Having been dominated by the Syrian Arab state and overlooked by comparison with the more vociferous Kurds of Turkey and Iraq, in the last eighteen months the Kurds of Syria have displayed unprecedented conﬁdence in articulating their grievances towards the government.
Demonstrations, violent disturbances and the sustained outspokenness of Kurdish political parties have forced the authorities to consider Kurdish issues. Demands are currently modest but the government response is based on an intransigent hostility because meaningful concessions to Kurds could undermine the basic ideology of the Arab nationalist Ba’athist state.
The very existence of Kurds in Syria has been ofﬁcially denied. Hence the numbers and even the deﬁnition are debatable, but the likely population is around 1.75 million, roughly ten percent of the total and by some margin the largest ethnic minority.