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Syrian Kurds Declare Autonomy

After months of fighting, northeastern Syria makes official split to Kurdish autonomy.

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Maayana Miskin,

Kurdish fighters in northern Syria
Kurdish fighters in northern Syria
Reuters

Kurds in northeastern Syria have officially announced the creation of an autonomous Kurdish government in the region.

The move follows a series of military victories against Islamist rebel groups. Kurdish leaders announced plans to create an autonomy in July, but were delayed by heavy fighting with Al-Nusra and other Al-Qaeda linked rebel armies, which also sought control of the northeast.

The government that was revealed Tuesday will be a transitional government tasked with forming a civil administration for the region and preparing for elections.

The move to an autonomy is another step in a trend toward growing Kurdish political independence across the Middle East. Regional upheaval has fueled calls by Kurdish groups for autonomy.

The Kurds are the largest indigenous Middle Eastern nation without a state. Kurds make up an estimated 15% of Syria’s population.

Kurds in Iraq currently enjoy autonomy, with their own police and armed forces. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has pushed for Kurdish rights in Turkey, but recently agreed to a ceasefire with the Turkish government.

The autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq touches northeastern Syria, giving Kurds a contiguous autonomy across the two countries.