Kurdish fighters in northern Syria say they have captured a key town from Islamic State, just 50km (30 miles) from the group’s headquarters at Raqqa.
A spokesman for the the Popular Protection Units (YPG) said Ain Issa and its surrounding villages were now under the militia’s “total control”.
The YPG captured the town of Tal Abyad on the Turkish border last week, cutting a major supply line for IS.
Via Michael Totten. Let’s go take a look at a map. Yellow is Syrian Kurds, slightly darker yellow is Iraqi Kurds, grey is Islamic State (IS), every other color is irrelevant for purposes of this conversation.
Continue reading Syrian Kurds poised to start next stage of Greater Kurdistan?
An independent Kurdish state is becoming more likely to happen all the time.
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has voiced support for Kurdish statehood, taking a position that appears to clash with the US preference to keep sectarian war-torn Iraq united.
Pointing to the mayhem in Iraq, Netanyahu on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan as part of a broader alliance with moderate forces across the region…
I hope that the White House is prepared for the possibility. Because if it happens, it will happen fast.
Apparently the rules of the game have changed:
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurds of Iraq have the right to decide the future of their land, said Huseyin Celik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday.
“The Kurds of Iraq can decide for themselves the name and type of the entity they are living in,” Celik told Rudaw in an interview to be published soon.
The AKP is the party of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan under whom Ankara and Erbil have built strong economic and diplomatic relations.
In case Iraq gets partitioned, said Celik, “the Kurds, like any other nation, will have the right to decide their fate.”
To answer Ace of Spades’s question of why Turkey is doing this now: it’s because the Kurds are happy to sell things to Turks, like access to vacation facilities… and more importantly, oil. Lots and lots of oil. Under circumstances like that, arrangements can, as they say, be made.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: You may be asking yourself, If Turkey really is fine with an independent Kurdistan now, what’s going to stop the Kurds from taking away, say, Mosul from ISIS? That’s… an interesting question.
Well, isn’t this an interesting little article.
Years ago, the Kurds turned away from Baghdad to Ankara, in the hopes of finding a new regional champion. And, surprise surprise, in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they found such a partner. In a striking turnaround from 2007, when the Turks were so afraid of Kurdish secession they positioned 200,000 troops on the Kurdish border, Turkey has more recently embraced Kurdistan as a moderate partner and an important steady source of oil, as Turkey seeks to cement itself as the oil gateway from the Middle East to Europe.
Turkey doesn’t yet support Kurdish independence, but Erdogan has been making progress to normalize relations with his own Kurdish population in the south, freeing the head of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) resistance group and recognizing Kurdish as a language. The border, once lined with troops, is now open and flowing with goods and tourist traffic that moves both ways.
Translation: the Turks don’t care if the Kurds keep Kirkuk. And they very well might not care if the Kurds take Mosul, either. Or any other parts of Kurd-populated territories that aren’t in Turkey itself.