The Kurds have been a third side to the Syrian civil war since the beginning. While the majority of the conflict appears to be turning primarily into a Sunni-Shi’a slugging match, with overtones of proxy war between Iran and Russia on one side and Saudi Arabia and Qatar (with some half-hearted support from the West–SecState Kerry just declared that “Any solution to the Syrian problem had to involve the international community and could not involve Assad.”) on the other, the Kurds have consistently taken all comers, with an attitude that can best be described as, “Leave us the hell alone.”
There are close to 30 million Kurds spread across northern Syria, northern Iraq, southern Turkey, and western Iran. They are the largest ethnic group without a homeland in the world. In the 1990s, the Kurds in northern Iraq, with the aid of the Coalition no-fly zone, began to develop their own autonomy, in what is now known as Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Regional Government is functionally now its own country, although it is still officially recognized as part of Iraq.
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