

I support your struggle, as a fellow Kurd. I wish to see Rojava become a reality and an example for the Middle East. However, I am afraid of outside interference. If Rojava becomes successful, wouldn't other countries want to undermine the revolution? I can think of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and many others. Is there a plan to counter these influences? If so, how would that be done?

Biji Rojava!

Lions_of_Rojava12 karma

We need to establish links with all revolutionary movements and solidarity organizations around the world that can bring knowledge and help to Rojava to make it strong and defend the revolution.

eggur12 karma

First, thanks for doing this AMA.

I've seen some of the work that Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik has done, and have watched commander after commander (and soldier) from the YPJ extol the values of women's liberation, but I'm curious about another side of the equation. How seriously do the men of the YPG and the LoR treat women's issues? Do men correct or confront other men for inappropriate behavior in relation to women? What types of discussions are had about the unique issues women face in society?

Also, what are the women of Rojava doing now that is the most different from the days before the revolution?

Lions_of_Rojava25 karma

The men take it very very seriously. If someone does something inappropriate, people will very quickly correct them. Women's struggle is at the heart of the revolution and treated as the number 1 issue. They will not brush their teeth in front of women nor take their socks off, they will always sit upright and also treat women as equals/comrades talking to them respectively. I've never seen anything inappropriate.

In civilian society, there is still the traditional families where women are usually stuck in gender roles but there's big progress made there. Before women could not even smoke, now women are getting jobs and participating in the revolution. As you go more into the Rojava system, women are pretty normal and working alongside men with no problems- and there is a good solidarity between them. You should read about the president of Jazira canton. She's a hardcore feminist and anti-capitalist.

hazysummersky9 karma

Respect. Why is not brushing teeth in front of women a respect issue? Or taking socks off? Weird first two examples to use.

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Culture. Would you appreciate your daughter answering the door to a nudist?

booklovegirl10 karma

What is the media stereotype/misconception that bothers you the most? And what is the reality clouded by that urban myth?

Lions_of_Rojava28 karma

There are several that are very bad.

The first is that this is solely a Kurdish fight to make their own state, after which they will kick out all the Arabs and other people here. There was even a statement by Erdogan recently that he will not tolerate a "Kurdish state" on the border of Turkey. But this is not what their struggle is for. They are not creating another nationalist/religious ethnic state but a localised democracy that works within other frameworks imposed on them. They seek peaceful co-existence with all peoples around them, and want to empower disempowered groups such as women and minorities. This does mean those groups have to be active in that fight themselves too.

The other is confusing the Peshmerga and YPG/Rojava. The Peshmerga is a media army with soldiers that are paid to do Barzanis bidding. They ran away from Shingal mountain after disarming the Yazidi people because they are the "official protectors". Iraqi Kurdistan is a nepotistic corrupt micro-state run by the Barzani family who make themselves rich, build big cities and want to be the next Dubai while their people are poor. The YPG on the other hand, has soldiers that are not paid a wage (only given a small allowance for personal use) and are defending themselves. They have real women soldiers that fight and die besides their male comrades. The female fighters in the Peshmerga are just for show. They do not fight. Iraqi Kurdistan is highly patriarchal whereas Rojava has many strong women.

The last is people calling Rojava communist. This is a slur pushed by Turks on the internet meant to discredit the project here. It is the biggest rubbish pushed by anyone and evidently false after a few minutes on the internet.

TIMSONBOB10 karma

Whats the general opinion in the society about assad? is it possible that Rojava and the syrian government could sign some sort of deal, for example autonomy in trade against YPG military support?

Lions_of_Rojava27 karma

Assad is despised. Many people here were tortured under his old regime by his secret police. Many of the people in government where all at some point tortured or had family killed.

But what's important is that Rojava survives. If Assad agrees to the demands to give the Rojava region autonomy (as the administration has asked), they would accept. There's no national flag, anthem, money and so on because they are seeking autonomy - not independence. This fits the model of Democratic Confederalism whereby towns and cities become autonomous from their host state to link up with other places across the border and form a distinct union. This is the strategy that Kurds in Rojava and Turkey (Bakur) are following to free their lands up.

zoheirleet3 karma

There's no national flag, anthem, money and so on because they are seeking autonomy - not independence.

what do you mean by there's no money ?

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

Sorry official money.

Pruswa10 karma

What are the chances of Rojava forces cutting their ties with the PKK? How closely affliated are the two?

Lions_of_Rojava29 karma

Practically no chance. There's a big level of solidarity between the two sides, and the PKK effectively serves as an emergency backup force during intense moments (see Shingal and Kobane). The revolution in Rojava is based off the model of Democratic Confederalism originally developed by the PKK.

gwely9 karma

Can you recommend some reading materials of Bookchin's that are relevant to the political attitudes of the PYD and Rojava?

