Jan 29 2018

Washington needs Moscow's support in Syria - analysis

Hostilities in Syria are working to Russia’s advantage as the Kurds, under attack from Turkey, turn to Damascus for help, Simon Speakman Cordall wrote in the Arab Weekly.

Kurdish forces in Afrin are publicly calling on the Syrian government to intervene and stop Turkey’s assault.

This is playing into Russia’s hands as it seeks to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria, Cordall said.

Turkey is also pressuring its militia in Syria to attend peace talks in Sochi, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday this week, he said, citing news reports.

Although the U.S. State Department has committed to the stabilisation of Syria and the ultimate departure of President Bashar Assad, “it is unclear how it can achieve this without significant Russian support,” Cordall wrote.

Robert Ford of the Middle East Institute in Washington said that the events in northern Syria have shown “Russia’s attitude in Afrin is not encouraging.”

“A regionally isolated U.S. will have either to entrench with its local allies in eastern Syria over the long term, parrying off the unconventional attacks that will come, or quit eastern Syria altogether,” Ford said, according to Arab Weekly.