Syrian activist groups said Syrian warplanes have conducted a series of airstrikes on the northeastern city of Raqqa that has been held by the extremist Islamic State group, killing at least 60 people. This comes as Kurdish militias, taking the fight to ISIL, have begun to change the map in Syria, pushing towards autonomy. CCTV America’s Alaa Ebrahim reported this story from Damascus, Syria.
Part of the Syrian Arab republic is now in effect under the control of the Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units or the YPG. And all along the border with Turkey, one can see the flag of their internal security force, the Assaysh.
Qamishli is the capital of the Kurdish district, even though it is officially under the control of the Syrian government, further proof of how elusive and complicated the Syrian war is. The seemingly calm atmosphere doesn’t take away the tension of the war nearby. Placards hail the Kurdish resistance in nearby Kobane and promise death to ISIL and its supporters.
“ISIL wants to send us back to the medieval age. But we want to create another model here in our district. We don’t want to separate from Syria, but we want a situation of self, autonomy. We want a democratic administration, but with a force like ISIL on the rise, this seems difficult,” said Mohamad Kamal, a Kurdish media activist.
As CCTV America travels along the Turkish borders under the protection of Assaysh, tight security measures and security checks are a reminder that even with armed escorts, trust runs short. The Kurdish areas are divided into three areas in Syria: Cizer, Kobane and Efrin. The Kurds accuse Turkey of helping ISIL become the military force it is now.
The Kurds call their district Rojave, meaning “the west” since they see themselves as part of a larger Kurdistan carved out of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran and have thousands of kilometers to protect.
Pictures of imprisoned Kurdish Leader Abdullah Aujallan hang in the offices of Kurdish officials. Many believe he lost his freedom in a game of international power play and there are fears that this Kurdish district in Syria, could have the same fate.