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Women’s organizations in northern Syria have come a long way

Although women’s organizations are successfully raising awareness about women’s rights and the need to fight sexual violence and crimes in north Syria, challenges represented by a patriarchal society remain.
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On Dec. 15, Star Forum, a female organization affiliated with the Movement for a Democratic Society, staged a protest in Hasakah, in northeastern Syria, condemning the murder of Maryam Mohammad Ali by her brother-in-law. The circumstances of the crime have not been revealed and investigations are ongoing, but the story circulating is that 25-year-old Maryam, a mother of two, had approached Asayish, the security forces of the Kurdish self-rule administration in northern Syria, to lodge a complaint of sexual assault by her brother-in-law and father-in-law. Her brother-in-law was furious, and the two clashed. He shot her twice, in the head and right shoulder.

Women’s organizations have been working in northern Syria, specifically in al-Jazira province, for more than six years, but the event in December was the first time a women’s organization had publicly demonstrated against the area's social norms. The objective behind establishing the Star Forum was to help women break free from societal restraints, according to Walida Bouti, the Star Forum's director.

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