Autonomous Administration … Real model applied for Syria’s exit from dark tunnel -2
The Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria faces many challenges due to foreign interference that rejects a democratic system in the region, and this affects the Administration and the peoples of the region as a whole, but the Administration seeks with all its capabilities to avoid shortcomings and advance its work for the better.
DOSSIER 06 Sep 2020, Sun – 03:45 2020-09-06T03:45:00 NEWS DESK – SHERVIN MOSTAFA
Challenges and obstacles
In this part of our dossier, we will discuss the challenges and difficulties facing the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the shortcomings it suffers from, and how to avoid these shortcomings.
Difficulties faced by the Administration alone
Within two years of its establishment, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria was able to lay down the laws that guarantee the management and organization of society in all aspects, in addition to providing services to citizens, but in return for its continuous work, there are many difficulties it encounters.
According to the Co-Chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration, Berivan Khaled, the basic difficulties that the Autonomous Administration faced and continues to face is that the region was devastated and suffered from the atrocities of the war that lasted for more than 9 years; the presence of ISIS and Turkey’s attacks. Thus, the infrastructure has become destroyed in all sectors. In addition to the attempts of multiple parties to create strife among the components of the region to thwart the Administration, as happened recently in Deir ez-Zor countryside.
The biggest challenge, according to Berevan, was the security concern and establishing security and stability in the region, and she said in this context: “We have exterminated ISIS geographically, but the region is still suffering from its consequences and its ideology.”
Despite the geographical elimination of ISIS, there are sleeper cells for it in the region targeting workers in the Autonomous Administration institutions, especially in Deir ez-Zor, in addition to the presence of more than 12,000 ISIS detainees in prisons and 65,000 of their families.
The other challenge that the Autonomous Administration faces is securing the needs of the displaced, as the Autonomous Administration areas received tens of thousands of displaced people from various Syrian regions, and with the Turkish aggression and its occupation of areas in northern and east Syria “Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî,” hundreds of civilians displaced from these areas. .
In this context, the Administration built more than 15 camps in the region’s geography. Berivan Khaled says: “After the occupation, the Administration faced a humanitarian catastrophe from the displacement of thousands of civilians heading towards the camps. We attempted to provide whatever assistance we could, but we are sure that what we offer is not enough, and unfortunately, we faced this disaster alone before the silence of the international community, and we relied on our own capabilities with the shy support of some organizations.”
Berivan drew attention to the closure of the Tel Koçer / al-Yarobiya crossing border to the entry of UN humanitarian aid into the area, and said: “The closure of the crossing increases the possibility of a humanitarian disaster in the area, especially with the approaching winter season when the needs of the displaced increase.”
Berivan indicated that the Administration is responsible for al-Hol camp which includes tens of thousands of families of ISIS mercenaries and Iraqi refugees, and the international community disavows its management and securing its needs.
For his part, the Co-Chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration, Abdel Hamid al-Muhbash, said: “With regard to the file of the displaced, it is complex. There are many camps, and the largest concentration of displaced people is at al-Hol camp, and it amounts to 65,000 displaced persons, including Syrians, Iraqis and ISIS families.”
Al-Muhbash criticized the failure of humanitarian organizations to provide them with support, and said: “The support provided by the organizations is very little, and this is a burden and a great challenge facing the Autonomous Administration that provides services to these camps.”
Among the other difficulties facing the Administration, according to al-Muhbash, is the Corona epidemic that is spreading in the world and in the Autonomous Administration regions, the fact that the health infrastructure of the region is fragile as a result of the wars that the region has been exposed to.
Despite the geographical elimination of ISIS, al-Muhbash confirms that the region is still under attack, but this time by the Turkish occupation, as happened in October 2019, which caused the displacement of more than 300,000 civilians from their regions.
In addition, the Turkish occupation cut off water from al-Hasakah region, and in this context, al-Muhbash says: “The Administration is facing a great challenge to re-irrigate the city of al-Hasakah with water,” stressing that they are working with all their energy to deliver water to the city through strategic projects that they are now working on their implementation.
Berivan Khaled confirms that they were able to overcome some challenges with determination and the will of all Administration’s bodies, as well as the people advocate for them.
Node of political solution and hostility to Autonomous Administration
Berivan Khaled believes that one of the most complex difficulties is the lack of reaching a political solution in Syria in general and in the regions of northern and eastern Syria in particular, amid her emphasis on their pursuit for achieving the goals of the Autonomous Administration and pushing it to be a model for solving crises in the region as a whole.
