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The Kurds’ involvement in the conflict in Syria is complicated, because of the group’s troubled history that spreads across several regional borders. Here is a look at the current Kurdish crisis and how it came to be.
Who are the Kurds?
The Kurds are one of the indigenous people of the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands, areas that today are contained within southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, and southwestern Armenia.
Estimated at between 25 million and 35 million people, the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East. They form a distinctive community, united through race, culture, and language, and while most of them are Sunni Muslims, they also adhere to a number of different religions and creeds, including Christians, Jews, Yazidis, and Zoroastrians.
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They are considered the largest ethnic group in the world to be stateless.
Why don’t they have a country?
After World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres for the formation of a Kurdish state, to be known as Kurdistan. But their hopes were dashed three years later when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in four countries — Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was quashed.
After the first Gulf War, followed by a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq and the establishment of a no-fly zone, the Kurds managed to establish a semiautonomous region. The second Gulf War, which ousted Saddam Hussein, enabled them to consolidate those gains in a largely autonomous region across northern Iraq. In recent years, the fight against the Islamic State terror group has presented an opportunity for the Kurds to further project legitimacy on the international stage.
What is their role in the war against Islamic State?
Kurds in both Iraq and Syria were involved in the fight against IS. Thousands of Kurds were killed in battles. Their role in helping to eliminate the IS caliphate earned them a global reputation as one of the most effective ground forces against the terror group.
In September 2014, IS launched an assault on the enclave around the northern Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee across the nearby Turkish border. In January 2015, after a battle that left at least 1,600 people dead, Kurdish forces regained control of Kobani.
The Kurds — fighting under the name of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alongside several local Arab militias, and helped by U.S.-led coalition airpower — drove IS out of a large swath of territory in Syria and established control over a large area along the border with Turkey.
What has been happening with the Kurds since the U.S. policy change in Syria?
U.S. President Donald Trump followed through on his desire to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria on Oct. 6, 2019, after first ordering a withdrawal in December 2018. The pullout allowed Turkish troops and their proxies to launch a military offensive in the region on Oct. 9 against a Kurdish-led militia that had helped the U.S. fight the Islamic State.
Trump’s decision has fueled concerns that the Turkish offensive would result in the annihilation of the Kurds and the release of some 11,000 Islamic State militants imprisoned in the area. A week after the Trump announcement, Turkey and its proxies had seized more than 194 square kilometers of previously Kurdish-led territory. Amnesty International has charged that the Turkish army and its proxies have committed war crimes during the operation; Turkey denies it.
Instability in the region could benefit Islamic State. Although Kurdish-led rebels fought back, especially in border towns, they are no longer capable of neutralizing holdover militant cells. Kurdish authorities, however, have permitted Syrian troops to return to large areas of northern Syria for the first time in more than five years. It is not clear that the Syrian army will defend the area or that the Kurds will have civilian authority.
The U.S. withdrawal also allows Russia and Iran to increase their influence in the region. Russia has become the primary power broker in talks between the Kurds, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the Turkish government. The Kurds run more than a dozen camps that hold tens of thousands of displaced people. The offensive may displace tens of thousands of others who are fleeing southward to escape the violence.
There are about 6.7 million Syrian refugees and another 6.2 million people within the country who have been displaced, according to the global anti-poverty group World Vision.
1923 — Turkey is recognized as an independent nation. Under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey is no longer required to grant Kurdish autonomy. The Kurdish population is divided among Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
1978 — Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is founded to fight for Kurdish independence in Turkey.
1991 — Encouraged by the U.S. after the Gulf War, Iraq’s Kurds rebel against then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. During Saddam’s rule, hundreds of thousands of Kurds had been killed or disappeared.
1993 — Turkey does not recognize Kurdish rights, and Kurdish political parties remained banned. Martial law is imposed to subdue uprisings.
2007 — Turkey launches ground and aerial attacks against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan, while Iran attacks Kurdish rebel bases.
2011 & 2012 — Turkish attacks against the PKK continue.
