KOBANI, Syria — I recently stayed overnight in Serekaniye and awoke to unusual sounds at about 5 a.m. I looked out and saw a group of Asayish (local Kurdish police), both men and women, engaged in physical training in an empty lot. Serekaniye had been the scene of clashes in 2012-13 between the Kurds and groups supported by Turkey. Now, the Asayish there look like a disciplined army.
Not quite 200 miles away in Kobani, there is other evidence that the Kurds have serious aspirations for Rojava, officially the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria. Though rubble remains in most parts, the city is both rebuilding and launching new construction. There is even a new cemetery, which could be seen as a sign of intended stability.