Rojava (/ˌroʊʒəˈvɑː/ ROH-zhə-VAH; Kurdish: [roʒɑˈvɑ] "the West") is a de facto autonomous region originating in and consisting of three self-governing cantons in northern Syria, namely Afrin Canton, Jazira Canton and Kobanî Canton, as well as adjacent areas of northern Syria like Shahba region. The region gained its de facto autonomy as part of the ongoing Rojava conflict and the wider Syrian Civil War, establishing and gradually expanding a secular polity based on the democratic confederalism principles of democratic socialism, gender equality, and sustainability.
Also known as Syrian Kurdistan or Western Kurdistan (Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê), Rojava is regarded by Kurdish nationalists as one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, which also includes parts of southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan). However, Rojava is polyethnic and home to sizable ethnic Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen populations, with smaller communities of ethnic Armenians, Circassians and Chechens. This diversity is mirrored in its constitution, society and politics.
On 17 March 2016, its de facto administration self-declared the establishment of a federal system of government as the Democratic Federation of Rojava – Northern Syria (Kurdish: Federaliya Demokratîk a Rojava - Bakurê Sûriyê; Arabic: الفدرالية الديمقراطية لروج آفا - شمال سوريا, translit. al-Fidirāliyya al-Dīmuqrāṭiyya li-Rūjāvā - Šamāl Suriyā; Syriac: ܦܕܪܐܠܝܘܬ݂ܐ ܕܝܡܩܪܐܛܝܬܐ ܠܓܙܪܬܐ ܒܓܪܒܝܐ ܕܣܘܪܝܐ, translit. Federaloyotho Demoqraṭoyto l'Gozarto b'Garbyo d'Suriya; sometimes abbreviated as NSR). While entertaining some foreign relations, the NSR is not officially recognized as autonomous by the government of Syria or any international state or organization. The protagonists of the NSR consider its constitution a model for a federalized Syria as a whole. The updated December 2016 constitution of the polity uses the name Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Kurdish: Federaliya Demokratîk a Bakûrê Sûriyê; Arabic: الفدرالية الديمقراطية لشمال سوريا, translit. al-Fidirāliyya al-Dīmuqrāṭiyya li-Šamāl Suriyā; Syriac: ܦܕܪܐܠܝܘܬ݂ܐ ܕܝܡܩܪܐܛܝܬܐ ܕܓܪܒܝ ܣܘܪܝܐ, translit. Federaloyotho Demoqraṭoyto d'Garbay Suriya).