2015 — In March, PKK co-founder Abdullah Ocalan declares a cease-fire and orders the removal of Kurdish fighters from Turkey. Six months later, the cease-fire collapses.
2015 — U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), strongly supported by Kurdish fighters, are formed as part of a campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Syria.
2016-2017 — The SDF secures decisive victories in key Islamic State strongholds, including the Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa.
2019 — The SDF seizes the town of Baghouz on March 19, a victory the U.S. said marked the end of the Islamic State’s rule in the region.
2019 — U.S. President Donald Trump announces on Oct. 6 the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, allowing Turkey to conduct its own military operations in the territory.
2019 — On Oct. 9, Turkish troops and their proxies launch a military offensive in the region against the SDF.
2019 — On Oct. 17, Turkey agrees to a U.S.-brokered cease-fire deal, whereby Ankara agrees to temporarily suspend its military operation in Syria to allow Kurdish forces to retreat from a designated safe zone.
Note — Before 2011, Kurds in Syria had no rights and were considered second-class citizens. Most of them were denied citizenship. (VOA/SP)
By Prerana Agarwal Saxena
In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment. While everyone is making their big fat Indian wedding dreams come true, they are also adding their carbon footprint and undue energy consumption. Modern couples are now looking for ways to have a wedding with a sustainably conscious mindset. It's become about incorporating less waste, locally sourced and seasonal food, natural materials over the use of plastic. Mindful wedding planning and decor includes the use of recycled paper and goods along with eco-friendly venue needs. Check out this quick guide to achieve a sustainably conscious wedding without compromising on luxury:
Choose locally sourced material to uplift artisans
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. With the use of locally sourced materials and local artisans coming into play, the wedding instantly becomes sustainable. Include the work of local vendors ensure minimal packaging requirements, thus saving on unnecessary plastic and lamination. It also decreases the need for transporting elements from other cities and hence lowers the carbon footprint. For instance, at one of our weddings, we made use of sand art for a setup in Jodhpur. This helped promote local work while also being environmentally friendly with zero wastage of other materials. In another instance from Rajasthan, the traditional glass-blown technique was used to build decor items while giving a cultural touch to the destination wedding.
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. | Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash
Say yes to recycling
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. It can be a small step such as making a conscious switch from plastic water bottles to copper jugs or glass bottles. Also use artificial floral decor thus minimising the wastage produced from real flowers. This recyclable decor is then donated to various NGOs, further ensuring sustainable use of resources. Such steps, however small they might be, keep the environment free from the release of any additional carbon footprint.
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. | Photo by Ravin Rau on Unsplash
Go for zero-waste wedding decor
Make use of fabric as it enhances the elegance of the wedding while being sustainable. Include vibrant colours apt to the theme of the wedding and bring in bright sprightliness with breathable fabrics. Ensure to include LED lights for lighting. They can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. They also help conserve energy and bring in soulful energy for nighttime decor. Choose virtual invitations, keeping up with the digital times. Make a conscious choice of plated dinner menus rather than a buffet as they allow less wastage of food and ensure enough food for guests in attendance.
LEDs can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Include Sustainable Gifting
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. Offering a plant or a succulent, is a great idea. One can also gift recycled organic fabrics and cutlery or zero-waste kitchen and bathroom essentials to use in their homes as some distinct gifting options.
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. | Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Acting in the best interest of the environment and the society, Theme Weavers Designs has started a social cause, Weaving Hope, where a part of their earnings along with food and decor are donated to social communities. Royal Rendezvous, is an event started by us to put India on the Global Map, inviting international wedding planners to India to experience the rich culture and heritage, also employing and displaying the work of local artisans to this international audience.
