DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — “Can the three Kurdish cantons declared by the Democratic Union Party [PYD] in northern Syria be considered de facto united?” is the question of the day in northern Syria. Syrian Kurdish journalist Mustafa Abdi answers: “Yes. It happened.”
In the summer of 2012, Kurdish-populated areas close to the Turkish border in Syria’s north one by one came under the control of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The stretch of territory from the Iraqi border to Turkey’s Hatay province became controlled by the Kurds, but not as a contiguous geographical entity. Some said Bashar al-Assad's regime had withdrawn from the region and handed it over to the Kurds. Kurds said they had captured it themselves. Turkey wasn’t interested in how it was done but in what it would become.