JUST like the Scots, the Kurds enjoy a bit of a knees-up at New Year. This past week has seen them celebrate Nowruz, which for their community annually falls on or around March 21. As ever it will be a time for the tremendous hospitality for which the Kurds are famed, as well as acres of delicious food, music and much dancing, not to mention a bit of soul-searching within the far-flung Kurdish diaspora.

In north-eastern Syria especially, Kurds there have additional cause for celebration. For they have fought the good fight and come out on top against the most barbaric and potent terrorist organisation the world has ever seen.

Over the past days Kurdish and Arab fighters of the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) have wrested the last bastion from the grip of the Islamic State (IS) group, or Daesh. In doing so they have put an end at least to the nightmare that was Daesh’s territorial caliphate, though not quite rid the country and region of their toxic threat entirely.

By any standards the routing of Daesh from their last redoubt in Baghouz is a considerable achievement, the apocalyptic wasteland of the town and its surrounding districts testimony to the bitter struggle that ensued there.

More than 1000 foreign Daesh fighters from as many as 50 countries are among those now held in prison by the Kurds.

Meanwhile 70,000 people, many of them relatives or families of those same Daesh fighters, are under guard at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in eastern Syria.

The Kurds and SDF can be justly proud of what they have accomplished and we here in the West and elsewhere around the world owe them a debt of gratitude.

READ MORE: The plight of Kurdish hunger strikes grows – we must not ignore them

But as ever we seem hell-bent on failing to repay that debt, choosing instead to yet again leave the Kurds to go it alone at precisely the moment they need our unflinching support.

Enormous as the challenge of defeating Daesh’s proto-state was, equally daunting is the uncertain future that now lies ahead for the Kurds if left abandoned.

To begin with there is the thorny question of what’s to be done with the tens of thousands of Daesh fighters and supporters?

While here in the UK the Government fixates and obsesses with stripping the likes of Shamima Begum of their British nationality, other much bigger issues in the wake of Daesh’s demise are bearing down with some urgency.

Earlier this week the Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northern Syria called for an international Nuremberg-style tribunal to be set up in their region to try the thousands of suspected Daesh members in detention.

In making their case, the Kurds argue that the jurisdiction of the courts should be where the criminal act happened and where the offenders were captured in order for there to be a fair trial in line with international law and human rights conventions.

The Kurds, too, have appealed to the international community to take responsibility for the detainees, especially for nations to take back their own citizens, but until now there has been almost nothing by way of a response or initiatives in this respect.

How shameful it is that we have left the Kurds to clear up this mess almost entirely on their own. How dangerous it is, too, given how hard-pressed the Kurds are in continuing to defend themselves, to have them devote the precious little resources and manpower they have to such a task.

That many foreign governments have been loath to accede to Kurdish entreaties to repatriate Daesh fighters because they see them as a security threat speaks volumes about the “I’m all right Jack” mindset that prevails among certain governments, including the UK’s.

How much bigger a security threat these fighters would pose were the Kurds to find themselves unable to keep them detained and Daesh fighters moved back into circulation in Syria and beyond.

As if this were not cause for concern enough, allied to this is the political and military pressure the Kurds will now certainly come under as a result of the US drawdown of its forces. It’s now a racing certainty that the regimes of both Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will seize any opportunity they can to turn the screw on the hard-won limited autonomy of Syria’s Kurds.

Almost throughout the time that they have been tackling the threat of Daesh head on, the Kurds have also to their credit simultaneously continued focusing on creating their own progressive political system, institutions and a society totally at odds with the reactionary, hierarchical, misogynistic and vehemently anti-democratic diktats espoused by the extremists of Daesh.

Admittedly things in Syria’s Kurdish enclave are not all perfect, far from it, but the model of governance they have created against the odds stands with the best of those in a troubled Middle East.

READ MORE: The democratic, feminist Kurds are being abandoned by Western governments

HOW wrong it would be if the world allowed this to be snuffed out by the ambitions of Damascus or Ankara. Sadly, of course, the Kurds are no strangers to finding themselves with their backs to the wall. This week they made clear that merging their forces with Assad’s army will occur only if the Syrian president agrees to grant them some measure of continued political autonomy.

Whether Assad agrees to such a thing remains to be seen. Should Assad opt for force then the Kurds are determined to stand their ground in the country’s north-east.

For his part, meanwhile, Turkey’s President Erdogan still has his sights set on the creation of a “buffer zone” which the Kurds see as both a land grab and effort to neutralise them militarily.

Let’s not forget that Turkey and its Syrian proxy Islamist rebels, some of whom frankly are little better than Daesh, have led two previous offensives inside Syria, most recently seizing the north-eastern enclave of Afrin at great cost to the Kurds last year. As Syria expert Fabrice Balanche, of the University of Lyon, has pointed out, right now the Kurds having neutralised the Daesh threat find themselves “caught between a Syrian rock and Turkish hard place”.

As they celebrate Nowruz, the year ahead may prove a difficult time for the Kurds. Should it prove to be so, then here in Europe we must do all we can diplomatically to ensure their hard-won gains are not squandered. We owe that much to the Kurds, big time.