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This article is for the Greater Region. For the independent republic in the South, see Republic of Kurdistan.

Kurdish-inhabited area by CIA (1992) box inset removed

Kurdish-inhabited areas

(Kurdish: "Homeland of the Kurds" or "Land of the Kurds"; also formerly spelled Curdistan; ancient name: Corduene) or Greater Kurdistan, is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population, and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based. Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.

Current usage of the term usually refers to four parts of a Greater Kurdistan, including the independent Republic of Kurdistan (Southern Kurdistan), northwest Iran (Eastern Kurdistan), southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan) and northern Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan).


The Kurds are first mentioned in the 7th century A.D. and have lived in these areas for over 1300 years. Since World War I with the fall of the Ottoman Empire a desire for independence and their own Kurdish state arose but was denied at the time and until 2013 there was heavy guerrilla fighting by the Kurds to gain independence.

It is only recently with the dramatic rise of ISIS that the Kurds have gained both notoriety and a degree of autonomy. They suddenly found their areas in much of Iraq and Syria unoccupied by government troops and facing a dangerous enemy alone, and so they fought hard against them stopping much of their significant advances.

On June 15th 2015 Alexander Salmond, the current First Minister of Scotland and the man said to be most likely to be Prime Minister of it, declared that he would recognize Kurdistan if elected as he sympathized with their struggle. This brought the issue of Kurdistan to the forefront of world politics and gave Alexander Salmond very easy solution to Syria as an issue. Many other politicians around the world in an attempt to provide an easy solution to ISIS agreed although no country recognized them.

On 24 November the Turks shot down a Russian jet for violating their airspace. Putin was irate and angry at the actions of Turkey and determined to bite back, but was offered a solution by a member of his cabinet, who had seen American politicians talking about Kurdistan. They gave Putin the suggestion to back Kurdistan as a country.

On 21 December, after four days of negotiation, Putin came out of a meeting with the Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish leaders as they all jointly declared Kurdistan a state. Several oil and mining companies then made deals with the Peshmerga which gave them enough money to take out loans from Russian banks to buy weapons to fight with.

Iraqi T-72 tanks

Peshmerga T-72s heading towards Mosul

The cause of Kurdistan came to light very much when the Peshmerga on the 8th March 2016 using Russian equipment, such as T-72s and 2A65-Msta-Bs, launched a major assault and retook Tal Afar from ISIL. By the 9th they had secured offensive positions around the city, and on the 10th they besieged the city. On the 14th, Major gains were made by the Peshmerga, pushing ISIL forces to the centre of the city.

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