Kurdish fighters constituted some of the most effective forces in the fight against ISIS in the long-drawn-out Syrian conflict. With the demise of the so-called Islamic State, the tables have turned on the Kurds and we are witnessing the declaration of withdrawal by US forces and Turkey’s operation in Northern Syria. The present situation in Syria is complicated, and few conflicts in the Middle East have drawn in so many powers, both super and regional, everyone with their own geopolitical interests. Inevitably, the Syrian conflict has rendered a large number of Syrians homeless, 3.2 million of whom are being hosted by Turkey. But the resultant action by Ankara, to set up a safe zone in northeast Syria so that hundreds of thousands of Syrians refugees could be returned, has endangered the survival of the Syrian Kurds.
Our concern is that with a full-blown military campaign comes the unnecessary loss of civilian life and destruction. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Kurdish YPG militia had helped US wrest control of territories ruled by ISIS. Now that the Kurds have bled in the fight against the greater evil and the common enemy has been overcome, it does not mean that the world should turn away from them.
Unfortunately, history is full of such instances, but we can only hope that the Kurds will not be left to their own devices to face an overwhelming odd. It should be remembered that the operation in northern Syria not only endangers the Syrian Kurds, it gives the fanatical zealots the space they need to reorganise, rearm and relaunch their movement.