Lions_of_Rojava13 karma

Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview by Murray Bookchin. It's free on http://theanarchistlibrary.org/special/index

libcomchatt5 karma

What would an introduction into Ocalan's writings? If it were to be the first book I read by him, what would it be?

alisonjay9 karma

Hello, a friend asked me to forward this question. He said there are many citizens from the People's Republic of China (PRC) who are willing to volunteer as fighters since months ago, some of them are highly skilled military veterans. One of the Lions of Rojava Facebook admins told them that they have to get a VISA from KRG to land at Erbil or Sulaymaniyah airport, and said this is a requirement by the KRG for China citizens. They applied for VISA at KRG consulates in China, were told that their applications were under review by the KRG's Internal Affair department, but never got a reply after waiting for many months. If not because of this restriction, they have already came to Rojava. That was the reason why the only Chinese volunteer with the YPG was a UK citizen. Is it possible to work out a better way for China citizens to come over? China is doing reasonably well in technology and industry, many are keen to lend a helping hand in their skills, and perhaps financially also. Thanks.

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Thanks for letting me know this information. We are going to look into it. If there are Chinese citizens, could they please email us so we can maintain some contact while we look into this.

Venegasesteban949 karma

I know you need civilians as well as fighters but... If i join, would you let me join as both? I have medical experience on dealing with trauma injuries, not strictly a doctor but specialized in Trauma First Aid. I have experience with weapons. And proficiency in English, Spanish and Arabic. I could give First Aid Courses as well as helping you in the frontlines and maybe translate some things (I do not know Kurdish though). I'm from Costa Rica by the way and if i join... I could be joining you on May 2016... If you let me...

Lions_of_Rojava8 karma

Yes, you can be a reserve soldier and do part time tours.

Wild_Hunt9 karma

My question is regarding to ISIS prisoners. Do you ever capture any? Or do they fight to the death? If so how are prisoners treated in general.

Lions_of_Rojava15 karma

We have captured IS prisoners. Official policy is to treat them well, and look after them which often happens. But there's less controlled parts of the front, and now it's a war, it's difficult to ensure everyone is properly educated and following legal principles there have been abuses of justice. It's unfortunately a problem but no way condoned by Rojava.

Wild_Hunt4 karma

Considering how isis treats its prisoners have ypg fighters taken revenge on isis captives?

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

Definitely but it is illegal. Unfortunately the front is chaos. Organisation is very bad. We've experienced this first hand. It's hard to keep order.

Squee-3 karma

I would have thought that having personal experience fighting them really would have solidified a stance of 'fuck them'. Why do you think abusing isis prisoners is a bad thing?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

I don't support abuse of prisoners. They should go through a legal process.

DoubleVincent8 karma

Thanks for doing this AmA, the Rojava revolution really is a beacon of light in the middle east. My question may be rather sensitive so feel free to ignore.

This is a map from a PYD website in 2013 of Rojava. What are the current plans for military advancement and eventual autonomy negotiations? Does the PYD want to liberate all of that area (especially the Bab/Manbij area) or will they stop to advance because Turkey doesn´t want kurdish forces to cross the Euphrates? Does PYD think these borders need to be enforced for Rojava to be substainable or are they satisfied with kurdish majority areas?

Lions_of_Rojava8 karma

Right now the YPG pushed to Kobane through Tel Abyad, but going to Efrin is a different matter entirely. Not only has Turkey commented that they are committed to that area but it also has Dabiq, the symbolic town of IS and is a densely populated area. However there's the general will to get there but whether it's realistic or not, I don't know.

DoubleVincent3 karma

Thank you :)

midgetman4333 karma

see vincent even the ypg guy is casting doubt over the crossing of the euphrates and joining up with afrin.

p.s. sry about being rude the last time i replied to your comment, kinda lost my cool in frustration.

Lions_of_Rojava5 karma

BTW we're not some kind of expert. Many things have happened in this war that were completely unexpected. Take this more as a personal opinion than some official YPG statement.

gwely8 karma

You are asking for everyone from specialists to artists and musicians to move to Rojava, but do you believe it to be safe enough to attract those kinds of people? Qamishli seems to be the safest place in the region, but how much of PYD is based there?

Also, when volunteers cross from Turkey, are they crossing into Kobane? Tel Abyad?

Biji Rojava

Lions_of_Rojava13 karma

Yes it is safe, we already have lots of other foreigners here working in different fields from health, art/music, agriculture, economy and media. Although there's terror attacks, these are mostly directed as suicide attacks against the administration, and it's very unlikely you'll get caught by them unless in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nobody has been captured from Rojava areas, and we get lots of foreign journalists coming here from big media (but always the same boring story following the foreign fighters killing IS).

