The Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD), a PKK-linked opposition party in Syria, has been fighting with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) for awhile, and now seems to be locking horns with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front as well, as rebels look to expand in Syria’s east.
Syria’s east is also Kurdistan’s west, however, and the PYD is reportedly in talks with long-standing rivals the Kurdish Azadi Party about the potential of uniting against the common threat of rebel incursion.
For Syrian rebel factions, the effort to take over the oil-rich east is about cementing their hold on one of the largest contiguous areas they have in a deeply contested nation, and a particularly oil-rich region, which the regime relies on for revenue.
They assumed it would be easy with the Syrian military having very little presence, and far from their major supply lines. Yet while they are expanding, this Kurdish alliance may be a more dangerous enemy in this specific region, and insurgent factions could find themselves trying to deal with their own insurgents in captured territory.
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