Syrian Kurds are better to deal with Damascus under Russia aegis: analyst

<p style="text-align:left">A political analyst believes the best option for the Kurds in northern Syria is to sit at negotiation table with the Syrian government in Damascus under the mediation of Russia.

Dr Spyridon Plakoudas told Kurdpress in an interview that US would eventually pull out of the Syrian Kurdish region known as Rojava and would leave the Kurds unprotected against Turkey which does not intend to end its attacks against the Kurds until they are disbanded as it sees the Kurdish region and the Kurdish forces in control of the region as a threat to its integrity.

An Assistant Professor of Homeland Security at Rabdan Academy, the political expert further told KurdPress that the dream of a semi-independent Kurdish state-let in northern Syria under the protection of the USA is practically dead, continuing to say that the Turkey&rsquo;s invasion into northern Syria almost ousted the USA completely out of Rojava and split the latter into several spheres of overlapping sovereignties.

Dr Plakoudas, also a Kurdish question expert and the writer of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Turkey: The New PKK, further expressed his doubt about the resumption of a Kurdish peace process in Turkey in the wake of the developments in the recent years.

What follows is his full answers to KurdPress questions;

How do you think regarding PKK relations with Syrian Kurds military and political movements, especially during the fight with ISIS and Turkey attacks against Syrian Kurds?

The PKK and the PYD, by far the most powerful organization of the Syrian Kurds, always enjoyed a special relationship. The PKK provided the &ldquo;know-how&rdquo; for guerrilla warfare to the PYD&rsquo;s military wing (aka the YPG) in its fight against ISIS whereas the PYD implemented the ideology of &ldquo;Apoism&rdquo; (from the nickname &ldquo;Apo&rdquo; of the PKK&rsquo;s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan) about a &ldquo;democratic con-federalism&rdquo; in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (also known as Rojava).

Turkey used the organic affinity between the PYD and PKK to discredit the PYD as yet another terrorist group and justify its two invasions against the former (Operation Olive Branch in 2018 and Operation Peace Spring in 2019). Therefore, the special relationship with the PKK is now a bane, not a boon, for the PYD since even the USA, its erstwhile ally against ISIS, urged the former to sever its fraternal ties with the PKK completely.

Turkey's government imprisoned many Kurdish politicians and HDP MPs. Is there any hope for a new peace process?

Erdogan is the only politician in modern Turkish history who dared to open a peace dialogue with the Kurds. However, the new cycle of violence since July 2015 ended the prospects of renewed political talks and Erdogan now opted for the systematic repression of the legitimate Kurdish political movement. As a matter of fact, only 1/3 of the elected representatives by the HDP in the municipal elections of 2018 still remain in office; the others have been replaced by Turkish state officials.

Some experts believe that, right now, the Kurdish autonomous administration in Syria is in danger? Why?

Rojava is indeed in peril. The presence of the US military forces, albeit symbolic, acted as a deterrent against any incursion by Turkey. Operation Peace Spring resulted in the collapse of this deterrent: in fact, it almost ousted the USA completely out of Rojava and split the latter into several spheres of overlapping sovereignties (solely SDF, SDF + SAA, SDF + USA). The dream of a semi-independent Kurdish statelet in northern Syria under the protection of the USA is practically dead.

Who will help the Syrian Kurds: U.S, Russia, or maybe it is better for the Kurds to have a deal with Damascus?

President Trump clearly signaled that he will not sacrifice a single US soldier to protect Rojava from Turkey. Only the Pentagon&rsquo;s strong stance convinced Trump to reluctantly postpone a complete withdrawal from Syria. The PYD/SDF intensified their negotiations with Damascus, under the aegis of Moscow, in the aftermath of Operation Peace Spring; however, these negotiations stalled due to the intransigence of both parties and the underground pressure of the USA.

The best option for the PYD/SDF would be a deal with Assad under the mediation of Putin. That way, they can be granted the status of autonomy within Syria in exchange of a concerted effort against Turkey and its proxies in Syria (most notably in the former Kurdish enclave of Afrin).

Trump says he has the Syrian oil and so he will help the Kurds with the oil. Can Syrian oil save the Kurds and autonomous administration?

The oil is not a bargaining chip at the hands of the Kurds vis-&agrave;-vis the USA. The oil and the fertile lands of Jazira (the bread basket of Syria) amount to bargaining chips at the hands of the USA vis-&agrave;-vis Assad; Washington denies Damascus access to these precious resources in the context of its fight against the &ldquo;Shia Axis&rdquo; from Tehran all the way to Beirut.

The USA will eventually pull out from Rojava; they cannot sustain their presence in such a politically inhospitable environment indefinitely. And then the Kurds will be all alone and encircled by enemies – the Kurdo-phobic states of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The Kurds should use wisely the oil and lands of the Jazira in order to obtain the best deal with Assad before Turkey decided to invade once again.

Turkey uses water as a weapon against Syrian Kurds, the UN and WHO do not help Kurds regarding Coronavirus and they have to deal with ISIS riots in prisons. How do you see these problems?

Turkey views the PYD and Rojava as grave threats to its national security and, therefore, will not rest until the latter disband. Unsurprisingly, Turkey uses the water of the Euphrates River as a weapon against Rojava and the USA do not intervene on behalf of their erstwhile allies. At the same time, the USA or other organizations do not provide support to Rojava in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Kurds must understand that they must very soon select one of the two scenarios: a deal with Turkey under the mediation of the USA (and the loss of further territory) or a deal with Damascus under the aegis of Russia (the least nightmarish scenario).

Reporter&rsquo;s code: 50101

News Code 107828

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