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Ethnic Cleansing Posed as Peace: Azerbaijan Targets Armenians

We are now living in a world where ethnic cleansing and war crimes have become the order of the day, where human rights and international law no longer matter, and where the so-called “global order” turns a blind eye towards injustices committed by powerful nations when it suits their geopolitical interests. In a series of […]

Şirnex: The Democratic Struggle to Preserve the Heart of Botan

The defiant city of Şirnex (Şırnak) in occupied Northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) has always been a thorn in the side of the Turkish Republic and their desire to assimilate the Kurdish people. Figuratively, if Dersim (Tunceli) is the ‘brain’, and Amed (Diyarbakır) is the ‘body’, then Şirnex would be the ‘heart’ of Bakur. Taking its […]

Ankara’s Accomplice: How Europe Helps Suppress Kurdish Media Abroad

On April 23rd, 2024, around 200 armed Belgian federal police officers amassed at 1 a.m. in the town of Denderleeuw, in East Flanders (Belgium). Anyone observing this massive show of force and the militarized posture of the small army that was preparing for a nighttime siege, would have assumed they were about to storm an […]

USCIRF Highlights Religious Freedom in SDF-Held Syria

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released their 2024 Annual Report on May 1st, underscoring that the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), supported by its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), continues “to highlight religious freedom as a governing principle.” This is in stark contrast to religious freedom conditions in […]

Summarizing Hamit Bozarslan’s Freedom Lecture for Rojava University

On April 24, 2024, the University of Rojava (founded in 2016) held its fourth Freedom Annual Lecture Series. The lecture, featuring the distinguished Kurdish historian Professor Hamit Bozarslan, Director of the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, France, was entitled: “Reflections on Anti-Democracy and War in the 21st Century.” With regards […]

40,000 Deaths: Dissecting Turkey’s “Big Lie” Against Kurdistan’s Guerrillas

With oppressive military occupations, state accusations serve as confessions. Since 1984, Kurdish guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been fighting an asymmetric resistance war against the Turkish military. Consequently, anyone who has ever read or watched Turkish state media (which at this point is the only press allowed to freely operate in the […]

Turkey & Iraq: Tailoring a “Security” Partnership

Turkey has shifted its foreign policy focus to Iraq, following rumors that the US-led Coalition forces may soon withdraw. Looking to fill the potential void, Turkey is ready to adopt a new approach to Iraq based on broadening the fields of trade and security-based economic projects and codifying their military occupation of the Kurdistan Region […]

Archaeological Heritage Crimes in Occupied Afrin

I. Background Since 2011, cultural heritage in Syria has been under constant threat. Even though the civil war has raged on for more than a decade, there is still no end in sight. The involvement of various foreign actors has further complicated the country’s ongoing division between several rival factions. With around 5.2 million Syrians […]

Shamima Begum & Why an International Tribunal for ISIS is Necessary

At just 15 years-old, Shamima Begum left her home in London with two friends to travel to the Islamic State (IS). They would be smuggled through Turkey by a Canadian spy, where the three girls would be married off to foreign fighters. Two are presumed dead, and the survivor, Shamima Begum, ended up in a […]

Fmr US Diplomat: Biden Will Not Withdraw from Syria Before Elections

On February 16, 2024, The Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) organized a seminar on US policy towards the Middle East following the events of Oct. 7th and the war in Gaza, moderated by KSC fellow Shoresh Darwish. David Schenker, the Taube Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute and former US Assistant Secretary of State for […]

Restoring Şengal: Yazidis Gather to Secure Justice and their Future

In two conferences in Amsterdam and Brussels, members of the Yazidi community tried to heal wounds and look at the future, finding strength in coming together. The genocide against the Yazidis, carried out by ISIS, happened ten years ago, in August of this year. Or, better phrased: it began ten years ago, but the violence […]

UK Criminalises Kurdish Resistance Flags at Behest of Turkey

On January 30th, Arazw Abdullah (known as Beritan Ranya) and Mark Campbell were found guilty of a terrorism offence at London’s Westminster Magistrate’s Court. They were in court for displaying a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flag. The PKK has been an illegal proscribed organisation in the UK since 2001. However, supporters point out that the […]

How Would a US Withdrawal from Iraq Affect Northeast Syria?

The war in Gaza has increased tensions between Iranian-backed proxies and the US military, with Iran-backed groups carrying out over 160 attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria since October. Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani has repeatedly called for a timetable for US forces to leave Iraq and chaired a joint Higher Military Commission […]

Seeking a Third Way: Apo’s Rojava in the Shadow of Tito’s Yugoslavia

A handful of historical reference points are commonly deployed to contextualise the Kurdish freedom movement for unfamiliar audiences. The jailed Kurdish figurehead Abdullah Öcalan is represented by his supporters as the ‘Mandela of the Middle East’ – while his detractors opt for less generous comparisons. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led polity established around the Syrian Kurdish region […]

Democratic Confederalism as the Antidote to Homogenization

“The homogenic national society is the most artificial society to have ever been created and is the result of the social engineering project.” — Abdullah Öcalan[1] One of the defining characteristics of contemporary humanity is undoubtedly that of homogeneity. It is a phenomenon with global proportions that has affected, in varying degrees, almost all corners […]

