Member of the House of Lords, Lord Hylton, has urged the British government to visit Rojava, the Kurdish regions of northern Syria, to witness the self-administration for itself during a debate in the house after last week’s Queen’s speech.

Having recently returned from his own visit to the region Lord Hylton expressed admiration for the authorities in Cizire, the eastern-most canton of three that make up the autonomous region of Rojava, saying that the Kurds, as the largest ethnic group, ‘might have seized power’ in 2011 when Assad’s forces fled but instead formed ‘common citizenship with the Assyrians, the Arabs, and other minorities’ to create a system of self-administration. A social contract has been adopted by the administration that ‘strongly proclaims equality for women’, he continued.

Lord Hylton is the only British official to have visited Rojava since the outset of conflict in Syria. During his stay, he became convinced that the “system of self-management will be a solution to the Syrian crisis as it is an ideal solution for Syria and the Middle East’, he told a press conference in Cizire.

To date, the British government has not made any serious attempt to engage with the autonomous administration of Rojava, which was declared in January 2013 and has established a style of governance focused around local democracy, pluralism, ecological sustainability and gender equality. The international community still does not recognise self-rule for Rojava or the elections that took place there earlier this year.

Lord Hylton has stated he also intends to raise his concerns over the isolation of Rojava with the FCO and other government bodies in an effort to raise the voices of the people of Rojava. Among the most pressing concerns will be the continued blockade by Turkey, with whom Rojava shares its northern border, which has crippled the urgent flow of humanitarian assistance to millions of Syrian refugees being housed in volunteer-run camps and to the city of Kobane, which is in desperate need of food, fuel, water and other basic necessities after an ISIS’ siege on the city left it 80% ruined.


[1] Lord Hylton speech in the House of Lords, 28 May 2015 in Hansard

[2] Kurdish Question, British Lord: I Admire The Self-Administration In Rojava, 21 May 2015: