The Kurds in Syria: The Forgotten People
The Kurdish question is one determining the rights of a group of more than 30 million people, a group that is predicted to become the third largest national group in the Middle East. Comprising the world’s largest stateless nation, the Kurds are a people whose population and lands form a contiguous geographical area divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria with smaller numbers in the former Soviet Union.
Kurdish issues are not widely discussed or written about and existing literature has focused mainly on the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq. The plight of the large Kurdish population in these countries is relatively well-known due to the extent of the atrocities committed against them, their resort to armed struggle, and their international involvement in determining the political future of Iraq and Turkey’s future status within the European Union. Whilst moderate attention has been given to the position of Kurds resident in Iran, there has been even less consideration for the Kurds in Syria. As must be acknowledged, this situation is somewhat explicable, not least because researchers face many diffi culties in trying to obtain information on the subject of Kurds in Syria. Another underlying cause is that in comparison to other countries with Kurdish populations, the Kurdish population in Syria is relatively small, making the issues faced by their population ostensibly less vital to studies of Kurdish issues.