Syria Direct: News Update 8-31-15

Kobani legislates gender equality

Local activists are giving mixed reviews to new laws signed by the legislative council in YPG-controlled Kobani over the weekend that sought to cement “equality between men and women in all areas of life” in the YPG-controlled city within the de facto autonomous Kurdish region of Rojava in northeastern Syria.
 
“Women carry weapons, defend their land, work as employees and struggle in society, therefore the [old] laws which were against her that prevented her from being free and equal with men must be lifted,” Mustafa Abdi, a Kurdish journalist in the city, told Syria Direct on Monday.
 
The 30 articles signed into law on Saturday are in keeping with the principles of the self-administrating government in Kobani of equality between men and women.
 
The new laws ban the practice of polygamy, with penalties of up to a year of jail time and fines for violators, Kurdish-owned BAS News reported on Saturday. Other sections stipulate the prosecution of so-called honor crimes on equal footing with other murders and include a ban on child marriages.
 
There might be such a thing as too much equality, Shirin Hamou, a Kurdish activist in the city told ARA News on Saturday: “It would also be nice not to see this young girl who the law protects from marriage being thrown into the battlefield after being forcibly conscripted.”

Some online commentators criticized the law as out of touch with Kobani residents’ needs on Sunday.

“There are no longer problems in Kobani other than polygamy?…Trivial,” one commenter on Facebook said. “A failed decision in the wrong time. What is this farce? The world is in one place and they’re in another,” another wrote. 

 A Kurdish fighter in Kobani. Photo courtesy of AlAanTV

Rebels stifle IS attempts to expand in south Damascus

Rebel forces in southern Damascus ended an Islamic State attempt to expand out of their stronghold in neighboring al-Hajjar al-Aswad on Sunday, killing and wounding IS fighters who had occupied buildings on the edge of the al-Qadam district for two days.

“Rebel fighters were able to retake the areas captured by IS yesterday and the Islamic Union of Ajnad a-Sham is in full control of the area now,” a representative from al-Qadam’s local self-government council told Syria Direct on Monday. 

Ajnad a-Sham soldiers killed 15 IS fighters while the rest fled back to al-Hajjar al-Aswad, reported the brigade.

Saturday’s incursion marks the first time IS has attempted to push west into al-Qadam, and only the second time it has moved out of its base in al-Hajjar al-Aswad, the first being when it stormed and captured the nearby Yarmouk camp in April.