Blank Maps: Accidentally Stateless, part two: A Kurdish voice from Syria

By Tala El-Issa

Syrian-Kurdish children in Turkey after fleeing ISIS. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kurdish residents in northern Syria have been without Syrian citizenship since a 1962 survey stripped them of their rights. By 2011, approximately 300,000 Syrian Kurds were living without citizenship. Syrian Kurds spent many years demanding their citizenship. Until 2011, these demands went unanswered. A month after anti-regime protests erupted, President Assad issued a decree granting Kurds the opportunity to become Syrian citizens.

To many, it seemed the regime was simply wielding their citizenship as a political weapon to rope in their support. This left many Kurds wondering what were the benefits of citizenship amidst a war that had driven millions of Syrians from their country.

We spoke with Aradalan, a Syrian Kurd, to learn more about his and his father’s lives before and after the Syrian regime granted them citizenship.