How you cross depends.

hamjam57 karma

Hello, I'm an American anarchist that is very inspired by the Rojava revolution. I desperately wanted to come over and join the YPG, but I am a single parent to three small children, so can not. I have three questions:

1) I am assuming it is still not recommended for families to move to Rojava, correct?

2) In another answer, you said you need "people who can provide spaces in different countries for if we need to organise volunteers or when people travel abroad" -- I would like to help in that regard, how would I sign up?

3) I've been told that Gorran and PUK in Başûrê are very sympathetic with the PKK and PYD ideology and movements. How true is this, and, if those two groups did succeed in ousting Barzani and the KDP from power there, could you foresee the political, economic and physical barriers between Rojava and Başûrê being dissolved?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

  1. If you want to bring your family, email us and maybe that can be arranged. A house here costs 10k-20k $ (to buy) but even that can be arranged if you have something to offer.

  2. Email us, see the website contact.

  3. Yeah, but they are still corrupt.

Abrahemp7 karma

We're very proud of what you're doing. I'm glad to hear that the US is giving ever more support to you.

We will never forget your sacrifice or that of your brothers and sisters like Reece Harding.

What is your favorite thing to do during downtime?

BIJI YPG

Lions_of_Rojava9 karma

Studying Kurdish and translating material from the outside world into their language to expose them to more outside culture. They really need this connection with the outside world as it will be the redeeming feature that I think can save them.

tehichigo7 karma

Hello friend. Are you in need of business staff/administration at all? I admit that I am only a recent graduate from university but if you are really in need of all the help you can get, I want to do something meaningful with my life.

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Send us an email after reading through the website. It's hard to say without more information.

Muzzly6 karma

What are your thoughts on the KDP and Barzani?

How does the PKK view Palestine nowadays? Do they still feel ideologically aligned with the PFLP? Do they share Demirtash' view on Hezbollah?

Lions_of_Rojava11 karma

Barzani is a corrupt nepotistic president that is selling his country to Turkey.

The PKK is in solidarity with Palestine. I don't know about Demirtas and Hezbollah so can't really comment.

2A1ZA1 karma

Basically agreeing with your view on KDP and its cleptocrat Mr. Barzani, what is your opinion about the main opposition parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, Gorran and PUK?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Slightly better but still that's not saying much.

Condor20156 karma

Out of curiosity, how are homosexuals treated in Rojava? I've seen plenty of stuff about Secularism and Woman's rights but nothing on that topic.

Lions_of_Rojava3 karma

About LGBTQ, unfortunately we haven't heard much about it. Mostly the movement in the PKK has a stronger emphasis on this, but here in Rojava the culture is more traditional. Although I haven't seen a strong hatred of homosexuals here, I also haven't seem a big emphasis or movement to help them either. Personally I think it's a case of live and let live. But definitely there's the groundwork here for a future movement given the influence of the PKK and HDP, and the LGTBQ liberation movements in those groups.

Lord_Punchings6 karma

Have you chaps read Black Powder | Red Earth? You probably should, like. You might not hate it.

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Thanks, I'm sure many of our troops on the front would like to read it. If we could get a PDF copy we could print this and distribute it to them. Would be good for morale.

rishi136 karma

From where you get wepons ? Which is your favourate gun which you operate ?

Lions_of_Rojava16 karma

Black market, dead IS. My favorite gun is maybe a PKC because it is so effective. It puts down tons of bullets on enemy targets and is effective against many targets.

srmont46085 karma

What is the climate like towards Christian Americans who want to come to Rojava to help? I'm a veteran and myself and some other veterans have collectively decided we would like to come help. We have skill sets that could be useful to the YPG both militarily and in the industrial sector. Our concern is also political. Can Americans come to the region and if so how are they viewed?

Lions_of_Rojava13 karma

We have many Christian Americans here. Some of the commanders are Americans that are Christian and proud of it. That's fine, and the YPG respects all religions.

komnene5 karma

Who decides on the commanders of the YPG? Where are they from? Are the actions of the YPG democratically legitimized somehow, through elections or similar? How democratic - in practice - is Rojava really?

Lions_of_Rojava20 karma

The YPG is a very informal army so units coordinate together. There's no official ranks, and units choose their commanders. People can form their own units here and ask to be deployed to a front.

ShootingAnElephant9 karma

Is there any specific ideology shared by all YPG fighters?
They sound a lot like George Orwell described the POUM(Communist/Trotskyist) militia during the Spanish civil war.