By applying the values of sustainability, you can reduce the energy consumed and the resources used as much as possible. Go ahead and have a luxurious zero-waste wedding and navigate into the world of green living! (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Luxurious , Gift, sustainable, wedding favours, gifts that grow. Gifting, recycling, locally sourced, material. zero-waste
The Tamil Nadu health department has administered 16,43,879 lakh doses of vaccine in the second mega vaccination camp organised by it. The state public health department in a statement on Sunday said that this has taken the total vaccination to one crore since the beginning of September till date. The vaccination was administered from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. and the compiled data was made available late at night.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. Regular vaccination will resume after the vaccine supplies arrive from New Delhi, officials said. The state health department had expected to vaccinate 15 lakh people on Sunday in 18,824 centres spread across primary health centres, anganwadis, noon meal centres, government hospitals, schools and some auditoriums.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. | Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash
Of the 16,43,879 people who were inoculated, a total of 10,85,097 received their first dose and 5,58,782 their second dose of vaccine, the statement said, A total of 9,66,568 people in the age group of 18-44 were vaccinated on Sunday and vaccines were administered on 5,02,578 people aged between 45- 59 in the mega vaccine camps.
State health minister Ma Subramanian, who inaugurated the vaccination at Pollachi, also visited the centres in six districts -- Coimbatore, Erode, Namakkal, Tiruppur, Dharmapuri and Salem. The state government, according to the health minister, is to receive the next allotment of vaccines on September 21. Minister while speaking to IANS said, "We will be receiving the next allotment of vaccines on September 21 itself and we will resume vaccinations immediately. The state has already touched one crore vaccine-mark in the month of September till date." (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: COVID, vaccine, vaccination camp, Tamil Nadu, India, vaccinated, mega camp
Festivals are just around the corner and while you brainstorm about OOTDs (outfit of the day), don't forget the right makeup. Hanisha Kapoor, COO, ArchiesBeauty.com shares makeup trends experimented by these Bollywood divas throughout 2021 for inspiration. While some stuck to the classics, others mixed it up... take a look:
The Classic Red Lip
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. The right way to achieve this celebrity look is to focus on accentuating your lips and keeping the rest of the face minimal. Give your lips a good scrub to plump them, moisturize and follow it up with a red lip liner to define the shape of your lips. Now go on with the perfect shade of red and finish your look with a slick of eyeliner, minimal concealer, and foundation.
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. | Photo by Ina Garbé on Unsplash
No Makeup Look
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look. This natural beauty does a wonderful job of achieving the minimal soft look by softly cover any dark spots or blemishes and highlighting features she's most proud of. To achieve this start with concealer and use small dots to brighten your darker areas like under eye, corner of the nose or upper lip, and any visible spots, and set it up with loose powder. Apply a soft pink lipstick, light blush, and mascara.
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look | Wikimedia Commons
This look shouts pink. When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. Everyone should try a rosy look once in a while. As we are focusing on only one shade, this look is pretty easy to achieve. Bring out your favourite pink lipstick, favourite pink blush, and a matching shade of eye shadow. Start with the base - concealer, and foundation and set it up with loose powder. Follow it up with eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush. Remember to draw a line by not using any pink mascara, eyeliner, or a bold shade of lipstick, as this is meant to be soft on the eyes.
When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. | Wikimedia Commons
Glass Skin Makeup
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. This look is slightly complex with an equal focus on skin before makeup, so slather on those moisturizing serums and creams to prep your skin first. Start with a highlighting primer, keep your foundation and concealer minimal to avoid looking cakey. Follow it up with soft blush & nude lips and lots and lots of highlighter. Use the highlighter on the main points of your face, like upper cheekbones, the centre of the forehead, the tip of the nose, cupid bone, and chin. If you are feeling a bit extra, don't hesitate to put some on your shoulders and collar bones. This celebrity makeup look makes your skin glow without the need for a spotlight.
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. | Photo by 邱 严 on Unsplash
Pop It Up
Put a zing to your party look with the pop of funky colour. This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. This works with your eye makeup while keeping the rest of the face minimal. Start with the base - concealer, apply a bit extra on your eyelids to make the colour pop. Don't mind going the extra mile and colour blocking your eyes with complementary colours on eyelids and under the eye. Apply nude lipstick and a soft blush to balance your look.
This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. | Pixabay
(Article originally published by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Celebrity, makeup, Deepika, Jhanavi, Korean, Red Lipstick, Glass Makeup, Pop makeup