chapter  3
20 Pages


The Kurds Alone
WithJonathan Spyer

In the course of 2013, a conflict within the Syrian conflict broke out in northern Syria, between the Kurds and the Islamist rebels, including Nusra, ISIS and other less radical groups. This fight was initially seen by many as a localized "sideshow", distracting from the main fight between regime and rebels. The difficult plight of the Kurds of Syria had received little international attention prior to 2011. In 2004, the Kurds had risen up against the regime in the northern city of Qamishli. The Kurdish areas in Syria were controlled by the Democratic Union Party, the Syrian franchise of the PKK. Northern Iraq, meanwhile, was ruled by the Kurdish Democratic Party of Masoud Barzani. But there was hardly any reporting from inside the three non-contiguous Kurdish enclaves of Jazira, Kobani and Afrin. Entry into the Jazira enclave from the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq was also not as easy as might have been expected.