Lions_of_Rojava16 karma

The system of Rojava is called Democratic Confederalism which is based off the ideas of the anarchist writer Murray Bookchin and his system of Libertarian Municipalism. In practice this means a serious of localized governments that are confederated into an assembly.

Libertarian philosophy is all about autonomy or people serving their own needs (forgetting about all the different subgroups). The key aim for governance in Rojava is to get autonomous government where people are solving their issues locally and using the administration to coordinate with other areas.

Also there is no tax on small private businesses here although factories and large industries are highly regulated. Everything must follow the ecological imperative though. This is not a communist government, it is a libertarian one - especially if you start to examine the ideas and basis.

Here's the manifesto or guiding document behind Rojava on Democratic Confederalism:

http://thelionsofrojava.com/index.php/books-and-other-resources-on-rojava/

oofig5 karma

Having helped other folks from the US get into Rojava both for conscripting to fight as well as civil society aid, have you heard of anyone having trouble returning? It seems really easy to imagine the US government revoking the citizenship of anyone (especially libertarian socialists) who goes to help by claiming they went to Rojava to explicitly work with the PKK.

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

No, but people have been arrested in Australia and facing trail.

SP-Sandbag5 karma

Will you be making sweet propaganda videos to close the strategic propaganda video gap with ISIS?

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Only if we get people who want to come here and do that. We would love to have people here doing that.

MYKYM5 karma

In the future/after the war, if Iraqi Kurdistan was to break off of Iraq as an independent state and expressed interest in absorbing Rojava into a larger Republic of Kurdistan, would those in charge of Rojava pursue/consider a union with it? I understand there is a lot of difference between the way the two regions are run, but if Erbil/Hewler was to let Rojava keep its unique system of government, would a union be considered?

Lions_of_Rojava4 karma

No I highly doubt it.

DeformedElephant5 karma

How do you go about fighting IS tanks? To my knowledge your group only has RPGs and airstrikes at their disposal, yet you seem to manage to defeat armor. How does it happen?

Lions_of_Rojava12 karma

US airstrikes

Gnarledwolf5 karma

You mentioned the build up of Russian forces in another question, would the YPG / PKK cautiously welcome Russian help ? Or would you worry it was a sham excuse for them to hit anti-Assad forces ? I find it hard to believe any Government right now after Turkey's smoke and mirrors.

Lions_of_Rojava9 karma

Depends on their American interests. Right now they're playing this careful balancing act between the 2 main axes of powers.

Striker1155 karma

Hello, I'm a student studying programming, computer networking and cyber security, and hope to travel there to help out in the future. I am wondering if I am able to continue to study over there? Probably not, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask anyway. Also I am wondering if I could join the YPG while studying/helping out with the IT field. Thanks!

Lions_of_Rojava9 karma

Yes, you can continue to study and we'll help you improve your skills while working on tech stuff. But don't expect a certificate (well we can maybe make one and print it for you). But for instance, you can get instruction on programming, networking and administration/information.

lololZombiedogs5 karma

Hello I want to just ask some questions about the ideological climate in Rojava.

In contrast to Nationalist Iraqi Kurdistan; Rojava, PKK and PYD are based on libertarian anti-capitalist principles but are there a small minority of individuals within these groups (Rojava, PKK and PYD/YPG) who are not anti-capitalist BUT are none the less a part of them because of Nationalist concerns?

Is Pro-Israeli (The State of Israel and not Jews in general) support from Kurds high in Rojava or is it confined within Iraqi Kurdistan?

How receptive are Kurds in Rojava to Marxist thought compared to Anarchist thought (Anarchist thought via Öcalan and Bookchin)?

Lions_of_Rojava15 karma

Hello, yes that's indeed the case. Many Kurds join because they want a Kurdish homeland, and have little political understanding. But after several years of education on philosophy and ideology, they become revolutionaries and these are the leaders here.

I think wanting strong Israeli ties is an Iraqi Kurdistan thing. Recently the head of the PYD just met with Palestinian leaders.

First it's not only Kurds in this revolution, so I'll have to correct you on that. But the people in Rojava have a strong criticism of Marx and they don't follow his beliefs (despite identifying as socialists). However the MLKP (a Stalinist group) and other communist groups (non-Stalinists) are active in Rojava. They are open to sharing this revolution with other revolutionary groups - left or right. We even have some support from oath keepers who appreciate the ideals of the confederalism and small government.

lololZombiedogs5 karma

Thanks, one last question actually. In regards to the foreign fighters coming into to help via joining Lions of Rojava (or if it's possible for you to answer this question in regards to foreign fighters in general) how many are coming because of left-wing principles compared to people who just want to fight ISIS (and perhaps have even right-wing views)? From browsing the web it seems like it's a fair mix.

Thanks in advance.

