A Kurdish flag flies again in north-eastern Syria
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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.

  • 16 Aug 2012