Feb 18 2018

Afrin needs a multidimensional agreement - expert

More negotiations between Turkey, Russia, Syria and the local Kurdish militia PYD need to take place, Atlantic Council Resident Senior Fellow Aaron Stein argued on Twitter today.

Amid breaking news from Kurdish and Arabic news media that the Syrian government and Kurdish militia in Afrin region of the country had reached a deal, Stein claimed that two equations needed to be solved simultaneously: the dispute between the Syrian regime and the Kurdish enclave and the issues between Turkey and Russia.

Another problem, according to Stein, was Ankara's desire to gain concessions from the United States by threatening to enter Manbij. The U.S. has soldiers in Manbij, a northern region in Syria that was taken from the Islamic State (ISIS) by forces led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in 2016.

"Russia is trying to use Afrin to win concessions from Turkey. Turkey is trying to gain leverage over Russia," said Stein, claiming that the Syrian regime was using the Turkish military incursion to weaken the Kurdish militia.

In this game of three-dimensional chess, "The YPG is trying to survive. The (Syrian) regime knows this. Obviously. And (the Syrian government) is using the Turkish anvil to their coercive hammer. The Turks know this too. Russia knows this. The U.S. knows this," tweeted Stein.

Stein speculated in his Twitter flood that the Syrian government might be willing to wait a little longer before stopping the Turks to weaken the Kurdish militia, while neither Russia nor Turkey are too excited about declaring victory just yet.

The U.S., meanwhile, despite its statements that it wants a phased regime change, "would quietly welcome YPG-regime agreement,” the Middle East expert said.