Kurdish Political Parties in Syria: Past Struggles and Future Expectations
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The high-profile geography where the Kurdish people reside on has increased its importance in different nation-states of the Middle East with legal and illegal Kurdish political formations in the twenty-first century. Especially, during the Arab Revolts and afterward, while the winds of change in the region brought down the existing authoritarian regimes one by one, it helped many historically isolated and oppressed groups such as the Kurds to take an active place in the political arena of the region. Despite many sociopolitical cleavages that occurred in various ways in the Syrian community due to the 2011 uprising, Syrian Kurds have caught the historic opportunity to defend their rights to self-determination. In other words, the Kurds that were historically oppressed and manipulated by the Assad regime have relatively begun to act on their behalf in northern Syria. This Kurdish self-determination move has been significantly affecting the strategic policies of the most local, regional, and international actors that deeply advocate change in the region. However, Kurdish political presence in post-uprising Syria has not been homogenous. Based on an extensive field research, this chapter presents an overview of competing Kurdish political parties in Syria in order to determine their demands, similarities, differences, and the organization styles. In addition, the chapter analyzes the relationship of Syrian Kurdish groups with Iraqi, Iranian, and Turkish Kurds. Syrian Kurdish parties are discussed in the historical context of Syria by analyzing the developments in the Kurdish political sphere at the regional level. Finally, regional and international relations are contextualized by explaining the road maps of Kurdish political parties in Syria.
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