Life in northeastern Syria’s Rojava Province is gritty. Its agricultural economy hasn’t exactly brought wealth to the area, and foreign investment is nonexistent. War throughout Syria and a siege around the region by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have further crippled Rojava’s economy and caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee to neighboring Iraq and Turkey.
Surprisingly, outside of the dire economic situation in Rojava and the Kurds’ war with ISIS, there’s an air of excitement. For the first time since the Ba’ath Party took control of Syria, the local Kurdish population is able to govern itself. Assad’s war with the mainly Sunni rebels over the past four years elsewhere in the country weakened government control over Kurdish territory. What has risen from the ashes of the Syrian war is a semi-autonomous Kurdish region and a revolution the prime minister of Rojava’s Cizre Canton, Akram Hasso, describes as “the Third Line,” a stance stating the Kurds aren’t with Assad or with the rebels. This is Syria’s third revolution.