Will Turkey invade Syria to combat the 'Kurdish threat'?
With Bashar al Assad looking less and less legitimate, Syrians are considering what could happen once the dictator is toppled. Many believe the prolonged fighting has exaggerated sectarian divisions in Syrian society and, with Assad gone, civil war will be unavoidable.
The president is a member of the Shia Alawite sect and despite a number of Alawis joining the revolution, most Syrians consider sect members to be regime supporters. Assad is blamed for oppressing Sunnis and minorities like Christians and Kurds in Syria for decades.
But the division between Sunni and Alawi is not the only one to have emerged. They have kept a low profile for the first year of fighting but now the Kurds of Syria are taking a bigger role in the conflict.
This week they took the areas around Ayn al Arab on the border with Turkey. Kurds have declared these regions ‘autonomous’ and are preparing to group together a separate Kurdish area with its own government.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is attempting to remove opposition groups from this region and in turn in getting support from Damascus: a marriage of convenience for now.
Other Kurdish groups do not agree with this model but Turkey is already fearful that such a base exists close to their border and could potentially launch an attack on their territory.
Syria-watchers are now saying they fear a Sunni backlash in the form of Sharia law enforcement or an official call for Muslim Jihad (holy war.)
The more immediate reaction, though, could be Turkish troops sent into Syria to combat what they see as the Kurdish problem: something Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has so far refused to do in support of the Syrian opposition.
What do you think about Kurds establishing autonomous regions of Syria? Will Turkey invade? Tell us what you think below.
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