>> This maybe a Lepal in Syria, but it's clear the government isn't in control here. In Sheikh Massoud district, home to around 40,000 people, President Assad's image has been replaced with a Kurdish leader. The Syrian military uniforms to those of the Asayish, the Kurdish police. Pass the checkpoint and you are in Kurdish controlled territory.
White House correspondent Angus McDowell is in the northern Syrian enclave.>> Strangely, this enclave is tolerated by the Syrian government. People here find it sometimes hard to get services and to bring things through the checkpoints into this area, but otherwise it's more or less accepted by the government.
Now in this green building behind me, there are education programs run by the Kurdish political parties here to teach local people about their political program. It is an ideology which is, in many ways, diametrically opposed to the ruling party in Syria, the Ba'ath party which has its own ideology which is imposed at a state level.
>> The two sides have mutual enemies such as the Islamic State, but as both sides seize more ground from the militants, this uneasy relationship will likely grow more complicated>> There are also ties to the PKK Kurdish militant group, seen as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.
It also raises alarm bells in Turkey who's intervention in Syria since last year was based partly on stopping a Kurdish mini state emerging along the border. A senior Kurdish lawmaker told Reuters the area could never be returned to a Syrian state.>> And while the Syrian government tolerates self rule there for now, President Assad has sworn to take back every inch of the country.