Assessments

Syria's Kurds Are a Means to Others' Ends

Jun 2, 2016 | 15:16 GMT
A Kurdish fighter inspects a prison in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on April 22. The Kurds are playing a central role in the Syrian conflict as Russia, the United States and Turkey try to use the minority group to meet their own goals.

A Kurdish fighter inspects a prison in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on April 22. The Kurds are playing a central role in the Syrian conflict as Russia, the United States and Turkey try to use the minority group to meet their own goals.

(DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the zone of conflict spreading across Syria, Iraq and Turkey, the Kurds are once again at the center of attention. In spite of Moscow's ties to the al Assad government, Russia has been cultivating connections with numerous Kurdish factions and, possibly, supplying them with arms. The United States has also been providing air support for several of the same factions for some time. Russian and U.S. assistance for these groups has, in turn, worried Turkey, which is concerned about the calls for autonomy coming from its own Kurdish minority. As the three powers continue to try to use the Kurds for their own ends, the embattled minority group will try to play them off of one another to further its own goals....

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