Syrian Kurds: Problems after Russia-Turkey-Iran Talks

The results of talks between foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran, held last Tuesday, are an embarrassment to the Syrian Kurds, whose formations are concentrated in the north of the country. The agreement between main external players legitimizes the consolidation of Turkish troops in Northern Syria, which block the unification of eastern and western Kurdish regions. Nodar Mosaki, senior research fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, discussed the situation of the Syrian Kurds in interview with

"Being aware that Turkey got support for its anti-Kurdish aspirations and the potential desire of Assad to subdue the Kurds sooner or later after the liberation of Aleppo, the Kurds find themselves in a difficult situation, the United States remains their only hope," - Mosaki said.

Mosaki noted that the United States is a natural ally of Kurds in the Syrian conflict, as they demonstrated the ability to fight against the ISIS* forces. Moreover, they do not belong to the Islamist groups.

In November, the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an offensive against ISIS in the north of Al-Raqqah province and freed more than 60 localities. The main objective of the operation was a preparation to free the city of Raqqah, de facto "capital" of the Islamic State.

"For Washington it is clear that the Kurds in Syria today are the only combat-ready non-Islamic forces. Intensive discussions and a rapprochement between Turkey and Iran is primarily due to the Kurdish factor, which is probably the only motive to overcome their differences. This situation is increasingly tying Syrian Kurds to the United States, "- Mosaki said.

Mosaki also drew attention to Turkey's interest in negotiations with Moscow, which, in his view, expands the possibilities for actions against the Kurds. "Temporary external adjustment of Turkey's position on Syria is caused only by its desire to get the support or neutrality of Russia in relation to Ankara's activities in the Kurdish populated areas," Mosaki said.

"The Turkish leadership understands that Russia is potentially ready to provide it with greater freedom of action against the Kurds in exchange for a change of Ankara's position in view that Ankara will not be against further advancement of the Syrian army", - he added.

According to Mosaki, present actions will not lead Ankara to success, as the United States will not allow Turkey to conduct a full-scale military operation against the Kurds, although Washington kept a blind eye to some limited operations of the Turkish troops.

Mosaki added that at the moment Turkey is fighting against the Kurds inside the country, and the operation in Syria is merely a continuation of this policy. "Domestically Ankara destroys Kurdish political class that emerged in the last two decades in the harshest possible way, including the arrest of Selahattin Demirtaş, recent guest of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov", Mosaki said.

"Settling at this stage the relations with Russia and imitating the fight against ISIS, Turkey received a certain freedom of action in Kurds-dominated northern Syria, which it did not have after the incident with a Russian pilot."

Mosaki noted that in the current situation the meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Moscow will not replace the international talks with the participation of key players such as the United States. According to him, there are considerable disagreements between the interests of Moscow and Tehran on the one hand and Ankara, on the other. "It seems that the current situation on the territory will be preserved for some time", - the expert concluded.

*Banned in Russia

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