A Kurdish man guards a checkpoint on the road to the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, on the Syria-Turkey border, on August 23, 2012. Turkish and US officials began their first "operational planning" meeting aimed at bringing about the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime, where the threat of armed groups including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Al-Qaeda which could exploit a power vacuum in Syria is expected to figure high on the agenda of the Ankara meeting. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)


In July 2012, Kurds in northern Syria began taking control of territory. This led to the creation of the largely self-governing areas known collectively as Rojava (Western Kurdistan), and a new experiment in local government which has deep significance for Syrian, Kurdish, Middle Eastern and international geopolitics.

Four years on from this unprecedented development, the LSE Middle East Centre convened a workshop bringing together specialists on Kurdish, Syrian and Turkish politics with colleagues from the UK FCO and DFID to examine the progress and nature of the Rojava project. The healthy level of debate was testament to the complexity and nuance of the issues and a report was published seeking to provide new insights into Rojava.

Over the next week, we will publish short pieces by workshop participants on the different themes covered during the workshop.


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