Creating Kurdistan Will Require Ethnic Cleansing in Syria

A view of Tell Hammam et-Turkman

Evidence of ethnic cleansing has begun to pile up against Kurdish forces operating with autonomy in northern Syria. Tales from Syrian Arab and Turkic minorities fleeing geographic zones that the peshmerga are seeking for their own future ethnically consolidated nation-state have become common in the places they flee to, mainly Turkey or Syrian government territory. The Anatolia News Agency reported that At least 300 Arab and Turkmen villagers from Hammam et-Turkmen arrived in Turkey after fleeing Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces. Hammam et-Turkmen is 80 km north of Raqqa, the capitol of Daesh.

The PYD is struggling to clear the areas under their control of other ethnic groups in order to forward a stronger case for the acceptance of a Kurdish state. By creating, through force if necessary, facts on the ground, they strengthen their argument for an independent entity that can be legitimized on the world stage.

If they manage to succeed, It will have been at the expense of non-Kurdish citizens who live in the area, and will have further eroded the ethnic and religious diversity that Syria was once tolerant of. The flight of Arabs and other minorities from these lands is an under-reported phenomenon of the Syrian civil war, particularly by Western policymakers whose reliance on peshmerga forces to fight Daesh has increased as the prospects of a “moderate” rebel force capable of the task has waned.

To construct a Kurdish state is not as simple as ignoring the artificial borders created in the 20th century by European powers. To make the narrative of a natural Kurdish state stick will require the dislocation of a sizable population. To consolidate a Kurdish state breeds its own artificiality and consequent upheavals, which would add another layer of disputes to the already existing fragmentation problem plaguing the Middle East.

2 thoughts on “Creating Kurdistan Will Require Ethnic Cleansing in Syria

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  2. Pingback: Turkish Intervention: is it more about containing the Kurds or stopping the spread of the Islamic State? | InternationalScope

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