AhlulBayt News Agency – Following Turkey’s threats about an imminent new military operation in northern Syria to “eliminate terrorist threats”, eyes of the world, and particularly of Syrian Kurds, are on the White House stances and decisions to see if the Americans will defend their allies. Here a question presents itself: In the middle of the Ukraine war, which one between Kiev government and the Syrian Kurds will the Americans prefer?
Following Turkey’s threats about an imminent new military operation in northern Syria to “eliminate terrorist threats”, eyes of the world, and particularly of Syrian Kurds, are on the White House stances and decisions to see if the Americans will defend their allies. Here a question presents itself: In the middle of the Ukraine war, which one between Kiev government and the Syrian Kurds will the Americans prefer?
In recent days, the US officials ostensibly opposed the expected ground military operation of Turkey in Syria’s north and expressed worries. But they gradually shifted their tone and began to give Ankara the right for worries about terrorist threats. And finally, they are planning to retreat from areas where the Turkish military plans an offensive and actually leave the Kurds to the mercy of Turkey. Although the Americans said they support the Kurdish groups, there seems to be a behind-the-scenes agreement between Ankara and Washington allowing Ankara to launch its operation.
The withdrawal of American soldiers and diplomats from northern Syria not only was not assuring to the Kurds, but also increased their concerns about the expected campaign of the second largest NATO military. This policy by the White House is adopted while Biden during the 2020 presidential election campaign accused Donald Trump of betraying the Syrian Kurds.
The American retreat from the Kurdish-majority areas comes as after failure of their plans to topple the Syrian government using terrorist groups, the White House officials resorted to supporting the Kurdish groups to use them as infantry to advance their plans in the crisis-ravaged country. During these years, they provided the Kurdish groups with large amounts of arms under the cover of strengthening them in the face of ISIS to kill their willingness to work with the central government.
When in December 2016, Russia, Iran, and Turkey were trying to find a way out of the Syrian crisis, senior officials of the Kurdish groups announced that they were considering a comprehensive plan to form a federal rule in the north in association with foreign allies. This scenario, which was put on agenda with the green light of Washington, was carried out with the aim of separating this region from the control of the central government. But until now the plan remains utter words. Such moves were part of the destructive American project meant to initiate Syria partition.
The US has several times said that it finds the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) the most influential force in the fight against ISIS terrorists, and that it plans to continue backing them. In recent years, Washington approved hundreds of millions of dollars to them as part of its Syria policy. However, it betrayed them each time Turkey launched an operation against them. This scenario is being repeated now. In recent days, hundreds of American forces withdrew from the predominantly-Kurdish regions and relocated to Iraq’s Kurdistan region, which means a green light to the Turkish government to launch its operation unchecked.
Syrian Kurds not learning from the US exit from Afghanistan
The Syrian Kurds, who have been hurt more than others by their American ally, have not learned from experiences and continue to rely on Washington to maintain the security of the areas under their control. Washington’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 was a lesson for the Kurdish groups to stop counting on this paper lion. The Afghan government was supported by the Americans for 17 years, and during the agreements, Washington was committed to providing military and security support to Kabul in the time of need, but within a few weeks, everything changed at once, and the Americans returned the whole of Afghanistan to the Taliban after twenty years. They handed it over and Ashraf Ghani’s government fell.
At the time, the Financial Times drew parallels between the Kurdish-majority city of Kobani and Kabul, saying that the Kurdish city can lose its current stability with the withdrawal of the Americans. The newspaper described the Syrian Kurds as brave and elite but Kabul’s fall reminds of the fragile position of the Syrian Kurds.
The Syrian Kurdish leaders, who felt extremely endangered after the sudden US pullout from their regions, sought guarantees that Afghanistan experience would not happen in northern Syria. The commander of the SDF Mazloum Abdi in September 2021 in interviews with Western media said that his forces are worried that the Americans would betray them like what Washington did with Afghanistan government. He called on Biden to ponder on the situation before any decisions. Following Kurdish concerns, the Americans in September last year said that exit from Syria’s moth was not an option to Washington and Afghanistan and Syria were two different cases. The White House even increased its arms deliveries to eastern Syrian regions held by the Kurdish militias to prove its support to them is unwavering and guards them against the central government and Turkish incisions. It was based on these empty assurances that the Kurds once again trusted the Americans.
Damascus, the only savior of the Kurds
The Syrian Kurds, several times taken damages from trust in the US, find out that the only way to safety and protection against the Turkish attacks is the return to the central government. As long as they relied on the US, the Kurdish commanders resisted calls for dialogue and alliance with Damascus but after the US relocation of its forces in recent days that sent the Kurds concerned, they shifted their tone and said northern gates are open to the Syrian army.
Russia had proposed that the Kurds move back 30 kilometers from the borders with Turkey and leave the security to the Syrian army for Ankara to cease its planning for the operation but they turned down Moscow proposal. Now it seems that they have no choice but to move towards the central government, and having in mind that Damascus announced that it is ready to accept with open arms the groups that have distanced themselves from the government in the 11-year crisis, the Kurds can seize the opportunity to use convergence with the central government and ensure the security of the northern regions against occasional threats from Turkey like in the past under the central government rule.
At the same time, the American betrayal is an ultimatum to the citizens of the Kurdish regions to free themselves from under the yoke of such terrorist groups as PKK and YPG. These groups, serving as levers in the hands of the Americans, not only cannot protect security of the Kurdish regions but also keep giving Turkey excuses to occupy northern Syrian regions.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and betrayal of the Syrian Kurds are a wake-up call for the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies to stop counting on Washington’s protection, as certainly the White House officials put their goals and interests over everything.