News / Middle East

Syrian Conflict Gives Kurds New Freedom

Syrian Conflict Gives Kurds New Freedomi
|| 0:00:00
X
Scott Bobb
August 20, 2012 11:34 AM
As fighting intensifies in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Damascus, the Syrian government has withdrawn its troops from several Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Kurdish leaders there have set up their own security force and say they intend to maintain control of their areas no matter what happens in Syria's conflict. Some Kurds see this as a step toward fulfilling the dream of having their own homeland. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Afrin, northeastern Syria.

Syrian Conflict Gives Kurds New Freedom

TEXT SIZE - +
Scott Bobb
AFRIN, Syria — As fighting intensifies in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Damascus, the Syrian government has withdrawn its troops from several Kurdish areas in northern Syria.  Kurdish leaders there have set up their own security force and say they intend to maintain control of their areas no matter what happens in Syria's conflict. Some Kurds see this as a step toward fulfilling the dream of having their own homeland. 

When Syrian government forces withdrew recently, the Kurdish city of Afrin came under the control of the Kurd's Democratic Union Party, known as the P.Y.D.  Afrin has its own checkpoints and flies its own flag.

Hundreds gathered in the nearby village of Jolbul to bury a local son who died fighting in the 28 year-old struggle by separatist Kurds in Turkey against the Turkish government. Most Syrian Kurds support this struggle and privately many say they aspire to the same goal: a Kurdish homeland in their region.

Kurds make up 10 percent of Syria's population but have never been officially recognized by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic. The PYD commander in this region, who goes by the name Hassan, says the Kurds now control about half of the Kurdish areas along Syria's border with Turkey.  But he notes the region also has non-Kurdish communities.

“The demographics [population distribution] do not support independence here and we are not looking for independence," Hassan explained. "All we want are our human rights and self-determination, not separation, just democratic autonomy.”

The Kurds are not taking sides in the 17-month conflict between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Commander Hassan says neither side is willing to acknowledge the Kurds' identity or demands and so their struggle will continue.

“Whatever happens, as long as the regime attacks the Kurdish people and maintains its policy regarding us, the Kurdish people will continue to sacrifice and will resist to the last drop of blood,” Hassan said.

Altogether the Kurds number about 30 million, spread across parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Their aspirations trouble the central governments of those countries.  Syria's Kurds, surrounded by conflict, are in a delicate position. But the war has given them a new freedom that they vow never to surrender.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Baran Nemrûd from: Semsûr
August 21, 2012 2:17 PM
Congratulations to VOA correspondent Bobb, for this lovely report. We expect more comprehensive reports from VOA about the Kurds in Syria who have been buried alive for decades. We Kurds have suffered a lot, and I hope our brothers and sisters in Western part of the homeland will gain their freedom.

We Kurds from the other side of the artificial border (Turkey) pray for our brothers and sisters so that they free themselves from Assad tyranny and the brutal Fundamentalist of FSA. thank you for our Baluch borher Dr Malik. We love and support Blauchi people as well.


by: Dr. Malek Towghi(Baluch) from: USA
August 20, 2012 10:51 PM
My country, the USA, EU, Russia, Israel and the whole civilized world should help the Syrian Kurds to maintain their autonomy -- and endorse the idea that the Kurds deserve and have the right to establish a United Sovereign Independent Kurdistan on their own lands now occupied by Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. LONG LIVE THE KURDS -- Dr, Malek Towghi (Baloch), Liaison, Baluch Human Rights International


by: mehmet from: TURKİYE
August 20, 2012 4:34 PM
I am a kurdish Iive southern turkey but I not want leave from turkey southern soil I want joın kurd and turkey poeople

In Response

by: Sherwan from: Iraq
August 20, 2012 8:08 PM
Dear all brother and sister everywhere, it's the time to give Kurdish people their rights.. Do all to help them..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid