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Turkey attack Kurds in Syria

Turkey attack Kurds in Syria

Tag:GS2 || International Relations || India & Rest of the World || West Asia

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Trump administration ordered US troops to step aside from the border in northern Syria, effectively paving the way for Turkey to launch an offensive against US-backed Kurdish forces who they regard as enemies.

Why is Turkey attacking them?

  • Turkey has two main goals in northeast Syria: to drive the Kurdish YPG militia which it deems a security threat away from its border, and to create a space inside Syria where 2 million Syrian refugees currently hosted in Turkey can be settled.

Who are Kurds?

  • At an estimated 25 million to 35 million population, they are the world’s largest stateless ethnic group.
  • The majority among the Kurdish people today are Sunni Muslim, but there are adherents of other faiths too, including Sufism and other mystical practices.
  • They live in the highlands of southern and eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, the northeastern Syria, northwestern Iran, and parts of south Armenia, and are a minority in each of these countries. Small communities live in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and eastern Iran as well.
  • Kurds have long had a reputation for being fearless fighters, and they have served as mercenaries in many armies over the centuries.
  • The mediaeval warrior Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that replaced the Fatimids in Egypt and ruled over large parts of the Middle East in the 12th and 13th centuries, was of Kurdish ethnicity.

What are their demands?

  • The Kurds have never achieved nation-state status, except in Iraq, where they have a regional government called Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Kurdistan is made up of five different regions: southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran and southwestern Armenia.
  • In the early 20th century, the Kurds began working toward the creation of homeland known as Kurdistan. In 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres — one of a series of treaties that the Central Powers signed after their defeat in World War I — outlined the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and called for an autonomous Kurdistan.
  • Three years later, after the end of the war, Western allies dropped demands for an independent Kurdish state and the Kurdish region was divided among several countries.

 Way ahead:

The operation could reshape the map of the Syrian conflict once again, dealing a blow to Kurdish-led forces that have battled Islamic State while widening Turkey’s territorial control at the border.