Erdoğan’s Air Force Lays Waste to Rojava Amidst Global Silence

Erdoğan’s regime in Turkey has continued its reign of terror on the Kurdish region of Rojava, which is governed by the DAANES (Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria). Ankara’s litany of weekly war crimes for the past several months involves ceaseless bombardments, airstrikes, and drone attacks across a wide range of civilian sites. […]

Rojava Education Co-Chair: Turkey is Bombing Our Schools

KCS conducted an exclusive interview with Semira Hac Eli, the co-chair of the Ministry of Education for the DAANES (Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) – commonly referred to as Rojava. In the interview, she discussed the impact of the latest bombardments by the Turkish state, which began in October, their ongoing targeting […]

Selahattin Demirtaş Puts the Turkish State on Trial

Is it possible to shame a state who proudly celebrates their lack of moral conscience? The answer is being sought currently, as on Tuesday, the Erdoğan regime in Turkey commenced their illegitimate show trial of Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). To his credit, Demirtaş mounted a powerful defense in […]

Salih Muslim: If Turkey Keeps Attacking, SDF will Return to Border

On December 27th, 2023, The Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) organized a discussion about the continued attacks of the Turkish state against Rojava. The program was conducted by KCS official Nawaf Khalil, and featured the co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim, who evaluated the repeated Turkish assaults on civilian infrastructure and the reason […]

Öcalan’s Solution for Our Crises: Restoring Social Ethics to Politics

The world is trapped in a vicious cycle of crisis. In other words, as Barry Gills and Hamed Hosseini claim, “we are living through a great implosion.” The environment is decaying, poverty is widening, inequality is growing, and war is spreading. The recent data from The Armed Conflict Survey indicates the growing number of armed […]

Jin Jiyan Azadi: Kurdish Women Resisting in the 4 Parts of Kurdistan

The death of the Kurdish woman Jina Amini in September 2022 sparked an inferno of protests throughout Iran, under the banner of “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi.” This Kurdish language slogan, which translates to “Women, Life, Freedom,” soon showed up on banners carried throughout the cities of Eastern Kurdistan (northwest Iran), and quickly became the official slogan […]

Roundtable: On Rushdi Anwar’s Kurdistan Art Exhibit

At the Table with Rushdi Anwar Rushdi Anwar (b.1971-) is a Kurdish artist from Halabja, Kurdistan whose upcoming exhibition, in collaboration with Artes Mundi and the British Council, will be presented at the National Museum Cardiff, UK. A round table was held by Artes Mundi with Dr. Omar Kholeif, Professor Shahram Khosravi, and Dr. Hawzhin […]

Enhancing Diverse Democracy: NE Syria’s New Social Contract

Authorities in the de facto autonomous region of North and East Syria (NES) this week made an announcement many years in the making. For several years now, representatives of the region known by the Kurdish metonym ‘Rojava’ have promised a new, updated version of the ‘Social Contract’ which codifies the principles through which the region […]

Could the War on Gaza Pull Rojava into a Regional Conflict?

There are certain inflection points in history around which decades are defined, and October 7th was one of them. The Hamas incursion into Israel, and the subsequent Israel bombing and ground invasion of Gaza, have escalated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an intensity unseen since 1948. Events of such historic importance are seldom contained to their […]

YPJ: On Societal Transformation & Revolutionary Progress

The following is an exclusive KCS interview with Berivan Amuda, from the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) Information and Documentation Office, which was conducted on December 8th, 2023. The YPJ was established in 2012 and emerged from the bloody outcome of the Syrian Civil War. Since then, the YPJ has gained global renown as a women’s […]

Seyvan Ebrahimi: 11 Years in Prison for Being Zahra Mohammadi’s Husband

Going after the family of your enemies is a sign of desperation. An action taken out of panic in response to the fears that the walls you have constructed around your reality are closing in. That is the state of modern-day Iran and the case of Seyvan Ebrahimi. On December 2nd, Seyvan Ebrahimi, a Kurdish […]

Everything Felt Possible: Remembering Leila Mustafa

What does it mean to repair a destroyed city? Is it merely the construction of buildings or the restoration of collective hope? Leila Mustafa, former co-chair of the Autonomous Administration-affiliated Raqqa Civil Council, passed away from medical complications on November 23rd this year. For six years, Mustafa had worked tirelessly to rebuild from the ashes […]

Panel: Rojava Under Siege, Analysis from the War Crime Scene

On November 20, 2023, The Kurdish Center for Studies (KCS) held a special panel on the impact of the Turkish bombardments around six weeks after they began. The panel was titled: ‘Rojava Under Siege: Analysis from the War Crime Scene’ and moderated by Co-Directors Dr. Hawzhin Azeez and Dr. Thoreau Redcrow. Both have spent extended […]

The Mythical Symbolism of Birds Among the Kurds

Birds have long held significant symbolic value in numerous mythologies and cultures throughout history, embodying multifaceted roles that represent a diverse array of themes. These include freedom, spirituality, guidance, protection, transformation, wisdom, creation, and fertility. While the significance of birds varies across different cultures, their symbolic importance remains a prominent and enduring feature within the […]

Traumatized by Turkish Airstrikes: Testimonies from Rojava

Children searching around for their father’s head. Cats running away from homes and refusing to return. Fires so bright they turn the night into day and resemble the surface of the sun. Terrified children who have gone mute out of fear. Fainting mothers who awake and do not recognize their children. Six young friends lying […]