At first glance, Syrian Kurds have benefited from their country’s ongoing crisis. In just one year, they have gained international recognition, accessed organizational support and asserted some territorial control. The revolutionary climate also has helped advance Syrian Kurdish claims to their group rights, which focus on autonomy in a federal Syria state.
Yet, a deeper look at the shifting dynamics of the Syrian upheaval reveals a more uncertain scenario for the Kurds. The continuing crisis has reinforced power struggles between Kurdish factions, heightened the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgency and encouraged growing political tensions inside Iraqi Kurdistan. These threats will further check regional support for Syrian Kurds — outside the PKK — making their future prospects dependent upon pacts with groups inside the Syrian state.