Kurdish fighters in northern Syria
Kurdish fighters in northern SyriaReuters

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.