An oasis of democracy has emerged where women enjoy equal rights and all religions are tolerated. Marketplaces sell ammunition to citizens. ISIS, the Assad regime, and Turkey threaten the region.
Azad Ahmed and Bercem Abd al Kader live in the former territory of the Islamic State. The couple share how they met; Ahmed served in the People's Protection Units. Their wedding ceremony will not be religious.
The Kurdish government that controls the region allows civil marriages and women the chance to work. The administrative headquarters is in Ain Issa; 50% of government positions must be held by women. Leila Mustapha is the female representative of Raqqa.
Syrian Democratic Forces and a U.S.-led coalition war with ISIS in Deir ez-Zor. Yaara Bou Melhem witnesses devastated villages as she advances toward the front line. ISIS travels through tunnels to avoid airstrikes and attack enemy forces from the rear.
Returning civilians are angry at SDF forces and the U.S. for bombing their city. Kurdish run prisons house 900 foreign fighters. Alexandr Ruzmatovich Bekmirzaev insists he was possessed while fighting for ISIS.
ISIS returns to guerilla warfare tactics. Mustapha accepts that she may be assassinated. Turkey pledges to invade Northern Syria and destroy the Kurds when U.S. forces leave the region; soldiers mourn the death of Ismail Ibrahim.
Ahmed and Al Kader celebrate their marriage with friends and family in Kobani. Al Kader worries about the threat from Turkey. Kurds are building a life they could never have dreamed of under ISIS rule.
Credits: The Oasis
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A radical experiment in democracy and women’s rights is under way in the old badlands of Islamic State. But as Yaara Bou Melhem reports, it could be crushed in an instant.
Length: 30 minutes
Copyright date: ©2019
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