-Kurds in Syria have been denied basic social, cultural, and political rights, in many cases stemming from the Syrian state’s refusal to grant citizenship.

-Kurdish political opposition in Syria is fractured. Though some join Kurds in other countries in calling for the emergence of a separate Kurdish state, many Kurds reject separatism and have generally been committed to peaceful democratic struggle.

-Democratic reforms in Syria that improve the human rights situation for Kurds and non-Kurds could go a long way to alleviate the tension between the Kurds and the Syrian state.

-The problems that Syrian Kurds face cannot be truly solved without an effort both to improve the human rights of Kurds throughout the region and to foster their political inclusion in their states of residency.

-The United States and European Union should use any diplomatic tools at their disposal to promote appropriate reforms in Syria and the region.

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Syria’s Kurds History, Politics and Society
By Jordi Tejel

This book is a decisive contribution to the study of Kurdish history in Syria since the mandatory period (1920-1946) up to nowadays.

Avoiding an essentialist approach, Jordi Tejel provides fine, complex and sometimes paradoxical analysis about the articulation between tribal, local, regional, and national identities, on one hand, and the formation of a Kurdish minority awareness vis-à-vis the consolidation of Arab nationalism in Syria, on the other hand.

Using unpublished material, in particular concerning the Mandatory period (French records and Kurdish newspapers) and social movement theory, Tejel analyses the reasons of this "exception" within the Kurdish political sphere. In spite of the exclusion of Kurdishness from the public sphere, especially since 1963, Kurds of Syria have avoided a direct confrontation with the central power, most Kurds opting for a strategy of "dissimulation", cultivating internally the forms of identity that challenge the official ideology. The book explores the dynamics leading to the consolidation of Kurdish minority awareness in contemporary Syria; an ongoing process that could take the form of radicalization or even violence.

 

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