Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
I agree with some of the scientists who wrote to Nature from nations experiencing civil unrest: instability can wreck educational and research infrastructure (Nature576, 382–384; 2019). Several civil wars over the past half-century have certainly done so in Kurdistan — the geographical region divided between Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. The continuing conflict against the Islamist terrorist group ISIS and Turkey is making matters worse. And civil war now looms in Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.