Middle East International Conference on Contemporary Scientific Studies VII, Bayrut, Lebanon, 3 - 04 March 2022, pp.10
The Syrian Kurds were a little-known ethnic group at the international plethora before the Syrian civil war (Gunter, 2014). However, the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in March 2011 have provided some unprecedented opportunities to Kurds compared to the situation before 2011 (Federici, 2015; Allsopp, 2015; 2013; Gunter, 2014). This study analyses the impact of developments within first five years of the Syrian civil war on the Kurds and conceptualizes the taken-for-granted opportunities in the context of the political opportunities. In doing so, the study applies the concept of the configuration of political opportunities and approaches these opportunities from the subjectivist perspective of the political opportunities in the literature on social movements. The subjectivist approach in the literature on the social movements underlines that opportunities can be seen as political opportunities not only when they make changes in the political environment that political actors operate but also when these opportunities are perceived by the political actors as well as rise their expectations of success or perceived goal attainment (Opp, 2009). In accordance with such conceptualisation, this study argues that there have been three critical opportunities which were perceived and regularly changed the goals and expectation of the success of the Syrian Kurds within the first five years of the civil war. They are the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, the withdrawal of the Syrian government forces from the northern quarters of the country with the start of Aleppo Battle in July 2012, and the Kobane siege of ISIS from September 2014 to March 2015. By seizing these opportunities, the little-known Syrian Kurds, particularly the PYD (Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat/Democratic Union Party), the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist organization, PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan/Kurdistan Workers’ Party), has become a political actor in Syria.
Political Opportunities, Syrian Civil War, Syrian Kurds, the PYD, ISIS