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Fair mix. In fact many are coming for humanitarian reasons.

emwac4 karma

Thank you for what you guys are doing!

How are your principles of gender equality/women's empowerment received in the general population? Do you meet a lot of resistance from religious/conservative residents? Are young people there more open to these ideals than the older generations?

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

Although many in the general population don't understand the ideas behind Rojava, many see a movement that's for them and against IS so they back it. They stand behind it. There's also young people who don't care about Rojava and just want to go to the west to have a nice phone and wish Rojava was more cool looking like Barzani's Erbil. And there's the nationalist types who just want a Kurdish state and can't understand why we can't be just a normal state like the rest of the world.

kemalpasha4 karma

What will you do if Turkey sends troops to Syria to fight IS? Will you attack them since you are allied with the PKK who then again attacks Turkey.

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

I can't speak for future what ifs on behalf of the YPG. We are the foreign volunteers here because of Rojava.

kemalpasha2 karma

Why didn't you volunteer back then for the FSA when SAA slaughtered Syrians in general? What's your motivation to join the YPG? Is it just to fight the IS? (speaking generally)

2A1ZA10 karma

Why didn't you volunteer back then for the FSA

Many decent people are attracted by the emancipatory, social revolutionary agenda of the Rojava project (the FSA has no discernable political agenda at all, besides being against Assad).

[edit] Quote from the original post:

> What is Rojava? Direct democracy, women's empowerment, economy of cooperatives, and political plurality: these are the principles that the political movement in Rojava is seeking towards. In the middle of a war on all sides and a multi-party conflict, these people are undertaking a grand political experiment that has deep implications for the future if they succeed.

Lions_of_Rojava12 karma

This

CriminalMacabre4 karma

How many spaniards remain (and fight) there?

Lions_of_Rojava11 karma

Lots, especially Catalans and Basques. Most of them are political.

Messicus4 karma

How does one go about sending token gifts, say books, educational material and the like over there?

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

For now it's difficult. We prefer money.

ranmabeyond9 karma

Excuse me for my question. Is it legal to send you money? I am your fan (newbie).

Brave people! GL ! You have all my moral support btw

Lions_of_Rojava15 karma

That shouldn't stop you. Good men break bad laws.

rishi133 karma

Do rojava forces are different from Kurdish force in which girls also fight ? Or both are same ?

Lions_of_Rojava12 karma

There are no women fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan which is run by a corrupt dictator that sells his country to western corporations. The women soldiers are only for photo shoots.

In Syria, the Kurdish areas are under the Rojava administration which is a multi-plural gender-equal government. There is a strong feminist drive.

Rajskub3 karma

[deleted]

corpsmoderne4 karma

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the YPG are mixed (men and women) while the YPJ are women only...

DoubleVincent5 karma

It´s kind of confusing. My understanding is that the YPG is the roof organization and the YPJ the women´s organization within. That`s how wikipedia describes it. So every male is a member of YPG and every female is a member of YPJ but ultimately also a member of YPG. This might not matter though because YPG/J structures are so flexible.

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

I don't think it matters so much in practice, but the women are their own mafia and they coordinate with the YPG. Together they make decisions. The women are their own force with women commanders that work close together with the YPG commanders.

DoubleVincent5 karma

Ah ok, thanks for clearing that up. So people really should refer to the rojavan forces as "YPG and YPJ" or "YPJ/G" and not just "YPG" like most people do.

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

It's not a huge issue ;) But we should give credit to the YPJ too, and they do here.

777yourface3 karma

What's the opinion on the syrian rebels and the general civil war going on the western side of the country?

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Very complex. A multi-faceted proxy war. All power to the original FSA, but sadly they've been taken over by foreign powers and jihadists.

rishi133 karma

Which foreign forces are helping you most ?

Lions_of_Rojava8 karma

Nobody

maxblood4 karma

Hasn't the US airstrikes against Daesh been helpful for the YPG?

Lions_of_Rojava8 karma

Definitely.

Beansareno13 karma

What do you think of the situation within Turkey/ Northern Kurdistan? Do you think the YPG will become involved at some point?

Lions_of_Rojava3 karma

No I don't think they will. The PKK has got that situation down.

red2444433 karma

Hello there I am supporter of the cause. My question to you is, If the Assad regime falls(looking very likely) will the Kurdish people in Syria try for an independent republic or try for the same deal for autonomy under Assads successor ?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

It's a long term what if, too many factors to know.

Hades973 karma

I have recently started university, I'm studying City and Regional planning. I was thinking of starting a solidarity society or some kind of local charity to assist Rojava and was wondering what kind of connections I would need to make within Rojava and how I would go about making those ?

