The Kurdish factor in the Syrian revolution

Eva Savelsberg


In the beginning of the revolution, Kurdish youth has played a relevant role in the setting of an agenda in which “democracy” and “dignity” became keywords. However, traditional political parties and forces (e.g., the PYD/PKK and the KNC) currently dominate the political scene. Whilst the KNC has been successful in assimilating independent youth activists to their own political agenda, the PYD and their militias dominate the KNC. Both the KNC and PYD have acted as obstacles rather than as driving forces for democratization. Five decades of Baʿthist rule obviously undermined the significance of the Kurdish political parties as an alternative to the existing political system. Thus far, neither PYD nor KNC has developed a meaningful agenda for the Syrian Kurds after the revolution.

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