In this context, the Autonomous Administration has repeatedly sought to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis, so that all components obtain their legitimate rights, especially through negotiations and talks with the Syrian government and with the opposition platforms.
However, the negotiation process between the Autonomous Administration and the Syrian government remained pending as a result of the government’s intransigence and its pursuit of the closed door policy.
In this context, the Syrian opposition and political analyst Ghiath Naissa says: “The parties of the “official” opposition have turned into subordinates of the coalition countries for Turkey, and the negotiating body is shared by the intervening countries, like the constitutional committee, and there are platforms for “the opposition” bearing the names of the capitals of the countries that sponsor them.
The concrete experience confirms that any of these intervening states and the parties that claim to be opposed fear the Autonomous Administration project because it provides a different model for what it wants to reproduce the system slightly amended, so the issue of Autonomous Administration does not concern it with if it is not hostile to it because it is the opposite of a political solution based based on sectarian or political quotas, and because it (the Autonomous Administration) by its nature carries a democratic and liberal dynamic.
Naissa adds: “The Autonomous Administration project does not really have “friends” among all these intervening states in the country, and also for the same reasons it has been and is still being subjected to major attacks and sieges that push these countries and the regime to ignite hostility against the Administration and confront it, starting with Chauvinist and clan national agitation and other such chauvinistic tensions that involve political forces that consider themselves democratic and opposition.”
Deficiencies in the Administration
The Autonomous Administration is a new experience being developed in the region, and despite the great efforts it is making, its work has not reached the required level.
The Autonomous Administration takes the communes and local councils as the basis for making decisions because they are responsible for managing the daily policies and practices in its local communities.
However, the role of the communes has recently declined in organizing society as a result of the weakness of the Autonomous Administration in its development and the failure of some of its workers to seriously consider these communes.
In this context, Abdel Hamid al-Muhbash says: “The communal life is a social state that starts from the smallest cell, which is the commune cell, and then the councils and administrations, and is taken as a basic principle of the Autonomous Administration system for the application of the decentralized system, which means the people managing themselves.”
He adds that the idea of the commune is a new idea, and it needs to be developed over time, so the Autonomous Administration seeks to develop and activate the idea of the communal society, where the village can manage itself and its facilities, and thus it reaches the administrative level in general.
How does the Autonomous Administration face the challenges and shortcomings?
The Autonomous Administration is working with all its efforts to raise the level of the work of the bodies and civil administrations by preparing their workers and educating them about how to conduct and provide services to the people in an ethical and democratic manner; however, the region lacks the administrative cadres familiar with work.
Abdel Hamid al-Muhbash said: “During the past two years, the administration has gone through a period full of diligent and continuous work. The infrastructures of all departments were almost destroyed, especially the health, education, agriculture, irrigation and services sectors. Therefore, more serious work was required from all bodies to rebuild these sectors to provide the best services to citizens at the level of the seven departments.”
He added that all bodies were able within the available capabilities to rebuild these institutions, rehabilitate irrigation projects for farmers, irrigate vast areas of agricultural land destroyed by the war, open many hospitals and health centers, and rehabilitate the health infrastructure, but he stressed that “the services provided do not improve to the level of ambition.”
Al-Muhbash confirms that the Autonomous Administration will advance to a better level of providing services and creating an appropriate living, political, economic and security environment with the support and cooperation of the people.
Administration must be transformed into a national model that inspires all Syrians
The Syrian opposition figure and political analyst Ghiath Naissa believes that the many enemies and the conditions of war and siege that the Autonomous Administration is exposed to are exacerbating the obstacles within the Autonomous Administration project itself, such as the state of corruption, weak popular participation, services, the successive confusion of political positions and social and economic policies, in addition to swelling the bureaucratic apparatus which constitutes an obstacle to the potential for developing the Autonomous Administration project and turning it into a national project for all Syrians, and in the region, and to become an inspiring experience for the peoples of the region.
Naissa says: “What must be done in the face of risks and challenges is to define urgent and serious work to transform the Administration project into a truly inspiring national model for all Syrians and the peoples of the region. This can only be done by relying on the energies of the masses, peoples, and the democratic and leftist radical forces, as they are the main bearers of this project.
Despite all the difficulties that the Autonomous Administration faces internally and the attacks it is exposed to from outside, it has managed, in comparison with the areas controlled by the Syrian government and the areas controlled by Turkish mercenary groups, to maintain security and stability, provide the basic needs for the citizens, and to manage the region’s affairs in a democratic manner. This is what makes the people of the region see them as the best model for administration.