Kurds seek autonomy in a democratic Syria
As the fighting in Damascus and Aleppo intensifies, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's security forces have relinquished control of several Kurdish towns in order to concentrate on battling the rebels elsewhere.
Kurdish leaders claim they now control about 50% of the territory there, and warn they will take up arms against the regime if it tries to return. They say they want autonomy in a democratic Syria.
With a combined total of about 30 million, Kurds are one of the world's largest stateless people. In Syria, they make up just under 10% of the population.
Orla Guerin reports.