Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk as the army flees before an Islamist offensive nearby. "The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga," Kurdish spokesman Jabbar Yawar told Reuters. "No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now." Kurdish fighters are seen as a bulwark against Sunni Muslim insurgents.
Following a series of military gains, Syrian Kurds in the northeast of the country announced on Tuesday the formation of a transitional autonomous government. The latest declaration comes amid a general strengthening of Kurdish rights in neighboring Turkey, and increasing moves towards independence by Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. Long oppressed under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Kurds view the civil war as an opportunity to gain the kind of autonomy enjoyed by their ethnic kin in neighboring Iraq. The announcement was made after talks in the mostly-Kurdish town of Qamishli, and comes after Kurdish leaders announced plans to create the temporary government in July.Intra-Kurdish rivalries pose a major danger to the autonomy holding. Turkey, which repeatedly has taken military action against Kurdish separatists (resulting in world silence, unlike when Israel defends itself against outside attack), is not pleased:
Why not? The Kurds out number Palestinians several times over, and unlike Palestinians, have a real ethnic and cultural distinction from surrounding Arabs (and in Turkey, Turks). But for Europeans drawing lines on maps and Turkish national ambitions, there should have been an independent nation for...
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