Syrian Kurdistan

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Western Kurdistan
Rojavayê Kurdistanê
کوردستان السورية

Anthem: Ey Reqîb
Oh Enemy

Status Unrecognized de facto autonomous region of Syria
Capital Qamişlo (Qamishli)[1][2]
37°03′N 41°13′E / 37.050°N 41.217°E / 37.050; 41.217
languages Kurdish
Demonym Kurd
Government Interim government
 -  President Salih Muslim Muhammad
Autonomous region
 -  Autonomy Proposed July 2013 
 -  Autonomy Declared November 2013 
 -  Regional government established November 2013 
 -  Interim Constitution Adopted January 2014 
Time zone UTC+3
Drives on the right
Calling code +963
Internet TLD .sy

Syrian Kurdistan or Western Kurdistan (Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê; Arabic: کوردستان السورية Kurdistan Al-Suriyah), also commonly referred to simply as Rojava[4] (the West in Kurdish), is a de facto autonomous region in northern and north-eastern Syria.[5] Syrian Kurdistan is part of the larger geographic area of Kurdistan, which also includes parts of southeastern Turkey (Kurdistan-Turkey), northeastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and parts of northeastern Syria (Syrian Kurdistan) inhabited mainly by Kurds.[6] Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.[7] Since 2012, much of Syrian Kurdistan has been controlled by Kurdish militias as part of the Syrian Civil War and in November 2013 representatives from Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other smaller minorities declared a de facto government in the region.[8]


The name Kurdistan literally means Land of the Kurds.[9] The name is prefixed by "Syrian" or "Western", referring to the relative geographic or political designation of the region. In the Kurdish language, the name is simply Rojava[4] meaning the West in Kurdish.


Syrian Civil War[edit]

During the Syrian civil war, the People's Protection Units (YPG) were created under the administration of the Kurdish Supreme Committee to control the Kurdish inhabited areas in Syria. On 19 July 2012, the YPG established control in the city of Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab), and the next day it established control in Amûdê and Efrîn.[10] The two main Kurdish groups, the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), afterwards formed a joint leadership council to run the controlled cities.[10] By 24 July, the Syrian Kurdish cities of Dêrika Hemko (Al-Malikiyah), Serê Kaniyê (Ra's al-'Ayn), Dirbêsî (Al-Darbasiyah) and Girkê Legê (Al-Ma'bada) had also come under the control of the Popular Protection Units. The only major Kurdish inhabited cities that remained under government control were Hasaka and Qamishli.[11][12] However, parts of Hasaka and Qamishli later also became controlled by the YPG.



The Kurdistan border suggested by the Treaty of Sèvres never included parts of Syria. Still, according to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) website, the claimed political boundaries of Kurdish areas in Syria (Rojava) are including almost entire northern Syria, from Efrîn District in the west to Dêrika Hemko District in the east.[13] However, many of those areas have an Arab overwhelming majority (e.g., Azaz, al-Bab), Circassian majority (e.g., Manbij) or Assyrian majority (e.g., Til Tamer). Kurdish forces are controlling only parts of this territory. Instead of this entire claimed territory, the YPG forces are controlling 3 separate areas, administratively organized into cantons.

Territories controlled by the YPG include places with Kurdish, Arab or Assyrian majority, especially in al-Hasakah Governorate.


The self-declared Autonomous Government is made up of three areas:


Important cities and towns controlled by the Syrian Kurds are:

In Afrin District:

In Ayn al-Arab District:

In al-Hasakah Governorate:


Notable Kurdish inhabited cities in Syria[edit]

Current military situation in Syria.
  Controlled by the Syrian government
  Controlled by Kurdish forces
  Controlled by other rebels
  (under Israeli occupation)

(For a more detailed map, see Cities and towns during the Syrian Civil War)

Arab cities in northeastern Syria[edit]

Assyrian cities in northeastern Syria[edit]

  • Qamishli (ܒܝܬ ܙܐܠܝ̈ܢ Beṯ Zālin) (mixed population)
  • Al-Qahtaniyah (ܩܒܪ̈ܐ ܚܘܪ̈ܐ Qabre Ḥewore) (mixed population)
  • Al-Hasakah (ܚܣܟܗ, ܓܨܪܛܐ) (mixed population)
  • Khanik (ܚܢܝܟ)
  • Tell Chamiram
  • Tel Nasri
  • Al-Malikiyah (ܕܪܝܟ Derik)


The Kurdish Supreme Committee was an interim governing body of Syrian Kurdistan, which was founded by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), following the signing on 12 July 2012 of a cooperation agreement between the two parties in Hewlêr, Iraqi Kurdistan under the auspice of the Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani.[16] The member board consisted of an equal number of PYD and KNC members.[17]


The Kurdish Supreme Committee's armed wing is the Yekîtîyên Parastina Gel (YPG) People's Protection Units, effectively forming the military force of Western Kurdistan, Rojava.


Archaeological sites in northeastern Syria[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]