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The Kurds of Syria: From the Forgotten People to World-Stage Actors

Publikation: FAK publikationsserierForskningpeer review

For years the Syrian Kurds were referred to as the ‘forgotten Kurds’ since they attracted very little attention from researchers and public media. The civil war in Syria, which broke out in 2011, changed all this. Thus, the Syrian Kurds proved to be the most effective tactical allies to the American-led coalition against the Islamic State on the Syrian front of the battle. How come the ‘forgotten Kurds’ suddenly became world-stage actors?

This brief traces the development of a Syrian Kurdish political identity from the first attempts to unite the Kurds living in Syria after the World War I to the mobilisation of the Syrian Kurds during the current Syrian civil war. The brief examines how regime repression and lack of external support for the Kurdish struggle in Syria made the Syrian Kurds prefer non-violent action and complicity with the regime from the time of independence and onwards. It also examines how the civil war paved the way for a more assertive political identity as the Syrian regime withdrew from the Kurdish areas and the international coalition chose the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia as tactical allies in the war against the Islamic State.

The brief also displays that the Syrian Kurds are divided along political lines. Some Kurds are fighting for the so-called ‘Rojava revolution’ in the autonomous Kurdish regions, others participate in the Geneva peace talks as part of the Syrian opposition, yet others act as independent actors advocating liberal democracy and human rights.
Udgivelses stedCopenhagen
UdgiverRoyal Danish Defence College
Antal sider21
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-87-7147-193-9
StatusUdgivet - 23 jun. 2017
BogserieFAK Brief



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