Fighting for a Kurdish Utopia in Syria

Photographs by Lynsey Addario

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Syrian Kurds Try to Create a Safe, Secular Haven in the Shadow of ISIS

In the same stateless void where ISIS has created their proto-caliphate, the Kurds of northern Syria have formed Rojava, a utopian state that consists of three cantons committed to women’s liberation, cooperative economics, and, as their constitution states, an “ecological society.” This is not a marginal effort—Rojava has 4.5 million inhabitants. The Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Syrians, and others who live there are creating their utopian experiment all while simultaneously fighting ISIS. Both male and female fighters with the Kurdish militant groups YPG and YPJ, functioning under the umbrella organization called TEVDAM, have carved out pockets of stability within Northern Syria, but still must defend themselves from ISIS and occasionally regime forces on fronts across their territory.

The full set of images is available on the main Getty Images website.