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Kurdish refugees

The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic group of people of the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands what is now south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Syria, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and south-western Armenia. The mountainous area is populated by nearly 25 and 35 million Kurds. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East but have never acquired a permanent nation state.

Although the victorious Western allies after defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, three years later when the Treaty of Lausanne, defining the borders of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and Kurds were stranded with minority status in their respective countries. Kurds face longstanding state persecution in Turkey, including bans on the Kurdish language.

While Kurds in Syria have long faced state persecution there, numerous Kurdish security groups took over vast swaths of northern Syria during its civil war, operating against the Islamic State alongside U.S. The Kurdish militia gained the last piece of land controlled by the IS in Syria, near the village of Baghouz, in March 2019.

Today, even though they have no standard dialect, they form a distinctive group, unified by race, culture and language. While the majority are Sunni Muslims, they also belong to a variety of various religions and creeds. The Kurds also manage several camps for displaced families, in all holding tens of thousands of people, many of them the wives and children of IS fighters.

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