Kobani has opened its first ever publishing house, which aims to promote reading as a hobby in the aftermath of ISIS' defeat.
The publishing house called “Ava” was opened in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani, in northern Syria, by individuals working in the culture sector. According to Sherzad Basrawi, manager of the publishing house, the main goal is to develop a project that aims to raise the level of culture within the region.
The house itself contains: a library with approximately 2500 books, books in Kurdish, Arabic and Turkish, a reading room and a buffet that provides free drinks to readers. The publishing house is also currently in the process of printing two books in Kurdish and Arabic.
Kobani, officially known as Ein al-Arab by the Syrian authorities in Damascus, has represented a significant location for the political and military developments in northern Syria linked to the current Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The city was close to falling to ISIS in 2015 during a siege by the terrorist group, however the People’s Protection Units (YPG) held on to push the group away. Resources were pulled together to strengthen the local YPG, with even foreign volunteer fighters joining the military unit in its anti-ISIS operations. A novel depicting the experiences of the people of Kobani during the ISIS occupation was released last year.
Civilians that had fled during the ISIS onslaught started to come back that year and the city has been developing ever since. The city of Kobani has placed great emphasis on education, especially following the victory over ISIS in 2015. For instance, the first university in the city was opened in 2017.
Such efforts to improve the educational standing in northern Syria are not restricted to Kobani, but are part of the Autonomous Administration’s vision, as well as that of civil society activists in the region, to promote educational initiatives in the post-ISIS era. Schools have been under the reconstruction process over the past few years and the educational curriculum has been adapted to take into account post-ISIS realities in the region.