Rojava: key facts

Rojava is the former name of the Autonomous Administration of North East Syria (AANES), and still commonly used to describe the autonomous region. Rojava is a secular, multicultural democracy, and its social contract states it is built on principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology1.

The name Rojava means ‘west’ in Kurdish; the AANES includes Kurdish-majority areas, as well as Arab-majority regions liberated from ISIS control.

As well as Kurds and Arabs, Rojava is home to Assyrian Christians, Armenian Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen and Chechens, minorities whose rights are protected in law and who are guaranteed representation in all political processes2.

Under the banner of the General Council of the Autonomous Administration in North  East Syria, the DFNS works in co-ordination with civil councils in Raqqa, Manbij, Tabqa and Deir al-Zor, all liberated from ISIS control with the support of the YPG and YPJ3.

Altogether these territories cover 50,000km² and encompass a population of around 4 million4 – by both measures, about the same as Croatia or the US state of Louisiana.

1              Social Contract of the DFNS,
2              Social Contract of the DFNS,
3              Statement of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria,
4              Exact population estimates are difficult to come by with the population and territory in flux and a state of war, but a figure of 4.5 million is used by sources such as Jane’s (2018),, and New York Times (2014),