"As regional dynamics and alliances shift, the fighting in this previously obscure city could undermine the Obama administration’s campaign—of which the Kurds are a key component—to degrade and destroy Islamic State. It also risks bringing the US into a more direct confrontation with Syria in defence of its Kurdish allies and American personnel based alongside them," Fazel Hawramy writes for the Guardian.
"When the Syrian protest movement started in 2011, it was young Kurds in Amouda, in the north of the country, who took to the streets, calling for freedom and democracy. President Bashar al-Assad soon announced he would recognise some of the rights demanded by the Kurds and allowed them to register as citizens and hold an identify card, a right they have been deprived of since 1962. But the Kurds rejected the concessions, saying they would wait to get their rights once all Syrians achieved freedom and democracy. Five years on the scene is different. As the war has dragged on in Syria, Kurdish groups have taken the opportunity to gain more power," Lina Sinjab writes for the BBC.
"In many ways, Syria’s Kurds today appear to be reliving what their Iraqi counterparts experienced at the end of the Gulf War in 1991: the same economic desolation; the same combination of military control and security provided by rebel Kurdish parties that are prized for their ability to maintain law and order but enjoy only lukewarm local support; the same deep relief that a hated regime no longer has much say in their affairs; in both cases, a measure of unexpected support from the US; the same upswell of hope now that they are finally achieving some autonomy; and the same nagging fear that an oppressive central government—whether the current one in Damascus or a future incarnation—will return to impose its will," Joost Hilterman writes for the New York Review of Books.