Far from being hijacked and crushed by Islamists and jihadists, Syria’s democratic revolution continues not only as 2011-style peaceful protests but also as rudimentary forms of democratic self-governance established in rebel-held areas.

Over 400 local councilsroughly one-third of them elected and one-half formed by consensus — are in charge of public services such as emergency response, water, power, education, health and hygiene, waste management, local policing, and civil matters like recording marriages and property transactions. These councils and the civil servants they employ receive approximately $200 million per year from states backing the rebels via the exile coalition‘s Assistance Coordination Unit.

The videos below show what rebel democracy in action looks like in practice:

Men and women elect Douma council:

University of Idlib elects its president and board members:

4,000 Syrians vote in Saraqib, Idlib local elections:

Idlib city elects 25 out of 85 candidates:

Council Elections in Kafranbel:

Elections in Eastern Ghouta:

Douma Council Explains How Its Elections Work:

Elections in rebel-held Aleppo:

Introduction to Aleppo’s democratic institutions

Elections in rebel-held Quenitra:

Elections in rebel-held Daraa:

Elections in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta near Damascus:

Activists campaign for free speech in rebel-held Idlib:

Engineering syndicate elects administrative staff of seven (elections in professional associations were abolished by the Assad regime):

General authority of Zamalka (Damascus governate) elect 20 members of the local council:

Elections for a constituent body within the city council of Kafr Batna, Eastern Ghouta:

Saraqib local council begins registering cars and issuing license plates in northwest Idlib:

Syrian interim government sets up water systems in southern Syria:

Free police training in Aleppo:

More videos will be added as new examples arise.

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