Syria’s Kurdish Hope

The civil war now engulfing Syria emerged from its people’s desire for political change. Since the outbreak of protests in 2011 against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime – and long before – one group of Syrians, the Kurdish community, has consistently sought peaceful change and respect for the rights of all.

QAMISHLI, SYRIA – The civil war now engulfing Syria emerged from its people’s desire for political change. But the war is not universal: since the outbreak of protests in 2011 against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime – and long before – one group of Syrians, the Kurdish community, has consistently sought peaceful change and respect for the rights of all.

For Syria’s Kurds, the struggle against more than four decades of the Assad family’s Ba’athist dictatorship became particularly harsh after 2004, when security forces killed dozens of unarmed protesters in the northeastern town of Qamishli. This ignited the spark for democratic reform, and we were spurred on by the knowledge that our kinsmen had won political autonomy in northern Iraq and were creating a vibrant democracy.

When protests erupted across Syria in 2011, Kurds were at the forefront. Unfortunately, foreign fighters across the Arab and wider Muslim world soon joined the fray, some supporting the regime, and others backing the rebels. For the Kurds, the widening conflict meant that, in addition to fighting a brutal dictatorship, we were now confronted by Al Qaeda militants seeking to establish an Islamic emirate in the Middle East.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/F37Bwkd;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.