Syrian Kurdish leading movement elects two new leaders
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) held its third conference on Monday in the town of Ramalan, selecting two new leaders to head the movement.
The third congress, which saw 500 participants from different parties and institutions, and welcomed guests from north and east Syria, elected Gharib Hesso (50) and Zelal Ceger (44) from Derik, to replace TEV-DEM co-heads Aldar Xelil and Asya Abdullah.
During the conference, 64 members for the party's Administrative Council were elected, including 32 women.
Ceger played a role in TEV-DEM and Kongra Star, a confederation of women organizations in northern Syria.
“Since I was young, I played a political role. During the Rojava revolution, I played a role and especially in TEV-DEM and Kongra Star. My work and struggle were in Aleppo, Afrin and the Cizere region,” she stated.
Gharib Hesso, a Yezidi (Ezidi) from Afrin, told Kurdistan 24 that he started working in Kurdish politics in 1983. “I worked in the PYD and TEV-DEM, and was arrested three times by the Syrian regime, and was imprisoned in 2006, 2008, and 2011. When the Syrian crisis started, I was in prison,” he said.
One of his sons is a fighter of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and his wife is co-head of the Ezidi Union and is now in the Shahba region.
Hesso played a leading role in creating TEV-DEM in 2011, and served as a representative for the PYD and TEV-DEM in Iraqi Kurdistan for four years, before returning to Syria.
During the conference in Ramalan, TEV-DEM stressed the need to liberate the region of Afrin, which was taken over by Turkey and its Islamist rebel allies in March this year.
Although the Syrian Kurds took control of the majority Kurdish areas in July 2012 and established local administrations in northern Syria after the regime’s withdrawal, thousands of Kurds fled to Europe, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Turkey due to economic reasons and ongoing conflict, such as the battle for Kobani.
TEV-DEM in its final statement said it would attempt to prevent further migration and work on democratic means to return those who were forced to flee Syria.
TEV-DEM is a political umbrella organization that includes the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and other Kurdish parties, and played a major role in setting up local administrations in northern Syria.
On 17 March 2016, TEV-DEM announced the unification of three cantons into a single administrative unit, forming the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS).
“TEV-DEM plays a critical role in the Rojava self-administered areas in terms of setting both the political and the ideological agendas,” Aliza Marcus, Washington DC-based analyst on Kurdish issue who recently visited Rojava, told Kurdistan 24.
“I don't expect the new co-chairs to make any big changes in how things are being done or plans underway,” she concluded.
Editing by Nadia Riva