Syrian Kurdish Autonomy on the Table?
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Syrian Kurdish YPG leader Sipan Hemo may have given up on relying on the US for support, a sound move if things go this way.
Washington has interests, not allies. Alleged ones are discarded and betrayed when no longer useful – no nation, groups, or individuals safe from this type treatment.
Hemo and other Kurdish officials seek a Russian-brokered political deal with Damascus, involving government forces taking over their territory, providing protection against Turkish aggression, in return for local autonomy, recognized by the Syrian government.
Kurdish officials are turning to Russia and Damascus because of Trump’s pullout announcement.
Their territory borders Turkey and Iraq, most of it east of the Euphrates River. Their officials went to Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in Western Syria, Damascus, then Moscow in late December, another trip planned.
According to Kurdish official Aldar Xelil, “(o)ur contacts with Russia and (Damascus) are to look for clear mechanisms to protect the northern border. We want Russia to play an important role to achieve stability.”
Permitting Syrian forces to enter Kurdish Manbij in late December was a step in this direction for the Kurds. For Damascus, it’s a step toward liberating Syria from US aggression and occupation of northern and southern parts of the country.
Russia supports the presence of Syria’s military everywhere in the country. Its Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said sovereign Syria “has the right to” deploy its armed forces wherever it wishes on its own territory – stating what international law affirms.
A Kurdish YPG statement said its officials “invite(d) the Syrian government forces which are obliged to protect the same country, nation and borders, to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion.”
Syria is allied with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The US, NATO, Turkey, the Saudis, and Israel are its mortal enemies.
It’s unclear whether the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain reestablishing diplomatic relations with Damascus is an act of good will or if they represent a collective trojan horse – not to be trusted, to be dealt with cautiously.
In March 2016, Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) officials declared regional autonomy, a move Turkey strongly opposes.
At the time, PYD representative Ibrahim Ibrahim said “(a) federal state for ruling all of Syria is the best way to protect Syria from being divided up” – Washington’s aim, along with regime change in Damascus.
Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces commander Redur Khalil said “(r)eaching a solution between the autonomous (Kurdish north) and the Syrian government is inevitable because our areas are part of Syria.”
Allying serves the interests of both sides against hostile Turkey and imperial America. Neither country can be trusted. Moscow and Damascus operate by a higher standard.
The main concern for Kurds is protection from Turkish aggression. Relying on Russia to broker a deal with Damascus is sound strategy.
According to senior Kurdish official Badran Jia Kurd, the aim “is to reach an agreement with Damascus. We will work in this direction regardless of the cost, even if the Americans object.”
In September 2017, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said his government “is open to negotiation and discussion, and when we are done eliminating Daesh (ISIS), we can sit with our Kurdish sons and reach an understanding on a formula for the future.”
Damascus stresses Syrian unity. Whether it’s willing grant its Kurdish population some form of autonomy is unclear.
Russia is willing to mediate between both sides. Its objective is restoring peace and stability to the country. A Kurdish/Damascus alliance against common foes makes sense. So does granting their people local autonomy, where things may be heading.
According to Jia Kurd, protecting the northern border from Turkish aggression, along with defeating the scourge of ISIS and likeminded jihadists serve the interests of the Kurdish people and Damascus.
“The ball is in the court of Russia and Damascus,” said Jia Kurd. “On this basis we can negotiate and start a dialogue.”
Cooperation between Damascus and the Kurds will go a long way toward ending Turkish occupation of northern Syrian territory and defeating US-supported terrorists.
It’s up to Russia to broker a deal acceptable to both sides. Achieving it will be an important step toward Syria’s liberation.
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