The YPJ Women’s Protection Units are military units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of North and East Syria. To commemorate International Women’s Day, March 8, 2023, and their 10th anniversary, they issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to fighting for their rights and the rights of all women.

“In our tenth year, we once again welcome March 8, International Women’s Day,” read the statement. “We have always stated that we would be a force for women’s rights and freedom. On the occasion of March 8, we reiterate our promise and secure all the values achieved with the blood of martyrs. We commemorate all the women who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and women’s freedom.”

They referred to the recent earthquakes, which have only deepened the crisis that has been unfolding over the past ten years:

“The earthquakes that struck North Kurdistan, Turkey and Syria have caused great suffering, which was primarily suffered by mothers, women and children and claimed the lives of countless people, and left thousands of others injured and homeless.

Mothers, women and children died, thousands others remain victims, injured and orphans. This year, we welcome March 8 with grief. This earthquake has revealed once again the fact that the system’s policies only favor interests and cause pain to grow.”

They made statements to encourage all women and all people to improve their self-defense systems in order to protect themselves from systemic failures:

“The policies of the system turned the days of people and women into darkness, grievance and pain, proving that the system has never been able to protect peoples. If people do not improve their defense organization in all fields, they will always remain under the rubble of the systems. In the century we live in, there have been great wars and destruction. And all this is a consequence of the male-dominated state system.”

The YPJ also placed itself in the struggle for women’s rights, invoking the slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî.” They reinforced their promise to continue the struggle for the liberation of all women:

“On the other hand, women have proven that they can successfully fulfill all their duties by reaching a level of consciousness to take responsibility. In particular, the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ [Women, Life, Freedom] has brought the women’s revolution of the world into view. The continuous popularity of this slogan has raised the belief that women have the power to intervene.

As the YPJ, we share the pain of women, and we declare that we are the defenders of the cause of social justice, democratic politics and freedom. We will stand up for social values and will fight for ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ to resonate everywhere.”