Syrian Kurdish Political Activism: A Social Movement Theory Perspective

Wietse van den Berge


Syrian Kurdish politics is complex. While the political parties appear rather similar in terms of their goals, fierce inter-party rivalry exists, nonetheless. Shedding some light on Syrian Kurdish politics using Social Movement Theory as a theoretical framework, this article deals with how and why Syrian Kurds choose a specific political party. Interviews with Syrian Kurdish political activists in Iraqi Kurdistan provide the data. The interviews point out that a striking cleavage exists: Respondents sympathizing with the dominant political party preferred social equality, while interviewees belonging to other parties have a preference for non-violence.


Syria; Kurds; Political Parties; PYD; KNC

Full Text:



Wietse van den Berge is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Terrorism and Counter-terrorism of Leiden University in The Netherlands. His subject concerns political violence in contemporary Middle East, focusing on minorities such as Syria’s Kurds. email: