Kurds in Syria may be reconciling on eve of Biden presidency - analyst

The new U.S. administration of Joe Biden is pushing Kurds groups in Syria to convene in a national conference and work with each other and other Syrian opposition groups, MiddleEast analyst Seth J. Frantzmanwrote in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The U.S. Embassy-supported reconciliation between Kurds - who have suffered setbacks because of Turkish-backed extremists, Turkish invasions and U.S. policy infighting - could help create stability in the region as Biden takes office, according to Frantzman.

Ankara considers thebiggest militia in Syria’s Kurdish-led alliance - the People's Protection Units (YPG) - a terrorist organisation, maintaining that the group is an affiliate of an outlawed rebel group fighting in Turkey. The Turkish Armed Forces has launched three military operations into the neighbouring country targeting the YPG, which it sees as an existential threat.

After the U.S.-backed YPG pushed back the Islamic State (ISIS ), U.S. special forces began to work with the Kurds to create the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2015, Frantzman wrote, with the latter seizing the ISIS capital of Raqqa in 2017.

“For Turkey though this was too much because Ankara’s ceasefire had fallen apart with the PKK in 2015 and Ankara used this as an excuse to crush Kurdish dissent and go after elected Kurdish mayors from the HDP in Turkey,’’ the analyst wrote. “Ankara then invaded northern Syria to stop the SDF advance at Manbij in 2016. By 2018, Turkey had invaded Afrin too, with a blank check from the US to do so.’’

Meanwhile, authorities in eastern Syria were cracking down on Kurdish groups that included the Kurdish National Council (ENKS) and Kurds linked to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq. 

Fast forward to today and Kurdish groups, beset with years of suffering at the hands of Turkey, U.S. policies and intra-group conflict, are looking to work together.

On Jan. 17, Ilham Ahmad of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC),  a political assembly representing political parties and organizations in North and East Syria, said the council has been in contact with Syrian groups in and outside Syria.  

A tweet by the U.S. Embassy in Syria on January 15 saying it supported the ongoing Syrian intra-Kurdish dialogue was taken as a signal to the Kurds, Frantzman wrote, noting that the groups will be faced by a possible sabotage of talks by Ankara.


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