Members of the Free Syrian Army gather as gunfire is heard between them and the armed Kurds of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, November 25, 2012.

commentary

(CNN)

Is Turkey Rethinking the Syrian Kurd Issue?

photo by Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

by F. Stephen Larrabee

August 21, 2013

The dynamics of the Syrian crisis have been shifting. Reports that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have pushed back a rebel offensive near the mountainous area of his Alawite hometown are but the latest indicator of how the president has regained the initiative in the country's bloody civil war.

But while international attention has tended to focus on central and southern Syria, developments in the northeast, along the border with Turkey, are also worth watching as ethnic Kurds appear bent on carving out an autonomous administrative region that could eventually develop its own ties with Ankara. And it's a move that could be good news not just for Turkey, but for the United States, too....

The remainder of this commentary can be found at cnn.com.


F. Stephen Larrabee holds the Distinguished Chair in European Security at the Rand Corporation, and served on the National Security Council staff in the Carter administration.

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on August 21, 2013. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.