As the US Forces Leave Syria, 30 Million Kurds are in Danger

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( — October 11, 2019) —Just five years ago, the world watched as Syrian and Iraqi cities one by one fell into the hands of the extremist Islamic State. Great powers were stunned, and some were worried for their geopolitical interests.

The only force that immediately resisted the new danger was the Kurdish army. Although smaller and less armed than the Islamic extremists, they were able to slow down the Islamist attack, and the world then celebrated the “Spartan march” of their brave warriors.

The problems for the Kurds, however, began the moment when the fight against the Islamic State was brought to an end. International forces were no longer needed, while countries such as Turkey, Iraq and Iran feared that the politically strengthened Kurds could exercise their rights and interests to have their own country after the war. This territory includes parts of northern Syria, Iraq and some territory in southern Turkey.

In recent years, Turkey’s plans for an offensive in the Kurdish north of Syria have been largely ignored by America, which then officially decided to get out of the way.

The frightened Kurds today received a new attack, the latest in a series of decade long massacres, persecutions and repressions against the “greatest nation without land.”

The Kurds, estimated at around 30 million, share a common race, culture and language, but they have never had a state of their own. When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, the victorious Western powers ousted the Kurdish state known as Kurdistan, but it was never formed.

Since then, the Kurds have been fighting for their autonomy, independence and the promised state, and in turn have become the subject of repression by the countries in whose territories they live. Their every attempt to pursue their territory for the past 80 years has been brutally stifled.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein tried to eliminate the Kurds and he carried out the most notorious attack on them with chemical weapons in the city of Halabja in 1988. In Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been fighting the government for three decades.

In Syria, about 300,000 Kurds were stateless and forbidden to use their own language and culture.
The Kurds have been strong U.S. allies against the Islamic State since 2015. That year, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was formed, a paramilitary force made up of various ethnic groups, most of which were Kurds.

According to the Guardian, in early 2015, the Islamic State “stepped in” through the Middle Eastern armies and threatened the West, and at that time America turned to the Kurds for help.

The Kurds, with the help of air strikes by a US-led coalition, prospered under the leadership of the SDF, and have driven Islamic State fighters out of tens of thousands of square kilometers of territory in northeast Syria and established control of much of the border with Turkey.

The greatest fear of the Kurds may come true today when Erdogan was eager to declare the start of the invasion of northeast Syria. He further wrote that this operation, dubbed the “Source of Peace,” would remove the “terrorist threat” to Turkey.

Russian officials have stated that this isn’t their war and they will not interfere. The Assad’s regime can hardly wait to regain control of the territories held by the Kurds who, meanwhile, have announced a general mobilization.

As US forces are leaving the region, the one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes of this century is on the horizon.