The same was said of Iraqi Kurdistan, but they are still the most reliable and moderate partner the US has in either country. The Kurds also won’t give up what little freedom they have earned themselves easily.
It will be small steps to eventual true self-governance. The Syrian civil war will lead to another Kurdish semi-autonomous zone, if not the ultimate breaking up of Syria along ethnic lines. The Syrian ethnic minority groups, who have found protection and safety with the Syrian Kurds are another factor. They will not easily go back to the old system, or risk the persecution that their brethren found in democratic Iraq.
The Syrian Alawites can also see the end game,and it doesn’t bode well for minority groups. Those historically that have thrived in a dictatorship; to be thrusted suddenly into a democracy find a lot of resentment and petty revenge. Do you believe that the Syrian Alawites will allow what happened to the Iraqi Sunnis to happen to them?
The Kurds have earned the admiration and sympathy of a significant amount of people in a significant amount of counties. The US is not their only benefactor, but it is one that admires a heroic underdog story. A small persecuted group of rebels fighting for eventual independence, while also actively protecting “the huddled masses yearning to be free”. It’s been the basis for some of the most beloved stories in American pop culture, and is not something that is easily tossed aside.