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Analysis

Syrian Crisis Course after Damascus-Kurds Agreement

Tuesday 15 October 2019
Syrian Crisis Course after Damascus-Kurds Agreement

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Syrian Army Enters Kurdish-Controlled Regions

Alwaght- As Turkey and its Syrian mercenaries announced capture of the Kurdish-majority town of Tell Abyad on the fourth day of their military operation, the media reported that the Kurdish groups have reached an agreement with the central government that will pave the way for the Syrian army to spread in the north and take control of the country’s borders with Turkey. 

The agreement will push the Syrian developments in a new stage as the Damascus-Kurdish cooperation will generate special results for the course of the conflict in the Arab country. 

Syrian army well received in the north 

Shortly after the announcement, the Syrian media reported that units of the Syrian Arab Army started their movement towards the battlegrounds in the north and northeast to counter Turkish aggression. According to the initial reports, the Syrian military is taking action to deter Turkey’s attacks on the border towns in northern Hasakah and Raqqa. 

Russian Sputnik news agency’s reporter in Raqqa said that Syria’s military in the initial hours of Monday entered the town of Al-Tabaqa in Raqqa and took control of a major military airport there. Units of Kurdish forces are already stationed at the airport. 

Badran Jia Kurd, a Kurdish official, told the Reuters news agency that after the US gave a green light to the Turkish offensive, the Kurds had to seek other options like talks with Moscow and Damascus to find a solution to the crisis and stop the Turkish attacks. 

“This preliminary agreement is a military one. We have not talked about its political aspects. We will raise them later,” he told Reuters. 

Esmat Sheikh Hassan, an official at the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said that the Kurdish leaders have agreed with Russia to see Kobani be handed over to the Syrian government. Hassan predicted that within 48 hours, the Syrian army will complete its stationing in Kurdish-controlled Kobani and Manbij. 

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said that Syrian people in Hasakah gathered in more than one part of the city to welcome the arrival of the Syrian forces. They told the army they are ready to help it accomplish its mission in the east of the Euphrates region. 

US betrayal of Kurds continues

Amid the Damascus-Kurds agreement, the US tried to play as a neutral side of the war and even a critic of the Turkish offensive and to assure that Washington did not give Ankara a green light. In an action that showed further American treason of the Kurds, US fighter jets reportedly launched airstrikes on a Syrian military convoy in Al-Rasafah in the south of Raqqa. The attack apparently played into the hands of the Turkish army and against the interests of the Kurdish factions that expected Syrian military deployment for their protection. Russian broadcaster RT said that the convoy was moving towards Al-Tabaqa when it was targeted by the American warplanes. 

In another move serving Turkey’s position in Syria, the American forces evacuated a military post in Kobani in Aleppo as Turkey advanced to control Tell Abyad. 

But a more important issue proving the US betrayal of the Kurds should be found in the recent comments by Trump. In his yesterday's speech to his supporters, Trump asked the Kurds to move back from regions bordering Turkey. He told them it is hard for them to face a warplanes-equipped force while they have no fighter jets. This comes while one of the key expectations of the Syrian Kurds from the US was the establishment of a no-fly zone over the north to block Turkish warplanes from air raids. With these remarks, the Kurds now understand that Washington’s green light to Turkey is bright. 

Blocking the Turkish offensive 

Amid Kurds’ disappointment with their American allies’ help, the Sky News Arabia channel reported a Russian-imposed no-fly zone over northern Syria. If this measure is real, Turkey will have difficulty progressing in new Syrian positions especially that Damascus asserted the army is ready to deal with any foreign challenge. 

Confronting Turkish aggression appears to be part of the Damascus-Kurds accord. On Monday, Kurdish groups released a statement saying that protection of the borders and Syria’s national sovereignty is the government’s job. So the Syrian Arab Army is taking action by deploying to the Syrian-Turkish borders. The statement implies that the army will back the Kurdish-led SDF in the face of the Turkish forces and their opposition allies mainly the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA). The statement continues that the agreement will potentially work towards the liberation of other Syrian towns like Afrin seized last year by the Turkish army in Operation Olive Branch. 

On the opposite side, Turkish officials try to paint the conditions appropriate for the continuation of their operation. Before a visit to Azerbaijan on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said he does not think any problems will emerge in Syria’s Kobani after a Syrian army deployment is executed along the border, adding that Russia’s Vladimir Putin had shown a “positive approach.” On Manbij, he said: “we will execute our own decision about the town.” 

A senior advisor to Erdogan in an interview with the BBC dismissed the Damascus-Kurds agreement adding that the Syrian army is not dispatched to the border regions. 

Who is responsible for ISIS members’ escape? 

One remarkable issue in the middle of the Turkish offensive against the Kurds is the escape of families of ISIS terrorists from a detention camp run by the Kurds. 

The Kurdish militias say the cam in Hasakah camp was hit by blasts. Two car bombs took place in the site and an attack by ISIS fighters ensued. The Kurds say this complicated the situation. Now they have to fight ISIS on the one hand the Turkish forces and their loyalists on the other hand. They accuse Turkey of activating “ISIS sleeper cells” under the FSA. 

After the Turkish campaign, the terrorist organization opened a new front against the Syrian Kurds. It claimed responsibility to a blast in a restaurant in the predominantly Kurdish Qamishli. 

Turkey, on the other side, denied the accusations saying that the Kurds themselves released ISIS members to put strains on the US and Europe. 

Trump Sunday criticized the ISIS members’ escape saying in a Twitter message “Turkey and the Kurds must not let them escape. Europe should have taken them back after numerous requests. They should do it now.” 

But what is clear is that the US already knew that with Turkey’s attacks, the ISIS prisoners will escape. Still, it gave Erdogan a green light, hence making itself responsible for the fleeing. More can be said: Washington has done so deliberately to fuel violence in Syria afresh and block the efforts for a solution to the eight-year crisis. 

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Syria Kurds US Offensive Central Government

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