Kurdish fighters have emerged as a powerful player in the Syrian war thanks to the Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG - “People's Protection Units”), a seemingly well-organised armed group which has so far proved capable of defending the territory it claims in northern Syria.
New and unexpected strains in Washington’s ties with two of its closest Middle Eastern allies -- Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- have underlined the difficult challenges the administration of President Barack Obama faces in navigating its way in the region’s increasingly treacherous and turbulent waters.
Turkey’s new democratisation reform package may mark a step forward for civil rights, but it does not go far enough to ease social tension and feelings of mistrust that are afflicting the country, analysts say.
People run back home at dusk, just when the shooting intensifies. To Sha Mehmed the experience is familiar. He was 11 when he left his native Afghan village to settle in this small Turkish town on the border with Syria.
U.S. President Barack Obama indicated Friday he would soon conduct what he called "very limited" military action against Syria to punish its alleged use of chemical weapons which, according to the White House, killed more than 1,400 people in several Damascus suburbs last week.
"The Islamists’ announcement that god supported the killing of Kurds in Syria made us react," recalls Farouk Aziz Khadir. This 60-year-old Iraqi Kurd is ready to take up arms to defend his kin in the neighbouring war-torn country. And there are many more like him.
"I witnessed a Turkish tank made in Germany destroying a Kurdish village. Civilians, children included, were wounded, and many were taking shelter inside a besieged church,” said Media, the German nurse who has become legendary in the Kurdish mountains of northern Iraq and is known here only by this name.
The rise of the "global middle class" is widely attributed to the gradual eradication of extreme poverty in the developing world, even as the United Nations says that millions of people in countries such as India, China and Brazil have graduated from the ranks of the indigent.
Among the many issues bringing protestors together at Gezi Park, the now-iconic site of struggle in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, is the demand for women’s liberation.
Even as Istanbul residents celebrated the reopening of Gezi Park, the small green space in the centre of this city that sparked anti-government protests throughout Turkey last month, another demolition and another demonstration were busy getting underway.
During the decades when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was a barely tolerated opposition party, it campaigned against the reigning secular autocrats under the banner “Islam is the solution.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay have advised “maximum restraint” following media reports of a violent police crackdown on peaceful protestors in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
A ban on political and even social gatherings, a bar on Kurdish language and culture; uprooting people, forced disappearances and a ‘caste’ of hundreds of thousands of local Kurds deprived of citizenship... life for Kurds in pre-war Syria was probably as dire as it is today for their kin in Iran.
Kseniya Sobchak, a well-known Russian political activist and social butterfly, is an outspoken critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. But, curiously, she seems to be taking a much softer line on Azerbaijan’s authoritarian-minded ruler, Ilham Aliyev.
Now approaching its third week, the "Occupy Taksim" movement, a peaceful sit-in to save Istanbul's Gezi Park from redevelopment, has taken on a festival-like atmosphere, with protesters organising to stand guard around the clock, provide uninterrupted food and water supplies, and carry out a self-initiated cleaning of the grounds.