Also I was wondering if my speciality would be seen as a needed skill in Rojava ? I imagine it could be useful in the planning of cities like Kobane being rebuilt to better suit its citizens.

Lions_of_Rojava3 karma

Yes, come here and work with the municipality.

ChaIroOtoko3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA , I have become a huge admirer of the Kurdish resilience since the onset of this war and I wish you success! My question is this: Since it is now inevitable that Russia will soon fight alongside Bashar al-Assad. Does it bother you that Russia may support Assad against the Kurds up north ? Thanks in advance!

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Yes, but there's even bigger worries too.

Beansareno13 karma

How many people from Rojava have been fleeing?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

I wouldn't call it fleeing. More like going to the wonderful Europe that they see on television.

jpcextracheese3 karma

Hi,

I have been following the Rojava struggle for a while now. I appreciate the secular and feminist ideas that the people strive for. You claim Rojava is "founded on Libertarian principles", but what does that implement? Do you believe in a free market? I have great admiration for the Kurdish people and it is definitely a place I'd want to visit, but I have a hard time imagining living in a communist country.

Lions_of_Rojava8 karma

The system of Rojava is called Democratic Confederalism which is based off the ideas of the anarchist writer Murray Bookchin and his system of Libertarian Municipalism. In practice this means a serious of localized governments that are confederated into an assembly.

Libertarian philosophy is all about autonomy or people serving their own needs (forgetting about all the different subgroups). The key aim for governance in Rojava is to get autonomous government where people are solving their issues locally and using the administration to coordinate with other areas.

Also there is no tax on small private businesses here although factories and large industries are highly regulated. Everything must follow the ecological imperative though. This is not a communist government, it is a libertarian one - especially if you start to examine the ideas and basis.

Here's the manifesto or guiding document behind Rojava on Democratic Confederalism:

http://thelionsofrojava.com/index.php/books-and-other-resources-on-rojava/

ZlazlojZlizek2 karma

Just on a personal level do you support the actions of the PKK in Turkey? I know I have a bit of a hard time reconciling my support for Rojava with some of the PKK's seemingly sectarian attacks.

Similarly do you think the PKK have committed fully to the idea of Democratic Confedoralism or are there holdovers of Marxist-Leninist vanguardism?

Edit: any info about the Irish volunteer you met would be interesting to me thanks!!

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

No they reject Marx theories.

BlindPumpkin2 karma

What type of volunteers are the Lions looking for right now? How long do you expect a volunteer to stay? What can increase my chances of being selected? I strongly identify with the struggle of the Kurdish people, with the political philosphy behind the movement, and wish to help in any way I can, including taking up arms to defend the people from Daesh scum; how can I make myself useful for the YPG prior to travelling to Rojava, aside from learning Kurmanji?

Lions_of_Rojava4 karma

We want everyone with something to offer to the revolution: whether military, artist or civilian. A volunteer should be here for 3 months minimum. For all your questions, read everything on the website. It contains a lot of info.

rishi132 karma

Which countries people are there mostly in rojava forces ?

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

I've seen Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians

corpsmoderne2 karma

And among the Lions of Rojava or other "international brigades" , which nationalities are there?

Biji Rojava ^^

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Americans, Canadians, Australians, Argentinians, Spanish, Italians, French, German, English, Irish, Chinese, Asians, Africans, Belgians, Dutch, Danish, Scandinavians, Russians ... I've seen all sorts.

TheRealBig_I2 karma

Hey, I have a follow up question to my first one. If people decide to help in Rojava, is it on a volunteer basis or would they be paid?

Lions_of_Rojava3 karma

volunteer

thekwas2 karma

It seems to me that a large portion of your potential supporters are probably North American/European liberal art degree holders (university anarchists and general idealists).

What sort of opportunities are there for volunteers who have no particularly special engineering or military skills?

PS: Biji Rojava

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

Artists and musicians, writers, media types, philosophy/sociologyists

thekwas2 karma

Is there demand for English teachers?

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

Yes.

Rajskub2 karma

[deleted]

Lions_of_Rojava7 karma

Rojava is now in this careful balance between America (which keeps its Turkish ally in check) and Iran (which wants to keep influence in Syria). There's no reason for them to make this move now.

GarlandSP2 karma

  • What problems are you facing with agriculture? is there a plan to increase protein crops?
  • How many areas do you have under irrigation for grain crops?
  • As for the security of civilian volunteers, will they be trained in small arms handling? in case of agronomists willing to travel and working in rural areas what security measures would be taken to avoid a kidnapping by arab sleeper cells?
  • What kind of diplomatic relationship is being built with the state of israel?
  • Why Gill Rosenberg was sent to a christian militia?
  • What is the prevalence of the Female Genital Mutilation in rojava ( know its pandemic in iraqi kurdistan)?
  • Is the Kobane sniper ( Musa i think ) dead or alive ( but wounded )?
  • ( EDITED ) Some iraqi kurditan news agencies are complaining about restrictions to enter rojava, what you have to say about this?

