News / Middle East

Kurds Caught in Throes of Syria's War

Kurds Caught in Throes of Syria's Wari
X
September 13, 2013 12:52 AM
Syria's Kurds are the country's largest ethnic minority. They are caught in the web of Syria's civil war, fighting among themselves and also battling Islamist extremists for control of a pocket of the country. Thousands of Kurds have fled Syria, mostly to Lebanon and Iraq. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where many Syrian Kurdish refugees have taken shelter.
Heather Murdock
— Syrian Kurds are caught in the middle of Syria's civil war, fighting among themselves and also battling Islamist extremists for control of pockets of the country.

When Soaad Zenno left Syria with her three children a year ago, she left a country that banned Kurdish holidays and wouldn’t allow Kurdish history or language to be taught in schools.

But for families like Zenno's, crowded into two rooms near the Syrian border as refugees in Lebanon, there is nothing good about the war for Kurds.

Talking about the hardship of living displaced from her war-torn homeland, Zenno said her children did’t even go to school.

Syrians Kurds have fled by the tens of thousands as fighting rages in Syria not only among Kurdish factions, but also between Kurdish groups and Islamist insurgents.

Some Kurdish groups support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while others are with the Free Syrian Army rebels. Islamist groups, like al-Qaida and Jabhat al-Nusra (a Free Syrian Army ally) are considered Kurdish arch-enemies.

Giorgio Cafiero is a research analyst for the consulting firm Country Risk Solutions.

“Some of these Islamist groups have beheaded Kurds and threatened many Kurdish communities with violence if they don’t comply with the al-Qaida groups,” said Cafiero.

Increased violence between Islamists and Kurds is widening the Kurdish humanitarian crisis that is spilling into Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

To complicate matters further, the land occupied by a largely Kurdish population in Syria was extremely valuable, said Daniel Wagner, who works with Cafiero.

“Syria’s real only oil reserves are in the northeast -- so from a natural resource perspective, that’s the big prize -- which is largely populated by Kurds. And the Islamists, naturally, want a piece of that, just like the government wants to hang on to it,” he said.

Spread throughout Syria and the neighboring countries of Iraq, Turkey and Iran, Kurds are looking long term to national autonomy in a greater Kurdistan. In Syria, Kurds make up about nine percent of the population.

Analyst Wagner said a Kurdish nation -- or something like it -- may be a "pipe dream" now but was an important ideal in future Middle East peace efforts.

“My sense is that until the greater Kurdistan issue is resolved there can be no real peace in the Middle East, just as there can be no real and lasting peace until ... the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved,” he said.

Displaced Syrian Kurdish families can only think about the misery of the present.

In their border-town apartment, Evy, Soaad’s 13-year-old daughter, said she wanted to study French, not work in a clothing store, but that she had no choice.

Evy recalled her school in Syria, where she studied science, math, English and history. But the school, she said, like much of Syria, was bombed and now she didn’t even have papers to prove her class ranking. She cannot be admitted into a school in Lebanon.

Still, some analysts said the long-term fallout from Syria's conflict may be positive for Kurds.

Analyst Cafiero said that although there was no end to the war in sight, Kurds may ultimately gain more rights in Syria.

“They see the rest of Syria bogged down in a very bloody and complicated conflict and it is within this context that they are trying to push for a level of autonomy that they have never enjoyed since the Syrian state was created,” he said.

But Evy's mother said she didn't know whether the end of the war would leave her family better or worse off. For now, she said, the war has left her without hope.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hamma Mirwaisi from: USA
September 13, 2013 6:35 AM
Please read our articles and books to understand Kurdish people history better

Kurdish women Guerrillas on Front Line of War against Sex Slavery in Syria!
Consequently, we are appealing to feminists, and all others who have compassion and respect for their sisters and fellow human beings to support peace for the Kurdish people, and victory for their forces in Syria and other parts of Kurdistan as they struggle against attacks, especially on women, from Islamic terrorist organizations. The desperate situation in Syria is all too familiar to the Kurdish people who, after 1400 year http://www.opednews.com/author/author43208.html

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid