Many experts have insisted on the Kurdish dependence on the US in Syria as being used as an instrument. An analysis on the latest situation of the Kurds headed by Syrian Democratic Forces is as follows:
The last few days have been quite turbulent in North-Syria, especially in Idlib, things have escalated rather quick.
The Turkish president – Recep Tayyip Erdogan – has gone into direct confrontation with Assad, going beyond the proxy war it has led for the last few years. It is this week that has finally led Erdoğan and Turkey to the brink of disaster in Syria after nine years of bombastic threats, proxy conflict and direct military intervention.
Erdoğan is now isolated on all sides, sharply at odds with other major players in the Syrian crisis. Having sent an extra 7,000 troops and armour into Idlib last month to reinforce existing military outposts, Turkey has plunged in open warfare with Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It has attacked airports and radar sites well behind the de facto “frontline”. It has declared all regime “elements” to be legitimate targets.
What is happening now in North-West Syria is no longer a proxy war, fought by Turkey-backed rebel. It is a direct confrontation by two heavily armored neighbour states. And it threatens to draw Turkey deeper into a conflict with Russia, Assad’s main ally. Which we can see in last Thursday’s escalation, where 33 Turkish soldiers (or 55 as other media outlets state) were killed in an attack on a Turkish convoy by Syrian jets, backed by Russian deliberate airstrikes.
Was Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president looking to teach Erdogan a lesson? If so, it seems to work. Erdogan hurried to Kremlin to meet up and work out a ceasefire. But he’s pissed off, very very pissed off.
And who usually pays the price when the Turks are pissed off? Right, the Kurds. The kurds have already lost a major part of their territory. With operation olive branch, that started in march 2018, SDF lost control of one of their three cantons, Efrin. With operation peace spring, that started in october 2019, the kurds lost another big chunk of territory, including Ras al-Ayn, Tell Abyad, Manajir, Suluk, Mabrouka and cut the M4 highway. They had to let Assad’s forces in their territory, which was quite a big loss as well.
So, the Kurds, terrified of what’s coming next, are in desperate need of allies. And they try to find these, by betting on two horses. The kurds have apparently holding talks with both Damascus and the USA.
The Turkish army in October 2019 attacked areas in northern Syria under SDF control. As a result, local Kurdish authorities are in a much weaker position since being forced to make a deal with the Syrian government to deploy national forces to protect the border against Turkish and Turkish-backed forces along the northern border. This operation came within days of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. The White House then agreed in late October to leave between 500 to 600 American forces in Syria to protect oilfields in the provinces of Hasakah and Deir al-Zor.
Today, on friday, the Kurds held a joint press conference with Myles Caggins, a spokesman of the Operation Inherent Resolve, a 82-member coalition to defeat ISIS, in an attempt to cosy up and took some fancy pictures together in Rimeylan. The result of the press conference was one single statement: we will continue to work together with SDF in the fight against ISIS. But will the ISIS-card be enough to attract the USA to protect the Kurds in any upcoming trouble?
Damascus on the other hand, is angry with the kurds. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told that Kurdish-led groups in the nation’s northern regions cannot work with the United States while at the same time trying to reach an agreement with Damascus.
“The problem right now is dealing with the Americans. The Americans are occupiers; they occupied our lands. The Americans are thieves stealing our oil. You cannot play both sides: between those who protect the law and those who break it,” he said in an interview with Russia 24.
“You cannot stand with the police [Damascus] and the thief [USA] at the same time, this is impossible. You are either with the police or the thief,” continued Assad.
“So, we cannot reach results in any dialogue with them, even if we were to meet thousands of times, unless they take a clear position, a patriotic position: to be against the Americans, against occupation, and against the Turks because they, too, are occupiers.”
“Quite simply, this is our demand. This is a national position and, as a government, we are responsible for the constitution and for our national interests.”
Desperate times have arrived for the Kurds, that fear a new Turkish invasion. Do they have any allies left in their weakened position? Or will they be swept from the map forgood? Until the future becomes clear, they obviously continue betting on two horses.