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

  • Lots of problems, see here: http://thelionsofrojava.com/index.php/what-you-can-do-here/
  • I don't know.
  • You will have a kalashnikov
  • None that I know of. Maybe stuff is happening.
  • She wasn't sent, she left to them.
  • Never heard about FGM. I know people here would be very horrified by instances of that. Maybe it happens in very remote areas.
  • No idea.
  • Rudaw publishes plain lies. But yeah, restrictions on speech are worrying.

HolyScheisse2 karma

Hi Lions of Rojava, thank you for your AMA and respect and solidarity.

My question is, are there foreign nationals from East Asia / Southeast Asia / South Asia volunteering in Rojava for the Kurdish cause? I'm interested in how wide the variety of nationals enlisting as volunteer there, as I always have impression that Kurdish cause is not acknowledged by Asians as much as by Europeans and Americans, who also commit the most,.

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

Yes, you're right. There's some but it's far fewer.

rishi132 karma

Do isis has its tanks ,ships , aeroplanes , missiles etc or they only have infantry ? What wepons you people have?

Lions_of_Rojava10 karma

We have a zombie brigade.

rishi132 karma

Do you watch movies there ? If yes which you seen last and which is your favourite movie ?

Lions_of_Rojava11 karma

We have 5D movie theatre.

joshmahurin2 karma

I am an entry level IT professional who is also attending college. Assuming I do not become a fighter, would you have more use for someone like me immediately or should I stay and build skills and hope to join at a later time? In other words, do you need mostly anyone RIGHT NOW or would more knowledgeable people later on be a bigger aid? Also why do you recommend flying to Suleymaniyah and not Erbil? The few flights I've found Erbil is massively cheaper and also closer to your border and this might help those of us with smaller funds, unless there is a reason not to?

Lions_of_Rojava2 karma

Erbil is under the control of the Turkey-aligned corrupt nepotist Barzani, while Suley is not. It's up to you, best thing if you're serious is to send us an email so we can discuss what your options are, what you can do.

_throawayplop_1 karma

[deleted]

Lions_of_Rojava3 karma

Trust the general media I guess.

networkzen-II1 karma

What will be the role of religion in Rojava? I know the YPG claims to be a secular group and that your trying to establish a secular state, but to be honest, shooing away religion and trying to tuck it quietly into only the private sphere has never worked in religious societies. The Arabs suffered greatly from this when the secular dictatorships of the 50's repressed Islamic groups so much that they turned to radicalism and extremism and now your people are having to sacrifice your time, effort, and lives to fight ISIS because of the disastrous policies of Saddam, Assad, and Nasser. Much like I guess sex education, you can't put like an eternal taboo on discussing religion in the public sphere, so what level of public discourse would be allowed on the topic of religion? Will people be able to request religious schools? Will people be taught about not just their religion but also the religion of others?

Also thanks for fighting ISIS, I think the entire international community is very grateful for it.

Lions_of_Rojava6 karma

Rojava is not anti-religion. In fact they welcome all religions, cultures, languages and ethnics. It is a pluralistic society that celebrates diversity. The main television Ronahi broadcasts in Kurdish, Arabic and English - sometimes Armenian too and they show dances and events from Christians, Arabs and Kurds.

poonhounds1 karma

Do you think the rest of the world has abandoned you?

Lions_of_Rojava1 karma

More like the world doesn't see Rojava as important at all. America sides with Turkey, Europe sides with America, Russia and Iran side with Assad, Saudi Arabia and Qatar side with the jihadists, ...

tyrroi0 karma

Why do you believe the Islamic State is Fascist?

Lions_of_Rojava1 karma

OK, it isn't fascist, it's liberal.

trapaholics_-2 karma

  1. Can you please comment on the relationship between Al Qaeda and YPG. In 2014, the YPG signed an agreement with Al Qaeda (in the form of Ahl al Sham which includes Jabhat al Nusra and co) to cooperate on military events, cooperate on sectarian genocidal sieges and to have Al Qaeda checkpoints within YPG land. Immediately after this cooperation was announced, ISIS (which was in opposition to Al Qaeda) began their attack on the YPG. Why is this piece of history intentionally left out of the narrative? How do you feel working with a group that has ties and relationships with the group behind 9/11? Here is a copy of the agreement.

