Statement from the Syrian Women’s Political Movement On Detention of Women in Raqqa by SDF

A few days ago, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested 25 women and detained them for questioning in response to protesting in front of the prison in the Sawam’e area in Raqqa city to demand the release of their husbands who had been detained by SDF, or at least see them. The detained women were later released after appeals at the local and international levels, after forcing them to sign pledges not to protest or demonstrate again.

We in the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) condemn the detention of these women in particular and any repressive behavior targeting civilians in general. We take this opportunity to reaffirm our position regarding all violations against civilians and women in particular throughout Syria, by the de facto authorities and forces supported regionally and internationally. In this regard, we point to the violations against women in Afrin and in the areas under the control of The Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra or HTS) and other radical factions. We also condemn the silencing of civilians and depriving them of their right to peaceful demonstration. We believe that this behavior is no different from that of the Assad regime, which was one of the main reasons that led the Syrian people to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations in 2011.

We hereby reaffirm the following:

1-      The detainees’ file is a non-negotiable file and of the highest priority, and we reject using it in any way as a bargaining chip or for extortion, or to link it to the local settlement deals, as has recently happened in southern Syria; and we affirm our adherence to it as a non-negotiable file in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

2-      The political solution, which we support and to which we are committed within a comprehensive political process, cannot be achieved while there are forces in control that do not guarantee the freedom to exercise civil life and the civil movements for all Syrians.

3-      We look positively at any peaceful movement and support the Syrian women resuming their role in peaceful activism, especially the women of Raqqa who have been repressed – as well as all activists – and all civil movements and activism silenced for years by “ISIS” and later other de facto authorities on the ground.

4-      We consider these practices by any entity or force immoral and must be stopped, and those responsible must be held accountable for all violations against civilians.

Syrian Women’s Political Movement

18 July 2018