ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The inhabitants of the Free Women’s Village, or Jinwar in Kurdish, in northeast Syria, had to temporarily flee to another safe place in villages nearby due to shelling and ongoing Turkish attacks.
The village is the only community in northeast Syria that consists of females only. The area is located a few kilometers away from the city of Qamishli.
“The women of Jinwar told us they were forced to leave their autonomous women’s village as the Turkish invasion drew close, continuing to advance despite the ceasefire,” Thomas McClure, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center, told Kurdistan 24.
Turkish-backed forces continue to advance eastward from Serekaniye toward Dirbesiye, “with Jinwar in their path—using strike drones and artillery as well as ground troops,” he added.
Before Turkey’s military operation on Oct. 9, the women of the village were doing their own ecological farming and got free education for their children. It also had its own female academy to educate the women living in the village about women’s rights.
Many international outlets covered life in the village in the past, such as the Independent, The Guardian, and Channel 4 news.
The village was set up by local women’s groups and international volunteers a few years ago to create peaceful space for women who want to live out of family-orientated roles and patriarchal society.
According to the Independent, it was also set up to support impoverished widows who lost their husbands in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
In a voice message Kurdistan 24 received, Nujin, a foreign female volunteer from Jinwar, said that nobody wanted to leave the village.
“It was a very hard moment and made us all very sad angry. Jinwar is part of the achievement of women in this region and part of the women's revolution that has been realized by so many women here in the last years.”
She added that the inhabitants of Jinwar had to leave temporarily and stay “in other villages, where there are refugees from Serekaniye, Zarkan, and other places.”
“There is a lot of support from the people to deal with this situation,” Nujin said.
“Almost every family lost mothers, fathers, children or friends in the struggle against ISIS, and for everyone, it’s a big pain how achievements of this struggle are attacked right now.”
Although the villagers were displaced, the children of Jinwar are returning to school in the villages they fled too.
“The re-opening of schools despite the war is part of the resistance we can say because the Turkish warfare aims to create fear and destroy people’s organization of daily life.”
Bercem, a member of Jinwar, told Kurdistan 24 that they would not abandon the village. “Even if we had to find a safe place for the women and children due to the threat of attacks, we will never give up Jinwar.”
“As soon as possible, all of us are returning to the village. We are supporting each other, we will continue to resist!”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Nadia Riva