Fighters from the Kurdish YPG faction have attacked and killed six Syrian soldiers today, saying it was “retaliation” for three Kurds killed in a previous attack, and promising further moves in the Syrian military does not stop targeting Kurds.
The fighting reflects the ongoing struggle of Syria’s Kurdish minority to stay on the sidelines of the ongoing Syrian civil war and even establish themselves as a distinct third force outside of both rebel and regime.
Longstanding acrimony between the Assad regime and the Kurds had many rebels assuming they could count on their support. The Arab nationalist sentiments of the rebels, along with the Turkish government’s involvement in propping them up, has left the Kurds suspicious of them as well.
It will be difficult for the Kurds to maintain this sort of autonomy going forward, particularly as fighting is increasingly centered around Kurdistan and the surrounding area. With Turkey threatening unilateral attacks against Syrian Kurdistan, however, they may find themselves in an entirely distinct war of their own.