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BEIRUT, Lebanon – A Kurdish group linked to separatists fighting against Turkey is in northern Syria, prompting Ankara to threaten direct military intervention into Syria to eliminate them, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
With the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battling for its survival, the Kurds, who have been largely unaffected by the turmoil there, see an opportunity to create their own independent state, or at least have the autonomy that Kurds in northern Iraq now enjoy.
Since 1991, the Iraqi Kurds have lived in an autonomous region of northern Iraq with their own provincial government and armed forces, even though they still rely on Baghdad for their budget.
Turkey has sought out the Iraqi Kurds due to oil reserves in the region and has decided that it wants to play a more prominent role in Iraq, something which the Shi’ite government of Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki is concerned about, as is neighboring Shi’ite Iran.
However, the Kurds in northern Syria have been cooperating with the Syrian Democratic Union Party, or PYD, which are tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK which has been fighting a separatist battle in Turkey for the past 28 years.
The PYD has tended to side with the al-Assad regime, just as Syrian Kurds have sided with the PKK. These developments have Turkey concerned, prompting speculation that Ankara could use the Kurdish angle as a basis for intervention in Syria.
Turkey’s motive is to stop the prospect of the Kurds carving out an independent Kurdistan state, drawing on Kurds from Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran to form this independent country. There are significant numbers of Kurds in all of these countries.
Not only would it affect the northern portions of Syria and northern portions of Iraq and Iran but also the southeastern portion of Turkey as well, to which Ankara is vehemently opposed.
Because the al-Assad regime has basically turned the Kurds loose to create these additional problems for Turkey, which wants the Syrian president removed, the Kurdish issue for Turkey has become a major problem, prompting the talk about moving Turkish troops into northern Syria.
Just as Turkey wants to get on more friendly terms with the Iraqi Kurds because of its need for oil, there may be another issue driving Ankara to act in northern Syria – Syrian Kurds happen to occupy land there that is the base for much of Syria’s indigenous oil production.
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