Syrian Kurds Outwit Turkey

In the wake of the US pullout from northeastern Syria (which has been currently delayed), from the Kurdish area known as Rojava or the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, which was previously controlled by the Islamic State, many feared for the future of the Kurdish people there.  Turkish forces already occupy the area of Afrin, the most western part of Kurdish control, and it was reported that Turkish forces were already on the move to fill the vacuum by entering the strategic town of Manbij.  Pres. Erdogan announced that Turkey would wipe out the remaining terrorists there, and by this he did not mean the remaining Islamic State forces that control only a tiny region of southern Rojava, with a remaining army estimated at ca. 8,000, but he meant the Kurdish forces known as the YPG (People’s Protection Units).

But, then the Kurds did a turn-around and instead of continuing to fight the Syrian Army of the hated Assad regime, they declared themselves Syrians (which they are) and invited the Syrian Army in to their area, basically to protect them from the Turks.  There are two factors at play here, the issue of Syrian independence and sovereignty, since everyone declares that they want to keep Syria intact, including the US and Russia, and the other factor is the Arab dislike or hatred for Turkey.  It is a historic memory in the Arab countries that for centuries they were ruled over by the Turkish Empire and they were treated as inferior natives (a bit like the British Empire elsewhere), and so they don’t want to see Turkish forces back on their territory, they distrust Erdogan’s intentions.

The Syrian Army is now reported also to be on the move to enter Rojava, and hopefully this will dissuade Erdogan and he will reign in his forces, because he doesn’t want to fight the Syrian Army, and he doesn’t want to be responsible for causing the break-up of Syria.  But, in a way this maneuver satisfies Turkish needs, because their main aim is to ensure that there is no independent Kurdish autonomous region that could be a catalyst for the aims of the large restive Kurdish minority in Turkey.   So everyone will be happy, except the Kurds, since this will effectively mean the end of autonomy for the Kurds in Rojava.

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