News / Middle East

Syrian Crisis Drives Kurdish Push for Independence

Syrian Crisis Drives Kurdish Push For Independencei
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
November 15, 2012 9:47 PM
Tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have crossed over the border into Kurdistan to flee the violence in Syria . Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq is training fighters to cross into Syria, to defend territory now held by Kurds. Henry Ridgwell reports from the border.

Syrian Crisis Drives Kurdish Push For Independence

Tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have crossed the border into Iraqi Kurdistan to flee the violence in Syria. Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq is training fighters to cross into Syria, to defend territory now held by Kurds.

On a vast desert plain, with the Kurdistan mountains in the distance, lies the Domiz refugee camp, close to Iraq’s border with Syria.

A crowd of new arrivals, dozens deep, fights to register at the head office - the first step towards longer-term settlement in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan. Around 250 people arrive here every day.

Sadulah Abdullah Hamid is refugee coordinator at the camp. “Our door is open," Hamid says. "Whoever comes, we will welcome them and try our best to look after them and give them what they need.”

It is that perceived kinship between Kurds that has attracted many of the refugees here to Kurdistan, rather than to Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan.

While the Kurds control a large part of eastern Syria, there are big Kurdish populations in cities like Damascus and Aleppo, and the violence there has forced them to flee.

The conflict has galvanized the Kurdish drive for self-determination. Many of the young men in the camp want to return and fight for the Kurdish cause.

Twenty-four-year-old Hawar Ahmed says everyone wants to go to fight against Assad but can’t get back into Syria.  He says many men here want to go to become Peshmerga [Kurdish fighters].

His friend Abdul Al-Jafri says he is a Kurdish man and will die one day anyway.  So he wants to fight and die for Kurdistan and wants the Kurdish part of Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan to unite together. 

Hemin Hawrami of Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party says his government has been giving military training to Syrian Kurds to help solidify recent territorial gains in Syria.

“We want these people to be responsible for defending their own areas, for protecting governmental buildings for example, to prevent the spill over of looters or civil war or things like that. But this is the only purpose - we have not trained them to attack,” he said.

An officer of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) stands guard near the Syrian-Iraq border, October 31, 2012.An officer of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) stands guard near the Syrian-Iraq border, October 31, 2012.
x
An officer of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) stands guard near the Syrian-Iraq border, October 31, 2012.
An officer of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) stands guard near the Syrian-Iraq border, October 31, 2012.
Local media report thousands of trained Kurdish fighters are waiting on the Syrian border, but that the party that controls Kurdish parts of Syria, the PYD, will not allow them in.

The PYD has yet to join the Kurdish National Council, the umbrella body founded last year in Erbil. Hemin Hawrami says they should join.

“It’s very important to keep the unity of the Kurds because it’s the key for the changes in Syria. And also for the unity of the opposition,” he said.

Historic rivalries and conflicts will have to be overcome if Kurdish factions are to unite.
In the meantime, in Domiz camp, there are more immediate concerns for the Kurds forced to flee Syria.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: med from: Australia
November 15, 2012 6:04 AM
Kurds have all the rights to study their language.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid