Skip to main content

Hope and fear for Syria's Kurds

In the first of a new series of long-form, in-depth articles, Al-Monitor traveled to the northeastern Syrian town of Derik to explore the transitional and often contradictory nature of the Kurdish-administered territory still commonly called Rojava.
Syrian Kurdish people rally on Mistanur hill during a gathering to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on March 21, 2015. AFP PHOTO/YASIN AKGUL        (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Read in 

“What happens when a black rat mates with a white rat?” The question prompted nervous giggles in a classroom in northeastern Syria. A dark-haired girl in a white hijab hazarded a guess: “All their babies will be born black." 

Of the 23 teenagers attending the evening biology prep course at Taleyah lycee in the town of Derik, only three are boys. “Most boys their age are either fighting Daesh or have fled the country,” teacher Shiwan Jamil explained during a brief pause in the lesson. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.