MSD's Ehmed calls on women to fight together for an equal and free life

MSD Co-chair Ilham Ehmed: We are inviting all Syrian and Middle Eastern women to fight together for an equal and free life.

As women around the world celebrate March 8 International Working Women’s Day, the civil war in Syria still hasn’t reached a political solution and continues. Millions of Syrian women greet March 8 under conditions of war and refuge.

Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) Co-chair Ilham Ehmed spoke to the ANF on the situation of Syrian women as they greet March 8 International Working Women’s Day and MSD’s projects for women.

Ehmed said that while Northern Syrian women have greeted March 8 in a great level of development, women in other parts of Syria are still facing great pains, and added: “We are inviting all Syrian and Middle Eastern women to fight together for an equal and free life.”


Ehmed stated that they were experiencing a two-sided situation as March 8 arrives, and that the women in Northern Syria and other areas in Syria are in different situations. On the situation of women in inner parts of Syria outside of Northern Syria, she said: “Women have faced a dire situation due to the unresolved civil war in Syria and the atrocities of ISIS for 6 years, especially women in inner regions. Many women were raped, enslaved and murdered, many lost their families due to the war or had to flee their lands and become refugees. Because before this, they weren’t organized. They weren’t at a stage where they could defend themselves. And there was a serious lack of awareness.”


Ehmed expressed that even after the process called the “Syrian Revolution” started, a serious women’s organization wasn’t built in these regions and added: “With the start of the civil war in Syria, organizations like women’s councils within NGOs were formed. Those are very ineffective and work only in the field of humanitarian aid. We learned that when the political solution discussions started, they managed to make them accept 30% women’s participation in decision centers, with great hardship. It is a council that works with the Dimustoria like an advisory council, and they can’t whip themselves away from the dominant mindset. They are not in a place that can be on the people’s side, create a change in society or transform the situation of women. That is why a significant women’s leadership doesn’t emerge from within Syria, women don’t have a leadership.”


MSD Co-chair stated that this situation causes the continuation of the pain women experience and added: “Of course in such circumstances, they couldn’t improve the women’s situation in awareness, education or organization, and they couldn’t take them to the level to be able to defend themselves under any circumstances, and to protect their people and their country. However, the only thing that could change the Syrian women’s circumstances was to make women into such a will. Because they don’t have a women’s organization that acts with this purpose and they couldn’t build up women’s will, women in inner regions of Syria outside of Northern Syria still experience a very dire situation. They are facing the same great pains on March 8 International Working Women’s Day.”


Ehmed remarked that the situation of Northern Syrian women is different in that they have reached a level of organization and expression in many areas like life, politics, defense and others, led by the Kurdish women, and added: “The true revolution in Syria developed in Northern Syria under women’s lead. For the first time in their history, Syrian women have reached such a level of awareness, will, organization and having a say in matters. This is developing to a level to affect not just the women of the region, but the whole world, and even the worldwide system. The awareness and development women achieved in Northern Syria in political, cultural and vital organizing is affecting the whole world. Kurdish women had the biggest effect in this improvement.”


MSD Co-chair pointed out that the Kurdish women’s fight in Rojava and Northern Syria affected women from other peoples of Northern Syria and added: “Assyrian women have also increased their struggle to organize and defend themselves, and to build their own organizations. Especially in areas liberated from ISIS, there is a great impact and development in Arab women. Many academies have been opened in these areas, and women are attending these academies with great interest in great numbers. There is a great potential in women in these regions. For example, the Manbij Women’s Assembly was declared today. This is the first time Arab women have organized themselves like this. Again in Manbij, women have their own organization within the Manbij Military Assembly. There have been several semesters of academic education. Many women from Raqqa attend these. We can say that the Arab women are advancing on their path of organization, struggle and liberation laid by Kurdish women with great struggles and faith. And that gives one hope. The level of development in women in Manbij and other areas liberated from ISIS is becoming the start of a Syrian Women’s Revolution.”


Ehmed said the development in Northern Syria has been reached through the legacy of tens of thousands of women who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom and added: “We are their followers. We will spread their struggle to all the women of Syria and we will crown it with victory. We have projects for this issue as the MSD. We are creating new projects for women through women’s centers, bureaus and assemblies. We are planning to hold a Syrian Women’s Congress. We have efforts to be more effective in organizing this and we have a planning.

We have accelerated our efforts to open women’s bureaus in every city, starting with regions that need organizing the most, and including women in the efforts and the struggle.


Ehmed celebrated March 8 International Working Women’s Day for women and said: “March 8 is an international symbolic day for resistance and achieving rights. In order to have not just one day but every day be a day for women, we must continue our struggle in unity and solidarity against the dominant system of oppression perpetuated by the patriarchal ideology still dominant over society and women, and the state. To this end, we are inviting all Syrian and Middle Eastern women to fight together for an equal and free life.”