It was a time when, in a few short years, Syria’s Kurds were the country’s most powerful and diverse force in a region still struggling with its own independence from the Ottoman Empire.
The uprising that began in 2015 to overthrow the Assad regime was hailed as the world’s first democratic revolution, and its leaders called for the establishment of a pan-Arab, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious state, which they called Rojava.
In 2016, a year after the country became independent, the region began to break out of the countrys military dictatorship.
The revolution gained momentum and was largely followed by a series of regional and international political and social events.
Since then, Rojava has seen a massive upsurge in the number of refugees from Syria and neighbouring countries and the emergence of a Kurdish-dominated political party called the People’s Protection Units.
The region is a crossroads of ethnic and religious tensions.
The United States has expressed concern that the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, known as the Peoples Protection Units, is advancing towards the Turkish border and threatens Turkey’s Kurdish population.
Turkey, which has a history of being accused of supporting the PKK in Turkey, has responded with air strikes in support of the YPG and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, including the YPG in Kobane.
The United States and Turkey have also accused each other of supporting Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed group that has taken the offensive against ISIS in northern Iraq.
In response, the US and Turkey announced a ceasefire that took effect in October, but continued to use military force in the region and the regions Kurdish-majority areas, including Kobane, despite the truce.
The YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish militia, continues to use heavy weaponry and rockets against Kurdish targets in northern areas and is reportedly using civilians as human shields.
In recent weeks, however, the YPG has also become a key player in the conflict, with the group reportedly launching attacks on Turkish targets in the past month, and Turkish authorities have intensified their aerial bombardment of the group’s positions.
The US has also expressed concern over the increasing presence of Turkish special forces on the ground in Syria.
US military commanders have publicly acknowledged that the YPG, which the US considers an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is on the “front lines” in the Syrian conflict, and that the US has no plans to withdraw its military personnel from Syria.US officials have also warned that the SDF is planning on launching a counterattack on Kobane and other key Syrian Kurdish-held areas, where they believe they will eventually be able to launch a counteroffensive.
A number of international media outlets, including Reuters, have also reported that the Turkish government is targeting Kurdish fighters and civilians in northern parts of the Kurdish region.
A Turkish military spokesman has denied the reports, calling them “completely false”.
Turkey is a major contributor to the Syrian crisis and its actions have been linked to the rise of ISIS and the ongoing conflict.
Turkey has been bombing YPG positions in the north since 2015, and has reportedly carried out more than 40 air raids on Kurdish-controlled areas in recent months.
A large number of people were killed and hundreds wounded when Turkish forces opened fire on civilians in the northern city of Gaziantep in early November.
The attack reportedly took place when the SNC was conducting a military exercise and when a small number of Turkish soldiers were training with local forces.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the Turkish military has been engaged in a campaign of violence against Kurdish fighters, including attacks on civilians and opposition groups, and targeting of civilian infrastructure.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the US of supporting “terrorist organisations” and has said Turkey is willing to wage war against its neighbours.
Turkey is also embroiled in a long-running dispute with neighbouring Syria, where Ankara and its ally the Assad government have been at odds for years.
The Syrian government has accused Ankara of carrying out a failed coup attempt, and Turkey has retaliated by launching air strikes against the Syrian government, with a Turkish fighter jet recently hitting a Syrian air base and a Syrian government jet shot down in November.
Turkey and the United States have been trying to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict and, with recent developments, Turkey’s willingness to abandon its decades-old stance of supporting Syrian rebels has come into question.