  2. Earlier this year YPG signed an agreement with the Levant Front (a Turkish backed group of militias that are closely aligned with Al Qaeda groups in Idlib and Aleppo) to have shared Shariah courts. How do you feel about YPG supporting Shariah courts? Here is a copy of this agreement (As a side note, the de facto leader of the Levant Front, Zahran Alloush, declared all residents of Damascus as "Shabiha" on Twitter a few months ago and made threats to the effect of killing everyone in Damascus)

  3. Can you comment on the execution of Assyrian fighters by YPG?

  4. Jordan Matson stated that YPG will allow land to fall to ISIS just so they can go in and claim it (he said it again here). How do you feel about this? Is it a standard YPG tactic to allow ISIS victories so that YPG can go in and "liberate" the areas? Do you consider that YPG-ISIS cooperation, even if it is indirect? When ISIS enters an area, they usually execute all of the anti-ISIS fighters, raid most of the places of value and subjugate the locals (with random executions, slavery and imposition of borderline delusional levels of Islamism). Does the YPG consider it an "ends justify the means strategy" by allowing the locals to suffer under ISIS control until the YPG can liberate the area weeks or months down the track?

  5. Why does YPG claim to be hostile to the Syrian government, and downplay any cooperation, but reporters on the ground show a completely different story?

  6. Why are Kurdish women lied to and told that ISIS is scared of them for religious purposes? Who started this lie? Is it corrected? Is the person who started the lie punished?

  7. The YPG has a fairly intensive conscription program which involves taking at least one man from every household. Why don't they also conscript women? How do you feel about conscription within YPG? This is contributing to a significant part of the refugee crisis from Northern Syria, do you feel that it should be reversed? Is the forceful conscription applied only to Kurds or to other ethnic groups as well? Why/why not?

  8. YPG has previously been found to take child soldiers as young as 12 years old and then claimed that they have discontinued the practice, but Human Rights Watch claims that the practice is still on-going. How do you feel about child soldiers? Have you fought or met with any child soldiers? Has the issue been brought up to your commanders or leadership within the YPG and attempts to lobby them to stop doing it?

  9. YPG is currently occupying a number of privately owned buildings as military headquarters even when they're far from ISIS frontlines, in nonstrategic positions and not something required for general YPG function. One of these things involves the occupation of an Assyrian school (English) which is causing lots of issues for the locals and students in Hassakah with no end in sight or explanation of why these buildings are being occupied. Can you comment on this?

Also, since I have you here, it has been reported that the PYD leadership has begun to replace all Arabic textbooks with textbooks in Kurdish. Will this be applied to all regions? What happens to students who cannot speak Kurdish? I understand if this last segue can't be answered, it's still just a rumor and I doubt you have much familiarity with the education wing of the PYD.

Thank you for your time!

Lions_of_Rojava9 karma

  1. Al Nusra has attacked Rojava cities many times and killed many YPG soldiers. There is nothing but hatred for all terrorist Islamist groups among the YPG including Al Nusra, Ahrar al Sham and so on.

  2. Arabs should run their own areas how they want. It is not the business of YPG to force Rojava values on them. This is a revolution by the people here, we cannot push democracy on other people.

  3. Yeah those guys are in prison now after a court trial.

  4. What he means is that when you are fighting a war you can do a tactical withdrawal. You fall back so the enemy takes the bait falling into unfavourable ground (like entering a valley) and then you attack. Most of the villages on the fronts are empty of people whole leave when the fighting comes.

  5. I've been to Hasakah and Qamishli, the 2 cities with shared control with Assad. There's nothing but an uneasy truce and fighting erupts with regularity before both administrations then broker a new truce. It's very common that one side will have an argument, they will exchange fire, then one side will arrest some folks, the other side will arrest some others and then a new truce will be negotiated. There's no point going full on against Iran's ally now and facing barrel bombs from Assad while fighting against IS and Turkey.

  6. People here believe all kinds of stuff. It's their religion and culture, and this is what they think.

  7. They do conscript girls. Many of them do not serve critical roles instead doing things like support, media or going to be educated. Conscription is not universal, it is decided regionally by local councils. Switzerland, Finland, Poland, Turkey and many other countries conscript people. Rojava is against conscription but they are in a war. This is specifically a temporary measure.

  8. I have seen child soldiers and I think it is a good idea. None of them do any fighting. Sometimes they are sent by their families to be well fed and trained to defend themselves. Many kids in the west serve part time or in the summers in some kind of child army in western countries. And there are many teenagers who do nothing but hang around in the city in Rojava, not bothered to go to school or do something with their life - only escape to the west as a refugee and get a nice phone/car leaving behind their family. I'd rather they fight for their country to improve it and defend their family. Sorry I don't get all this issue with child soldiers (15 year olds). It's important for people in general to be educated, but how many people actually become educated? Is it so wrong to join the army and help a good cause.