Feb 22 2018

"Kurds see little difference between Assad and Erdoğan" - Kurdish analyst

Kurds see little difference between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, the Kurdish political analyst and non-resident fellow Kamal Chomani at the Tahrir Institute told Ahval.

In a video interview with Ahval's Ilhan Tanir, Chomani called into question the success of the Turkish Army's Afrin operation, saying "when the Afrin operation began, Turkish President Erdogan and his allies promised that they would be in the centre of Afrin in a few days, though it has been more than a month and the YPG and Kurdish forces are still resisting." 

Chomani added that the Turkish military had launched the operation in collaboration with its proxy forces in Syria, whereas until the YPG joined forces with Syrian regime troops this week, they had acted alone.

“The YPG has resisted and defended Afrin very well, and I think this is a huge success for the YPG,” said Chomani. “If you compare the forces, Turkish Army is the second biggest army of NATO versus the YPG which was only created a few years ago.”

“Overall, the Turkish Army has been very unsuccessful, whereas the YPG has been very successful in defending Afrin," said Chomani.

The details of what the agreement between the Syrian Kurdish forces and Syrian regime entails remain unclear, according to the analyst, but he emphasized that the Syrian presence has already been seen in Afrin, and thinks this agreement is a "win-win" for the Kurds and Damascus.

Chomani argues this could be "a turning point for the relations between the Syrian Kurds and the Syrian regime."

According to Chomani, the reason that the Syrian Kurds have chosen Damascus' partnership instead of Ankara is because Erdogan and allies did not accept Kurds within Turkey and Syria as partners. Otherwise, Chomani thinks, the Syrian Kurds would have chosen Ankara.

Chomani said he finds it saddening that Erdogan made Kurds choose Assad regime, despite the fact that they have first-hand experience of the Syrian president’s brutality.

But, according to Chomani, after seeing saw what happened in Turkey's southeast Kurdish cities Cizre, Sur or Sirnak, which were devastated in the conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish insurgents since 2015, "all Kurds think there is not much difference between Assad and Erdogan. All Kurds are looking at Erdogan with the same lens that they are looking at Assad."