An Insight on the Largest Nationless Population
The world’s most greedy, pain-staking and self-absorbed mess.
Written By Hrudhai Chand
The whole Syrian war is a messy and complicated geopolitical war that is still persisting. Still, there's a very vital part of this web of events and actions which matter the most: The Kurds comprise one of the largest ethnic groups of the Middle East. They carved their state called 'Rojava' along the border of Turkey and Northern Syria when Syria was still intact as one nation; This state is home to over a million Kurds. Many years ago, The Rojava was a forgotten land of Syria where the Kurds were denied legal status as Syrians. In the modern-day, Rojava is still a self-governed independent region with a powerful militia group that is fighting ISIS and being the most democratic part of the Middle East. Currently, Rojava’s independence is in a difficult position as it is surrounded by the totalitarian regime of Assad in Syria, Rebel Groups, ISIS and a hostile neighbour Turkey. This country seems to be the most unrealistic part of having democratic governance but still strives to be, which begs the question of its existence which is below mentioned.
How did Rojava come into existence?
In 2011, Protests against the dictator Bashar Al-Assad erupted in Syria. This then quickly escalated to a rebellion as he asked his military to fire on civilians openly. Since he required the army to attack his civilians, he had to relocate the forces from northern Syria, creating a void. Still, a Kurdish Democratic Union Party quickly filled this void and governed the entire region, and they called this region Rojava. They set up the democratic system of local governance and promised all rights of all citizens would be protected in Rojava; they promoted gender equality in the military and public institutions. The female and the male Kurdish armies called YPJ and YPG respectively fought alongside. In 2014, as Rojava started expanding, A Jihadist terrorist group called ISIS (Islamic State of Iran & Syria) started attacking them and the entire nation of Syria. They almost seized all cities of Rojava, but a pocket of Kurdish militia fighters with the US Air-Force support could mostly keep their ground.
With the support of the US now on air-force and weapons supply, the YPJ & YPG were the most influential military groups in Syria to drive out ISIS, as they pushed ISIS further and further back. They were able to make new uncharted territory that belonged to Syria before ISIS took control of it. Due to the newly gained land and their ethnic populations, Rojava has been renamed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DNR). And Kurdish fighters merged with non-Kurdish one's and together composed of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) this newly found nation was called 'the birth of a new Democracy in the Middle-East.'
Many reports from Amnesty International and Human Right's Watch claim many Human Rights abuse cases have originated from non-Kurdish groups, and these masses were displaced.
How did the International Community respond to the Rojava State?
The Syrian government refused to believe the existence of such a State within their national boundaries. Turkey is also worried about the expansion of Rojava because the Turks claim that Kurds in Rojava are the front for the PKK. This Kurdish militant group has been at war with Turkey as the Kurds have also been denied legal citizenship in Turkey; they have labelled it as a terrorist group with the support of the US & EU. They also claim that having a Kurdish government in Syria might influence Kurds in Turkey.
The Current Issue
Turkey has sent troops into Syria to fight both the SDF and ISIS; they have sent their troops in such a strategic position they were able to cut the crucial cities of Rojava from the federation. The Kurds didn't back out. They completely wiped the stain of ISIS from the entire state by 2017, but this was a bittersweet moment for Rojava.
In early-2018, Turkey went back into Rojava’s major city Afrin and launched 'Operation Olive Branch, a fully-fledged offensive against the Syrian Kurds. With ISIS gone, Rojava was weakened due to the absence of a common enemy. America began withdrawing support from the SDF, especially when they're against Turkey, a NATO ally; this has made them undermanned and under-equipped.
In October 2019, airstrikes began on the northern part of Syria, which marked the war between Turkey and Syria. Turkey plans to attack an area of a so-called 'safe-zone which is 20 kilometres down the border of the Syrian-Turkey Border where he intends on displacing 3.6 Million Syrian refugees who entered Turkey due to the Syrian war. A significant upheaval to cause this zone was the US troops, who were allies to both parties. So in August 2019, Turkey’s President Erdoğan, with the support of President Donald Trump, agreed to a 5-kilometre safe-zone and the SDF agreed by withdrawing forces. This wasn't enough for Erdoğan, but at the UN, he proposed a 30 km deep and 280 km long zone, a much larger one than the original idea.
President Erdoğan and President Donald Trump agreed where the US troops were pulled out of Syria, which made the Turks dream of the 30 kilometres safe zone more real. Erdoğan seized this opportunity, and he ordered the massive bombing, shelling and more troops deployed to this region, making it a war zone. This has caused overwhelming devastation; hospitals and crematories are complete and thousands of Kurds are on the run. The removal of peaceful US Troops has created a new power vacuum filled by Russians in support of the Turks, and the Kurds and the Syrian President have also made a deal.
The dismissal of the previous war has begun the doorway for a new one with new alliances made and severed alliances re-established. Only the future can tell what will happen to the now Rojava State.