Turkey Won’t Tolerate Kurdish Autonomy in Syria

Recent Gains by Kurdish Militias Fuel Fears of 'Autonomous Region'

On-again, off-again fighting between Syrian rebel factions and Kurdish militias have increasingly been going in favor of the Kurds, with a large portion of Syria’s northeast, which is mostly Kurdish to begin with, now under the control of those militias.

That’s got Turkish officials foaming at the mouth about the risk of an “autonomous region” being formed along the Syrian border, and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc saying Turkey would never tolerate such a move.

Ironically Turkey is in many ways responsible for this turn of events, with the Erdogan government cheerfully backing Syrian rebels on the assumption that the “Arab nationalist” rebels would crack down more heavily on the Kurds than Assad was willing to.

Both the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaeda factions in Syria have repeatedly clashed with Kurdish factions, trying to encroach into the Kurdish areas where the Assad government had little to no influence. It hasn’t gone nearly as well as Turkey would have hoped, however, and an autonomous Western Kurdistan seems increasingly a foregone conclusion.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.